Because Disney has realized that its Disney princesses are a cash cow that will never stop giving milk, a new, live-action Beauty and the Beast is on its way to theaters starring real-life Belle Emma Watson, Luke Evans as Gaston, and the blond dude who peaced out of Downton Abbey and made us deal with a whole season of Lady Mary in frumpy mourning clothes will be playing the Beast. Now the new Beauty and the Beast trailer has been released, and it’s visually stunning but also way more disturbing in live action than it was in cartoon form, and that’s really saying something.
Watching Beauty and the Beast as a kid is a pretty different experience than watching it as an adult. Belle is the favorite princess of smart girls everywhere, but when you watch it as an adult it’s like, “None of this is OK! Don’t fall in love with the dude with dangerous anger issues just because he’s got a nice library. Hitler probably had a great library! Run away and go to Paris and visit a real library as much as you want. Don’t move to a castle within walking distance of your hometown and shack up with a guy who thinks it’s OK to just imprison people who piss him off!”
It’s freaky enough when a cartoon does it, but in live-action form the whole “angry monster” thing feels a lot more real and dangerous. And the glee and whimsy of the animated version lose a lot of their charm in real life–Chip the talking teacup is giving me the heebie-jeebies, and not just because i can’t stop wondering how he was born. Was he born as a teacup and has never known anything else? Or did time stop for them all, and he’s a 6-year-old boy who was turned into an unaging tea cup because his mom’s boss did something rude 10 years ago?
In this one, as in the original, the Beast imprisons Belle’s father for trying to take a rose off a rose bush. Look, I know he has anger issues and being turned into a minotaur at the age of 11 and left to raise himself for 10 years is not likely to have done him much good, psychologically speaking, but at a certain point we have to stop bending over backwards to empathize with people who do shitty things and stand up and say, “You are not allowed to imprison people for no reason! Not even if you have a castle. Aristocrats like you are why we have habeas corpus!”
This is definitely making me pro-Revolution in a way I never was before. Why did all the servants turn into objects? They didn’t do anything! This is ridiculous. This is like if the owners of Mommyish were arrested for selling ceviche without a license, so I had to be a cupcake stand for 10 years. WTF, fairy?
I’m going to see this movie anyway. Probably most of us will, and not just because our kids make us. It’s Beauty and the Beast! Clearly we all have to go see that fantasy library, which is way better decor porn than any of Carrie Bradshaw’s closets. And Luke Evans is Gaston, and both Luke Evans and Gaston are delightfuls.
It isn’t all different, though. One of the most memorable parts of the animated Beauty and the Beast is when the Beast finally becomes human again and the entire audience goes, “Huh. But … but he’s still not as hot as Gaston.”
At least Disney’s kept that experience alive for a new generation.
What do you think of the trailer? Are you going to go see this? I am, but I can’t be the only one.