In May, Disney released a tiny teaser for the live action reworking of one of their most treasured animated classics, Beauty and the Beast. The teaser which gave very little away broke the record for the most viewed trailer in its first 24 hours. Given the story has been etched into our collective memory for 25 years, the marketing team had little work in drumming up interest and anticipation has soared for the release of the first full trailer, which immediately became the #1 trending video on YouTube, affirming the film as a heavyweight contender in next year’s box office race.
The nostalgia is ripe as it is clear that Academy award winning director Bill Condon has stayed very true to the 1991 original, while hoping to have brought it forward a little. Two new songs have been added (so it is a musical) and the backstories of some of the characters that have been previously left to the imagination have been filled in by Condon and co screenwriters Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). The nostalgia thrives within the magical production design by Sarah Greenwood who has etched the story into every crevice of the castle and costume design by Jacqueline Durran who has brought the iconic outfits to life. The whole thing appears to have taken every detail of the animated fairy tale and twisted and updated it ever so slightly to bring about an experience that is equally new and exciting as it is familiar.
The very vanilla casting of Emma Watson as Belle is a sore point for me, her uninspired performance looks little more than an annoying and self-righteous reprisal of Hermoine just with straightened hair and a period dress. Dan Stevens on the other hand has completely transformed himself into the role of the Beast. The cast also includes Luke Evans as the villainous Gaston and Josh Gad as his comical sidekick La Fou, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere and Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette.
Of all the animated classic to live action conversions Walt Disney Pictures have been keeping themselves busy with, this is the most anticipated and may just join it’s predecessor as a classic to be cherished decades in the future. Beauty and the Beast is to be released worldwide in March. You can watch the trailer below.
Dan Stevens and Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast
Luke Evans in Beauty and the Beast