The first trailer for Disney’s upcoming live-action iteration of Beauty and the Beast was an exercise in reassurance for anyone worried about how the new adaptation might wreck the animated 1991 classic. That initial look at the new film, which is directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and stars Emma Watson, was a carefully edited shot-for-shot remake of the original 1991 trailer, clearly hoping to prove to wary fans that their beloved treasure was in good hands.
The second trailer, released this week, has followed suit: Again, it’s a shot-for-shot version of the second original trailer for the animated Beauty and the Beast Disney released in 1991.
So far, these trailers have offered little more than brief glimpses of the fairy tale world so many have come to love over the years: Belle’s pastoral French village, the Beast’s castle, the coterie of delightful enchanted castle objects, and, of course, that iconic ballroom scene.
We also get our first listen of the film’s update of “Beauty and the Beast,” the classic duet now sung by Ariana Grande and John Legend. The song plays over the ballroom scene, but we also see colorful snippets from two other beloved numbers from the original, “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston.”
Those glimpses have been stunning — full of sumptuous scenery, gorgeous set design, and vibrant ensemble numbers. But perhaps more importantly, they’ve been familiar. There’s plenty of evidence that the live-action film will be painstakingly faithful to the animated original, if not a full-on shot-for-shot remake. (Though the trailers are identical, we already know that Belle will be a scientist and inventor this time around, instead of being merely a bookworm, so the new film won’t be a complete copy.) Fans have clearly embraced the look — the first trailer broke viewing number records on YouTube.
Still, some have criticized this approach: After all, what’s the point of making a straight-up copy? Other than oodles of money for Disney, of course.
Perhaps the real question is whether the chemistry between Watson as Belle and co-star Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as the Beast will be enough to recreate the romance of the original.
And regarding this crucial aspect of the film, Disney seems determined not to give too much away; beyond a few shared smiles here and there, neither trailer gives us anything substantial between the central couple. The film seems promising — and looks fantastic — but it will be standing on very tall, broad, and beastly shoulders.
Beauty and the Beast hits theaters on March 17, 2017.