WHAT: The first trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
WHO: Emma Watson and Dan Stevens (under a whole lot of CGI) star as the title characters, with Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, and Josh Gad supporting in Dreamgirls director Bill Condon’s adaptation.
WHY WE CARE: It’s no surprise that in these sequel/remake/reboot/adaptation-heavy times, Disney would be interested in mining its fantastical animated catalog for live-action features. We have the technology. Alice can really visit Wonderland now, and Mowgli can hang with real talking bears and panthers without venturing into the uncanny valley. What is a surprise, though, is that these movies are legitimately good across the board, from their visual effects to the storytelling, validating them as more than just novelties for audiences who are too young to have the same emotional connection to 2D animation that their parents and grandparents did.
Beauty and the Beast may be the toughest challenge for the studio yet, though, as the story is a combination of melodrama and sheer whimsy that plays well when everybody is a cartoon, but is harder to buy into when we’re seeing the more fantastical elements play out in a world that looks like ours. Are we ready to shed tears over the tortured romance between Belle and the Beast and enjoy the spectacle of a castle filled with talking kitchen accessories? Based on Disney’s track record, and the fact that Emma Watson has been bringing gravity to magic worlds since she was 10 years old, we’re going to say “probably,” at least given what we see in the trailer.DS