To this day, Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film ever to squeeze into the Academy Awards race for Best Picture. The cartoon musical brought the goods: there was action, there was romance, there were memorable tunes, there was Law & Order's Jerry Orbach singing in his best French accent. There was something for everyone, and to this day, it remains a childhood staple (though, sadly, five-year-olds in 2016 won't have the luxury of literally wearing down their VHS copies).
Being one of Walt Disney's prized possessions means being susceptible to the remake machine. After the successes of Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book, every Disney property imaginable is being converted to live-action. Beauty and the Beast is not sacred enough to avoid. Coming to theaters in 2017, the movie stars Emma Watson as Belle, Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens as the Beast, The Hobbit's Luke Evans as Gaston, Ewan McGregor takes over the voice of Lumière, and Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Ian McKellan as various pieces of anthropomorphized furniture. Dreamgirls director Bill Condon is the risk-taker gambling on the remake.
Based on the Disney's first trailer for the movie, Condon has nothing but reverence for the 1991 original. The castle's intact. The introductions are shrouded in mystery. The rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. And while there's no look at The Beast, there is McGregor doing an absolutely horrendous French accent, which is the joy of Orbach's Lumière, really. The trailer plucks at the nostalgia strings. The movie is a glorified Annie Leibovitz photoshoot. Everyone involved can carry a tune (we think?). Beauty and the Beast should work out, even for the purists. May not be Oscar-worthy, but it'll certainly be enough.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He is a devout Angela Lansbury fan and is stressing over this remake. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.