In 2016, Disney had a record-shattering year at the box office. They seem pretty determined to rake in all the money in 2017, too. Their first blockbuster hitting theaters this year is "Beauty and the Beast," the latest in a long line of live-action remakes of their classic animated movies.
But don't worry if it's been a while since you watched your VHS copy of this Disney hit. We're here to break down everything you need to know about this tale as old as time, including what's different this time around.
1. The Plot's Pretty Much the SameMost of Disney's live-action remakes have diverged from the source material quite a bit in terms of plot, with "Maleficent" being the most significant example. But the studio looks to be taking the conservative approach this time around.
The new "Beast" will follow the same structure as the old one, with Belle becoming a prisoner in a haunted castle full of talking furniture. There, she (duh) falls in love with a prince cursed to live a tortured existence as a hideous beast. In this case, why fix what ain't broken? The new movie will also fill-in some narrative gaps in the original, like what happened to Belle's mom.
2. Get Ready for LOTS of CGWhile "Beauty and the Beast" is a live-action movie, expect a pretty hefty amount of CG effects. The Beast himself will have some CG enhancements, too, even though Dan Stevens used a degree of make-up effects on set.
Naturally, Beast's transformed household servants will also be CG creations. That's an area where the new movie has taken a bit of flack, as some of the character designs are a little, um, nightmarish, when compared to the original film. See above.
3. Yes, It's Still a MusicalLuckily, Disney didn't try and replace those beloved, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman-composed songs with something new. Expect all the classics to appear in the remake, from "Gaston" to "Be Our Guest" to "Beauty and the Beast" itself.
However, there will be a few new additions to the repertoire. Celine Dion has been tapped to sing a new song, "How Does a Moment Last Forever?" This tune will play during the end credits. Another new composition, "Evermore," will also appear during the course of the film. Hey, Disney's gotta score a shot at potential Best Song Oscar noms, you know.
4. The Cast Is Really ImpressiveAs beloved as the original film is, Disney really needed to "go big or go home" when it came to the cast. Luckily, they managed to assemble a pretty impressive lineup. Emma Watson plays Belle, while Dan Stevens will play the Beast in both beastly and human forms.
Kevin Kline stars as Belle's lovable father, Maurice, and Luke Evans plays the burly, self-absorbed hunter Gaston. And that's Josh Gad as Gaston's bumbling sidekick, Le Fou. Also keep your ears open for the voices of Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan, and Emma Thompson as the Beast's transformed servants.
5. There Are Some Minor Changes... "Beauty and the Beast" may be playing it safe in terms of plot, but that's not to say the new movie will be a carbon copy of the original. The biggest change looks to be a greater focus on Le Fou. It was recently revealed that Le Fou will be the first openly gay character in a Disney movie, and his unrequited love for Gaston will be a running thread throughout the story.
The movie is also introducing a completely new character in the form of Stanley Tucci's Cadenza. Formerly Prince Adam's castle composer, Cadenza was transformed into a harpsichord (naturally) when the kingdom was cursed by the witch.
Fans can't wait to see how this all plays out, when the movie hits theaters Friday.