Beauty and the Beast is the next entry in Disney’s live-action remake kick, which has been ongoing since 2014’s Maleficent. It looks fantastic, and it’s a departure from the previous films.
Maleficent and 2015’s Cinderella took the “dark reboot” route, stripping out the songs, the wonder, and everything that made the cartoons so magical. Even the well-received The Jungle Book was very different. No blood, but decidedly not kid-friendly.
Not so with Beauty and the Beast. Disney is taking the musical numbers, the spectacle, and the silly fun of the original film and transplanting it wholesale into live action. The result is something like the musical extravaganzas of the 50s and 60s. Or for a more recent reference, it feels a lot like La-La Land.
That’s maybe not so surprising, since before this movie was ever conceived, the cartoon was turned into a stage musical. Beauty and the Beast premiered in 1994, three years after the animated film, and ran on Broadway until 1997.
Hollywood Reporter just released a video comparing the voice actors from the original movie to the new characters. Although this is ostensibly a site about voice actors, it’s hard not to crack a smile at Josh Gad’s take on LeFou. Of course, he’s a Broadway star himself (Book of Mormon), and the voice of Olaf in Frozen.
The voice acted characters themselves include all of Beast’s various talking household objects. It’s a great cast, and it’s a kick to compare the old and new versions. That goes for the characters and for the actors who voice them.
The highlight is obviously Ian McKellen, who takes over Cogsworth the Clock from David Ogden Stiers. The other actors run the gamut from “super famous” to “who?”, which is usually the case in major films casting animated characters.
Beauty and the Beast releases across the US on March 17, 2017.