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New trailers: Beauty and the Beast, Ghost in the Shell, Kong: Skull Island, and more

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

The biggest trailer this week belonged to Disney’s live-action Beauty and The Beast.

As my colleague Caroline Framke has already pointed out, it looks like a shot-for-shot remake of the studio’s animated classic from 1991. That decision is an interesting and brave one considering how beloved the original film was, and how difficult it can be to translate the limitless possibility of animation to live-action and its three-dimensional, real-world restrictions.

No matter what, though, the trailer did remind me of how timeless the movie’s soundtrack is, and how integral Alan Menken’s score is to the experience.

And of course, Beauty and the Beast wasn’t the only trailer to come out this week. Natalie Portman’s Jackie got its first full-length trailer, as did Scarlett Johansson’s The Zookeeper’s Wife. And so did Lucas Till’s Monster Trucks, whose only things in common with the previous two movies are that it is allegedly a movie and it debuted a trailer this week.

Jackie (December 2)

One of the many signs that Oscars season is upon us is the arrival of the full-length trailer for Jackie, in which Natalie Portman portrays Jackie Kennedy during and in the days after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. According to early reviews, Portman’s performance is stunning and one of the best of the year. Though, fair warning: this probably isn’t the movie (or trailer) you’re going to want to see if you’ve been feeling sad lately.

Hidden Figures (January 7)

Hidden Figures (a cinematic adaptation of a book by the same name) is a true story about a group of black female mathematicians (led by a woman named Katherine Johnson) who worked at NASA during the Space Race, but never got the credit they deserved. It seems the trailer is trying to evoke more of a feel-good version of Remember the Titans rather than recalling the wonkiness of The Martian, which is totally fine by me, but I do hope it doesn’t shy away from showing us the actual important work these women achieved.

Monster Trucks (January 13)

There are two great mysteries when it comes to the film Monster Trucks: how does a movie about a monster who lives in a truck get greenlit, and how does Lucas Till — easily the worst part of the rebooted X-Men franchise — keep getting work? Yet here we are, with Till starring in a "monster" truck movie and no real answers.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (January 13)

Netflix’s adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events looks like bright, Wes Anderson-esque fun. The books this TV series is based on — about a nefarious uncle who wants to inherit a fortune by adopting his nieces and nephew — have become a familiar cultural fascination of sorts; this new remake follows a 2004 movie that starred Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep. This time, Count Olaf is played by Neil Patrick Harris, who appears to be having a ball making the character every bit as ghoulishly hilarious as one can imagine.

Kong: Skull Island (March 10)

King Kong, the CGI’d undeniable star of Kong: Skull Island, looks very impressive. He’s every bit the colossal figure that so many imaginations have dreamt of over the years. But despite being full of great actors, the rest of the Skull Island’s cast — Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, and John Goodman, among others — seems to barely exist. Then again, focusing on the primate and keeping everyone else out of the way might be the point of a King Kong movie, right?

Ghost in the Shell (March 31)

This is our first real look at Ghost in the Shell, and it’s visually impressive. It looks like it could be the type of movie that redefines the aesthetics of special effects, just like The Matrix did. But it still faces an unshakeable controversy of Scarlett Johansson playing Motoko Kusanagi, the cyborg and lead character, and whether the role should have gone to an Asian or Asian-American actor since the story is inherently Japanese. This trailer, while gorgeous, doesn’t really have an answer.

The Zookeeper’s Wife (March 31)

The Zookeeper’s Wife sounds like it could very well be the combined sequel to the 2011 films We Bought a Zoo and Zookeeper, but it’s anything but. Adapted from a non-fiction book by Diane Ackerman, it tells the story of Jan and Antonina Żabiński, a Polish couple who used their zoo to hide and save Jewish people during WWII. The indomitable Jessica Chastain plays Antonina.

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