Monday, November 14, 2016

Beauty and the Beast (2017) Trailer Reaction

Remakes have started to run their repetitive course, but one studio might have found the secret. Disney's reinventing their classic animated princesses into live-action heroines, and the results have been fairly good so far. Maleficent cast a spell on the box office and Cinderella dazzled audiences. Next on their plate is Beauty and the Beast, and I for one cannot wait for 2017.

I'm probably fairly biased. Belle is my favorite princess from Disney - both the classic 1991 animated movie and ABC's network show Once Upon A Time. She's a bookworm, intelligent, kind-hearted, curious, and friendly. With the new release of the trailer, I'm even more excited to see another version of her tale.

From the first notes of the original soundtrack, this trailer gave me chills. And then everything seemed to build on top of that goose-pimples.

It's hard not to think about how Emma Watson is a real-life mix of Hermione Granger and/or Belle with her worldwide movement for equality and her feminist-centered book club Our Shared Shelf. Since the Harry Potter films ended in 2011, it's been fun to see what the cast chose to do next. Hers in particular has been inspiring. She is wonderfully cast, bringing an elegant and fierce spark over from the animated version.

As Belle's counterpart, Dan Stevens as the Beast looks genuinely grizzly but not over the top. In photos or still promos, he doesn't have as much definition as in the trailer. Not knowing how much of the Beast is CGI or motion capture, or a mix of the two, I can't believe what he looks like. The Beasts ultimate transformation to Prince Adam will be impressive.

As well, Luke Evans as the egomaniacal suitor Gaston and Josh Gadd as dubious sidekick LeFou are great. Voices for Beasts' staff are top-notch: Emma Thompson for Mrs. Potts, Nathan Mack as Chip, Ian McKellan for Cogsworth, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, Audra McDonald as Wardrobe, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Babette.

We also hear Ewan McGregor's Lumiere, and I have to say I can't help but chuckle a little. One of my favorite early promos about the movie is an interview he did on The Graham Norton Show about his difficulties with the French accent. While he did try his hardest, and Lumiere will probably be great, that tidbit is the first thing to come to mind.

Speaking of hearing, Disney made a tricky choice to not feature songs from the original soundtrack. Alan Menken's score and Howard Ashman's lyrics are so beautiful, let alone timeless. The music is going to be a key sell for longtime fans, especially since new lyrics will be used too. One of my favorite songs, ironically, is Gaston's brutal call to action The Mob Song, which is in the trailer. It's such an unexpectedly electric song, and Luke Evans' take sounds just as raw. Hearing Emma Watson and Dan Stevens converse in Something There or Watson on her own in Belle's Reprise is bound to be charming, as well as Emma Thompson's full version of Angela Lansbury's timeless A Tale As Old As Time. To hear the score with fresh voices leaves room for anticipation.

How about that production design? It looks like a mix of practical and special effects - such as the castle's exterior and the library versus the grand ballroom. Disney's use of both will be fascinating to see how they pull it off, especially since the Be Our Guest scene took 18 months to be completed. To see how Emma Watson will interact with her new household objects/friends is a lot to live up to, but Disney rarely holds back. Even if I'm not a big fan of CGI, it's hard to imagine that a lot will come across as flat or awkward.

I mean, the set design for Beasts' castle like the library and the costumes by Jacqueline Durran are exquisite, let alone the new twist to Lumiere and Cogsworth's appearance. The film translating shots from the animated version into the 18th century is so ornate and elegant. Please give me Belle's red winter cape, and Lumiere, Cogsworth right now. In fact, let me live in this world, thank you.

All in all, this might be one of my most anticipated 2017 movies. It might be a remake but there's some new life needed for film since 2016 felt quite uneventful. I don't think Disney has to worry about moviegoers with this one. I'll definitely be venturing out of my village to see this ASAP.

What is your reaction to the trailer? Feel free to share in the comments!

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