Twenty-six years after Disney’s animated classic Beauty and the Beast swept into theaters, the studio’s live action version starring Emma Watson as Belle will do the same, with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a Disney release. And by the looks of the first official trailer, the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast will be about as faithful an adaptation as they come.
Seriously, this looks like the exact same movie.
The story is the same "tale as old as time": After the Beast (Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens) who lives on the edge on of town captures her father, Belle agrees to stay with him in exchange for her father’s freedom. The two start to fall for each other; the townspeople do not care for it; riots and true love miracles ensue.
As directed by Twilight’s Bill Condon, this live-action Disney take is lush and grand, and even employs some shot-for-shot replicas of scenes from its animated predecessor — including the iconic moment where Belle and the Beast meet in the ballroom after descending opposite staircases:
Condon’s version has less Technicolor opulence, but you get it.
Though I personally will be mourning the Guillermo del Toro version of this story that almost was and will never be, there is one undeniably exciting aspect of the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. Alan Menken’s music for the original movie — which won him an Oscar — is still gorgeous, witty, heartfelt, and timeless.
Beauty and the Beast is only the first of several planned live-action updates of animated Disney classics. Menken is set to work with Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda on the music for a live-action Little Mermaid (release date TBD), and a proposed Mulan update has already seen its fair share of controversy thanks to conflicting reports of whitewashing in the script (though Disney has confirmed that it’s searching for Asian actors to fill the lead roles).
So despite the fact that Disney has a new original animated film on its way — Moana, out November 23 — don’t expect the studio to let go of its past successes any time soon.
Beauty and the Beast will be released on March 23, 2017.