A tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, a marketing strategy to deliver the dime. The first full trailer for Walt Disney Pictures' live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast is familiar, from the hallmark ballroom moment down to a haunting piano motif over a sliced family portrait. If you were the right age when this 1991 classic burst into theaters, grossing millions and becoming the first full-length animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, then you likely know every beat from replays that burnt your VHS tape copy down to dust. This remake trailer hopes you've invested emotion in those beats; every second is an elegantly reproduced callback.
Directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), Beauty and the Beast stars Harry Potter's Emma Watson as Belle and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens, who sounds exactly like Robbie Benson from the original, as the Beast. Filling out the cast are Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou, Kevin Kline as Maurice, and Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson as the voices of the anthropomorphized furniture. The designs teeter between stunning and creepy, the visuals are as lavish as the original's animators could have conceived, and the song-and-dance numbers, all expected to make the jump to live-action, are nowhere to be heard. But man, Disney really did it: this is 100% Beauty and the Beast, now with real stars and a CG dog-man.
We'll see it if works when Beauty and the Beast hits theaters on March 17, 2017. Then we'll see if it works again as Disney continues its plan to remake most of the animation studio's back catalogue.