A Beauty and the Beast live-action remake was never going to be an easy task to get right, and it’s fair to say that fans will be more critical of usual when the movie is finally released. For director Bill Condon, it’s an unenviable position to be in; if he pitches the movie too close to the original, he will be accused of merely producing a copy, and not putting his own stamp on things. Introduce too many changes and he’ll be accused of butchering a much-loved animated classic.
Condon seems to be aiming for a healthy mix of old and new; replicating many aspects including key scenes and costumes almost exactly, while also introducing new characters, backstories, and even new songs from Alan Menken and Tim Rice. One thing that has been kept unchanged though, is the presentation of the trailers. Both full length theatrical trailers for Beauty and the Best 2017 have played out almost frame for frame against their original, animated counterparts. Below, we break down the key aspects of the second (and final) trailer for you, and take a look at how they compare to the animated version.
The trailers both open with a shot of Belle emerging from her cottage in the small, sleepy village where she lives with her father. In the animated movie, this shot is the opening scene of the entire movie, right before Belle starts singing “Little Town.” Given the other similarities, it seems reasonable to expect that this will also be the first shot of Emma Watson as Belle, too. In the new trailer, we then hear Kevin Kline, as Belle’s father, Maurice, saying “My dear Belle, you’re so ahead of your time.” This plays over a shot of Belle walking as she reads a book, and then teaching a little girl to read. In the animated trailer, replace the little girl with some sheep, and you have exactly the same scene played out. There is also a wide shot of a crowd scene, which again can be seen in the animated trailer and comes from the opening song. “Little Town” is a perfect scene setter; a multi-layered, energetic and insightful number that could be the perfect opener to any Broadway show.
Gaston Loves Himself
Well, we all knew that this fundamental character trait wouldn’t change. Played by Luke Evans, Gaston is just as boorish, arrogant and self-centered as his animated counterpart; a sure sign that though Beauty and the Beast might be live-action, it’s still a Disney movie, with exaggerated, over-the-top villains that we all love to hate. Disney isn’t seeking to deliver realism here, and the shot of Gaston proudly telling himself that he is the most “gorgeous thing I have ever seen,” plays identically to the animated trailer. In the movie, this shot comes from the first time we see Gaston, during an instrumental break of “Little Town.” However, the next brief shot is different; when Belle walks past Gaston in the animated trailer, she doesn’t even look up from her book, whereas in the live-action version, Watson wears a look of disdain on her face that leads us to believe conversation with Gaston has just taken place.
A Dark Turn of Events
After the bright, explanatory opener to the trailer, things take a darker turn when Maurice strays into the forest and is attacked by wolves. It’ll be interesting to know how he comes to be there this time, since in the live-action Beauty and the Beast it is Belle who is the inventor, not Maurice, so he’s unlikely to be on his way back from the science fair as he is in the original. Again the trailers play scene-for-scene: Maurice on horseback, trying to find his way by lamplight, a shot of the wolves, and then the dropped lantern (or in this case, bag), signalling that all is not well. The difference comes in the first time Maurice meets the Beast. The animated movie has him coming to the castle for help, where the servants welcome him and the Beast finds him sitting in his chair, in front of a fire. In the live-action trailer, the Beast seems to disperse the wolves, and then confront Maurice, who is lying in the snow.
Belle to the Rescue
After the exact same Disney castle shot, we see Belle riding up to the castle, determined to rescue her dad. In 1991, Belle was seen as a strong heroine of her time, but looking back it’s easy to see flaws in her character, such as her willingness to easily rely on the Beast who serves as her captor. This time around, though the plot won’t have changed, Watson is quick to talk about Belle’s strength and defiance, as well as her refusal to back down. Of course, we all know she ends up agreeing to stay with the Beast in exchange for her father’s release, and again this plays out identically in both trailers – right down to the line, “Come into the light.” This is sure to be an important moment in the movie, as Belle sees the Beast properly for the first time.