A live-action version of the 1991 animated film "Beauty and the Beast" will be released by Disney in March. Doubtless, both fans of the original and newcomers alike are fidgeting with anticipation as the company continues to release tidbits in the form of clips, teaser trailers, merchandise and, most recently, an ornate poster which features many of the original, central figures---easily recognized by their enchanted traits---as well as a few new faces. Deviating from the original animated adaptation, this new reprise appears that it will follow more closely with Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's version of the fairy tale, while still in keeping with the core message of the true beauty within.
The film boasts exceptional CGI effects in the form of the minotaur-like Beast, played by Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame. A lovely British Emma Watson, in addition, assumes the role of the bookish beauty Belle, who quickly learns to look beyond the surface of Beast---an action for which she eventually reaches his heart, and breaks the curse with requited love. The film-cast includes such notables as Ian McKellen as the rigidly bossy clock, Ewan McGregor as the romantic candelbra Lumiere, Emma Thompson as the nurturing teapot, Luke Evans as the arrogant Gaston, and Kevin Kline as the simple, loving father of the story's heroine. The tale of the selfish prince transformed into an appearance as distasteful as his heart unfolds when the French village girl dissolves the castle's enchantment by her own enchanting ability to see past the external and into the heart. Though she is at first their captive, she gradually sets everyone free through her bravery, saving the castle and all within from ruin. The narrative bears a striking resemblance to the redemptive power of Christ's love which maintains the power to master the ugly curse of sin and captivate the unlovable and undeserving with love. Just as Belle exposes the beauty of the beast, Christ makes beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
The film, in the spirit of Disney's animated films of recent years before like "The Jungle Book" and "Cinderella," will retain much of the original essence of the animated film released over 25 years ago---including, many are wondering, some of the music. This was confirmed when sound clips were released of Watson singing the sweet and funny "Something There." With two months away until theatrical release, there remains much more yet to be unveiled. Theatrical release including 3-D showing is announced officially as March 17.