Little Beauty, Less Beast
I hope you were not waiting on this.
For lots of people, Beauty and The Beast went hand-in-hand with The Little Mermaid as the hallmarks of the renaissance of New Disney—headstrong heroines who love books and adventures and just happen to find romance along the way.
Then for others, Beauty and The Beast, the stage musical, was a surprisingly mid-key segue between the grandiose musicals your mom went to with her friends, like Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, and the RENTs and Avenue Qs that became your workout soundtracks on a super-skip-y CD Walkman. “Home” was still a musical-theatre song, but a much more plaintive, pop-ballad type one than we’d heard from Disney before, and there was a humanity, since there were humans actually playing the inanimate objects they were trapped in, that made the situation seem more dire.
A live-action movie, based on the musical should be great. May still be great. But this teaser didn’t get me excited at all:
Am I dead inside? That part of the overture is and always has been incredible, but if you’ve seen one old abandoned mansion, you’ve seen ‘em all, right? I mean, make no mistake, the empty-and-enchanted castle is part of the B&TB lore, but in the intervening years we’ve had a Phantom revival and a movie, The Notebook, and of course, a little place called Hogwarts. The story isn’t about the place…and I wish they’d drawn us in some different way.
Which doesn’t have any reflection on how I think the movie’s going to be. Probably it will be great, in fact, and I’m excited because the cast is stacked - Dan Stevens is the Beast, Ewan McGregor is Lumiere, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, AUDRA MCDONALD as Madame Garderobe, plus Ian McKellen and Josh Gad and Stanley Tucci and Emma Thompson – and of course, Emma Watson, who seems to have a really distinctive voice (or have we just heard her grow up, so we know her voice so well as we’ve heard it mature? I can’t tell). I want to have those questions about love and beauty and humanity and whether or not being selfless is fruitless, and I want to see them through music, on the big screen.
But this didn’t tease anything, and it didn’t get me excited. I didn’t even get to see Emma Watson in what we all wish to believe is her natural habitat, annoyed to be disturbed from her book. Also, the fact that the press release lists the screenwriter as ‘TBD’ doesn’t inspire confidence either, you know?
I’m willing to be caught, but this didn’t catch me. You?