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Disney's Beauty and the Beast is a story that pretty much everybody knows at this point. It's essentially become the definitive version of the classic fairy tale for a couple of generations. One wonders if this is the reason that the film's advertising isn't bothering to keep anything behind the curtain, instead, showing off most of the famous moments of the original animated film in the trailers. Now, a new TV spot gives us our first glimpse, though it is only a glimpse, at the Prince transforming into the Beast. Check it out.
The major piece of new footage in the new 30-second spot, provided by Comicbook.com, includes a close-up of a man's eyes, as his face changes from being covered with skin, to being covered with hair. While we certainly don't get a clear look at the Beast's entire transformation, the fact that we see anything at all here would seem to confirm something that I've been speculating on for a while. We'll probably be seeing the human forms of all the castle characters in the film's introduction.
A lot of people were surprised when marketing materials for Beauty and the Beast were released that showed the human forms of characters like Lumiere and Cogsworth. We never saw their human forms in the animated version of the film until the end. We not only never saw the Beasts' human form until the end of the movie, we didn't even get a clear shot of him as the Beast until Belle meets him at the end of the film's first act. All of the backstory is given to us as narration over still images that are shown as stained glass windows.
This brief glimpse shows us that the transformation of man to Beast will be done as live-action and that we'll see at least part of it go down. If this means that we're going to see Dan Stevens as the human prince then it means there's a good chance that we'll see many of the other servant characters in their human forms as well. This would explain why the movie doesn't have a problem showing them to us in the marketing because we're going to see them all when the movie starts anyway.
It's clear that Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast is very much trying to simply make a live-action version of the animated classic. Rather than simply hinting at the moments from the original that you love, Disney has decided to show many of them off. The only things that we're not seeing much of are the major musical numbers.
It's an interesting strategy from Disney. Rather than try to hold moments back and make the audience wonder what they will see, the marketing plan has instead been to go all-in on the nostalgia. This is exactly the movie that you think it's going to be, and since we know that's what you want to see, buy a ticket and watch it, seems to be what Disney thinks will work. To be fair, if anybody is capable of pulling that off its Disney.
Based on the film's early ticket sales, it would seem that the strategy is paying off. Fandango has said that the pre-sales for Beauty and the Beast have more comparable to a superhero movie than to a family film. We'll see how well the movie delivers on what it has promised when it arrives March 17.