It's fair to say that the Beast of Beauty and the Beast fame was no Prince Charming, even back in his princely days. That's why it's precious to watch him being coached on social graces in the new TV promo of Beauty and the Beast, with Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts urging the monster to charm Belle. With one horrifically underwhelming smile, their confidence falters, and we get a sense that this live-action remake is going to show some serious shades of Nora Ephron.
We've seen in earlier featurettes that Belle and the Beast are bantering, promising something that the original animated film only delivered in broad strokes: romance and genuine chemistry. We may get to actually see Belle and Beast form a relationship rather than having to fast-forward it in a whimsical musical montage (although that's still a given, since "Something There" is guaranteed to be featured). And this short TV spot, structured in the vein of a rom-com with an exceptionally fuzzy love interest, definitely reinforces that.
Seriously, they've thrown in all the right pauses to punctuate their little moments together, as if to say, "Oh, look at these two crazy kids being playfully adorable!" It's not your grandma's Beauty and the Beast.
Another clue for that? We cut to Belle and the Beast chatting in the snow, all sheepish and borderline flirty. "I never thanked you for saving my life," Belle says. "I never thanked you for not letting me get eaten by wolves," The Beast replies. Aww, you guys.
Really, it's a little additive that could go a long way if done properly. I understand that the core reason of reviving Beauty and the Beast is to capitalize on the classic tale and nostalgia for the Disney Renaissance. Even the film's most fervent fan (AKA me) can cop to that. Secondarily, it's a fine opportunity to flex some technological muscles. Lord knows that the film looks even more splendid and detailed than the original.
But if you only rely on nostalgia and the magic of CGI without substantiating Belle and the Beast's connection even a little bit, you're going to lose some of the adult audience. I mean, no doubt this will be a big box office draw, and we can't stray too far from the source material. But letting the relationship lie as is will show in an era that has produced so many darker and more realistic live-action takes on these fairy tale features. The film doesn't have to go dark, and it doesn't look like that's the approach, so embellishing the romance is a solid move.
Beauty and the Beast hits theaters on March 17.