In 2017 Walt Disney returns to that tale as old as time. Following in the footsteps of Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and The Jungle Book is none other than Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Bill Condon, this new film retells the tale of Belle (Emma Watson) and how she finds her way to the enchanted castle that homes the mysterious Beast (Dan Stevens). The film does not hit theaters until next spring but that has not stopped Disney from giving moviegoers a taste of this new film as the first trailer to Beauty and the Beast arrived on the scene yesterday. Likely to be attached to this weekend's release of Alice Through the Looking Glass, this quick teaser revealed the the magical castle as well as gave viewers their first look at Ms.Watson as the famed Disney Princess. Needless to say the teaser was quite impressive with its beautiful visuals, and its sense of nostalgia as the iconic musical themes play throughout the trailer. The preview certainly makes this live action retelling will be one to be excited for; and yet this Film Adventurer cannot help but think that the 2017 film will be Disney's most ambitious retelling to date.
There is no doubt in my mind that this film has an uphill battle ahead of itself. The reason for this has to do with the shear fact that this new movie based on one of Disney's most cherished features in its long history. Beauty and the Beast is one of the most successful movies from the Disney Vault. Not only was it one of the films that pioneered the Disney Renaissance in 90's, but the movie also went on to be nominated for Academy Awards (including best picture). That is certainly a hard accomplishment to live up however this matter does center on accolades alone-but also in the case of presentation. From storytelling to characters, 1991's Beauty and the Beast was solid in its performance to the point where it is difficult to imagine a live action film playing out any differently...with the exception of it being live action. Moviegoers may have said the same thing about films such as 2015's Cinderella, but there is something about Beauty and the Beast that makes it timeless; and this factor makes it challenging for any new interpretation to even be live up the animated classic.
This not to say that the 2017 film's chances of success are slim as the movie has a lot going for it. For starters the film features a massive ensemble. Along with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens are the likes of Luke Evans, Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline and Emma Thompson. Needless to say this ensemble is one that is fitting of any blockbuster; but this is not the only going for Beauty and the Beast. While it will may be a challenge, the film's presentation could make for an engaging cinematic experience. If the first trailer was any indication the movie's performance could have a sense of detail that bring something new to the fairy tale all the while playing homage to the 1991 film. The addition of both new character and musical number will also help to set this film apart from the animated feature, but it comes down to the matter of detail that will help this live action adaption to truly stand; and I for one think this movie has that chance to point where (if done well) Beauty and the Beast could be Disney's most effective retelling to date.
The success for this adaption will definitely be both ambitious and risky. While its commercial success will not be too difficult to accomplish, the fact that this film must live up to it animated predecessor could hurt the film's execution in the eyes of Disney fans and moviegoers. Yet this film has all the potential in the world to be a memorable feature from Walt Disney Pictures. As long as the film can keep true to the classic's spirit, while finding its own identity, then this live action take of Beauty and the Beast could very well live to being a tale as old as time; not to mention be a must see for 2017.
Beauty and the Beast enchants its way to theaters on March 17, 2017.