Disney has released a sneak peek at the opening number from their new film Beauty and the Beast, a remake of the cartoon classic. The clip shows the first minute of the opening musical sequence, which is similar to the original in a lot of ways. Watch it below:
The new film, directed by Bill Condon, has the difficult task of reimagining the story everyone is familiar with and at the same time keeping enough similar elements and lines from the original to convince fans that it’s the same story. Rumors have begun to spread that this new film is nothing but a shot for shot remake of the original. We can see from this clip that already that’s not true, there are new shots here that pay homage to the original, but not the same ones. However, this is a musical number, and musical numbers have to be similar because they are using the same lyrics. How similar the rest of the film will be has yet to be seen.
So what is the correct balance in this situation? Should Condon lean more toward directly translating the cartoon to live-action or should he move away from the cartoon into new and interesting directions with the film? Other Disney films that have been translated to live action recently include Cinderella, Maleficent, The Jungle Book, and Tarzan. Tarzan and Maleficent both tell different stories than their cartoon siblings. Cinderella tries to tell the same story as the cartoon, while the Jungle Book tends to pay homage to the cartoon (in songs and classic lines) but is very much its own film. Maleficent and the Jungle Book were both huge financial successes and both have sequels on the way, clearly fans are eager for looser adaptations and more original stories than the direct cartoon adaptations tend to provide.
Still, however Condon plans to go, Beauty and the Beast will still make tons of money. This is perhaps the most anticipated Disney live action remake to date, so it will be no surprise if it makes more than all the others so far.
Disney has also released a plot synopsis for the new film which can be read here:
The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
The song “Belle” was written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman for the original film which was released in 1991. For those interested in comparing the original to the new clip, the old version of the song will be included here for comparison’s sake.
Beauty and the Beast hits theaters March 17, 2017. Tickets are on sale now.