“Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind…” How precisely you remember that opening narration by David Ogden Stiers may vary, but who could forget the accompanying ethereal, haunting piano music that opened Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in 1991, the first animated feature to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. 25 years later, those same magical chords have returned to tickle the hairs on the back of your neck.
Admittedly, even for a teaser trailer, this doesn’t show much. Rather than offering brief glimpses at some of the most beloved characters of our childhood, and selling us on how well the film will ‘update’ Disney’s original, instead the trailer elects to simply build atmosphere, and sell us on how well the film will recapture the experience and feeling of its predecessor. Images of a mighty yet mysterious castle, vast and vacant chambers, a portrait of a young prince before it is ripped from our sight by unseen claws, and a red rose encased in glass. These are all things all of us expected to see, but what the trailer nails is the feeling of seeing them again, taking the tale as old as time back to when we all first experienced it in 1991. Emma Watson as Belle is pitch-perfect casting, as is Ian McKellen as Cogsworth (heard briefly off-screen, along with Ewan McGregor whose French accent might need a little work in the role of Lumiere), and the trailer knows it. No doubt come the first official trailer we’ll be treated to a far greater sample of the characters all round (Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, Luke Evans as Gaston and Stanley Tucci as Cadenza the Grand Piano, an original creation, being among my personally most anticipated). For now though, Disney invites you to relax, pull up a chair as the studio proudly presents…your teaser.