Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Live Action Sneak Peak

Release of Disney's live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast is right around the corner. And the studio is pulling out all the stops. While the cast is on a world press tour, an eight-minute exclusive sneak-peek with costumes on display are open to park guests at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland in California. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, costumes from the new movie are on display and I was able to catch a sneak peak of the first five minutes!

The prop on display at Hollywood Studios is the red rose under its glass dome. And the costume is Belle's golden dress, which she famously wears during her and Beasts' iconic ballroom dance in the 1991 original film.

At Disneyland Resort in California, the costumes on display includes Belle's village blue dress, a map, an enchanted mirror, and a rose under the bell jar. I would've loved to see these in person too!

I was so close to the rose, I couldn't believe it. It's much bigger in person than I expected it to be. I love that the glass dome isn't plain but has a vine embellishment all around.

The gold dress is an iconic garment in the animated film, and one that every Beauty and the Beast fan has wanted to see come to fruition in real life.

What surprised me most about the dress is how light and airy it was. Emma Watson and the costume designer Jacqueline Durran wanted the dress to look as if Belle is floating during their big dance. It doesn't have a corset, so it's a bit more modern than what would expect. But it's going to have a lot movement, which I'm interested to see. Belle also wears a gold necklace with a vine, tree-like pendant.

In Entertainment Weekly, Durran shared that they screen tested several yellows and the gown is made up of satin organza with gold printed leaf pattern sprinkled on top. The yellow is much more of a pineapple or dandelion yellow than gold, but it has lovely accents that really makes it shine. It's not very obvious from the front but the dress has a lot of volume from layers of fabric.

Durran served as costume designer on other 'period' films Anna Karenina, Atonement, and Pride and Prejudice. From the gold dress alone, I thought she did a wonderful job and I can't wait to see Beast's tuxedo, the castle staff when they are transformed into their human selves, and more from Belle's wardrobe.
And, now we'll talk about the sneak-peek! Hollywood Studios screened a mix of Belle, the opening number with the townspeople singing about Belle as she goes to the library, and her reprise in the meadow. The first scene is not entirely new as Disney has shared it online, but we saw a longer, fuller version. After these scenes, one of the trailers was also included, pretty much like the ones featured on tv and the internet.

SPOILERS: Below are my first impressions. There are spoilers. Read as you wish! 

  • Disney went all out with this adaptation. Not that they didn't do the same with Maleficent or Cinderella, but that the scale of the movie feels grand and sucks you in. Even as a new interpretation or slight differences with the direction, it still maintains the energy and theatricality of the original. 
  • The village and townspeople bring more personality to each other and their opinion of Belle. The set isn't entirely CGI, which makes it feel like a a physical place and gives the movie so much character. All of their costumes are vibrant and colorful. 
  • Emma Watson is adorable as Belle. When she sings “Ohhhh, isn’t this amazing” while reading her book, she gives this little glance that I think all bookworms will relate to, like Can’t you believe this type of world exists in a book, don’t you want to go there? You can tell she knows this role is a big deal to fans, she’s having fun but trying to do a good job. Her Belle is similar to Paige O’ Hara’s version, but there's also a bit more desperation and frustration of wanting to get out of her town and explore, which adds a little more layers to her.
  • She's received some criticism over auto-tuning, but it seems smoother and natural in the theater. She may not be theatrically trained, but she has a lovely voice that fits Belle.
  • Luke Evans and Josh Gad are absolutely Gaston and LeFou. They aren't caricatures or cartoonish. They’re both a little buffoonish and simple-minded, but they’re not idiotic. Evans is great as the handsome “boorish brainless” charmer, and Gad is great as the comic relief.
  • The transition of Belle running up the ginormous hillside to hit Belle's Reprise made me laugh a little. I'm pretty sure there's a scene in between that Disney cut for the sneak-peek, but unless she's been trained by Rocky Balboa, she'd  pass out. The meadow reminded me of The Sound of Music. Her village is off in the horizon, and it nicely shows how Belle doesn’t have anywhere else to go for the adventure she wants. It’ll make the trek to Beast’s castle more dramatic.

I didn't just see the sneak-peek once but five times! I love watching the trailers and clips online, but the experience is more adequately captured in theaters. From the beginning, you feel like you've entered a whole new world. When I listen to the original soundtrack or watch the movie, I can't help but think of this version in the best ways possible. Beauty and the Beast will be released on March 17th, and I can't wait!

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