French Trailer for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Shows a Dark, Rich Adventure

I'll admit it, I'm still a sucker for a good costume drama/folk tale. Not the Disney-fied ones that sanitize, but ones that harken back to the dark underbelly of those tales are warnings and cautions about morality and behaviour. And so I was very excited when I first heard that Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Silent Hill) was going back to original original story by Madame de Villeneuve l for his version of Beauty and the Beast, my expectations starting rising.

Now, we have the first trailer. It certainly looks like a Gans film: full of rich colour, a creepy castle, a dark villain (This time around, Vincent Cassel seems to be getting the whole lion's body), a beautiful maid, intrigue, and hefty historical context to flesh out the narrative. Certainly, parts of it gravitate towards high fantasy, and I'm a little unsure about what seems to be a Disney-like animal companion (though I haven't read the original story, so it might be in there). But this is made for the big screen, and Gans proved with Brotherhood of the Wolf that he's not afraid to go dark, violent and scary, while still providing some romance.

It's due for release in France in February. No word yet on a North American date. Please note: the trailer is in French, without subtitles.
Around the Internet:
  • fergus1948

    Everyone keeps comparing it to Disney but La Belle et la Bete means something else to the French. They will be comparing it to Jean Cocteau’s 1946 black & white version, a classic of French cinema and definitely not Disneyesque. Hollywood is not always the touchstone for criticism.

  • billydaking

    Agreed. The trailer far more recalls that classic film more for me than the Disney film, especially in the design of the Beast.

    Not sure what people expected. A French Snow White and the Huntsman? If Gans was going back to the original story of Beauty and the Beast, then it wasn't going to be that. Here's the original story: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/beau...

  • j.deleón-serratos

    We already have a Spanish black and white Snow White, just in case. :-)

  • Mr. Cavin

    Yeah, this seems very post-Disney to me. The cuddly little animals, as you point out, are incredibly Walty (though the convention of a castle filled with enchanted servants is something Cocteau borrowed from other fairy tales); but also the ballroom dance scene and that unstoppably badass werewolfy beast are totally modern American "improvements" to the original story. From this trailer, I'd almost call this a live-action remake of the 1991 version (with the original backstory intact, to be fair) if only it looked at all live action, you know?

  • billydaking

    As mentioned below, the beast and production design in the trailer are very much taken directly from the 1948 French classic film, which the Disney animators used as a template. For comparison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Mr. Cavin

    um, yeah. Are you concerned that I am unfamiliar with Cocteau's version of this story? Rest easy, I'm quite familiar with it. And yeah, the ways in which that version altered older forms of the fairy tale very much created the template that Disney later used when they were making their own production of the story. No argument here. What I am arguing is that the preview above seemed to me very much like the son of the American version--grandson of the Cocteau version, if you prefer. I would rather have seen something that catered a little less to what princesses from the nineties think of this story as looking like, maybe something going back to the beginning, before Jean Cocteau's theatrical impression, and interpreting the story in a unique fashion.

  • billydaking

    Considering you mentioned Cocteau in your first post, no. I just disagreed completely that this film looks like "the son of the American version", for the reasons I stated. It's obvious to anybody who has seen that film that this new version is using Cocteau's as a touchstone.

    Also, the fairy tale is only a bit more than 5,000 words long, and Beauty's time with the beast after the first night is a single paragraph summarizing three months. There's a lot a film can fill in, and despite a single shot of a dance (that looks a lot different from the Disney version, since the spectres of the subjects are present and it's lit gloomly), I think it's premature to call it "a live-action remake" of the Disney film, especially since there didn't appear to be any enchanted servants like you mentioned. The trailer indicates it's pulling things straight from the original tale (the presence of Beauty's two sisters) and added things (a backstory for the prince that involves Beauty).

  • Mr. Cavin

    Ah gotcha. When you say things like "it's obvious to anybody who has seen that film that...", in conjunction with telling me how incorrect I am, it gets a little confusing as to whether you are calling me ignorant or just wrong. Glad to get to the bottom of it.

    I was trying to be careful to qualify my reaction with words like "seems", knowing full well that I am reacting to a bunch of glimpses in a trailer. The dance sequence seems derivative of the Disney version to me. So does the inclusion of a bunch of cute, large-eyed computer animated servants (though, again, magical servants are an invention of the Cocteau--as is, arguably, the Disney movie). I realize that what I am assuming might not be correct.

    Last little quibble: this story is a fairy tale. The earliest known recording may be very short and very spare, but who knows whether that is a product of forcing something that is completely robust in the oral tradition into new constraints for publishing. We are talking about 1740 after all. There is no doubt that the tale is both much older and less geographically located than versions by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve or Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont might have you believe. I am sure it's narrative is far more varied, as well. You are correct that, in such a bare-bones concept, there are plenty of opportunities to elaborate on the story in many different ways, but this film seems to have decided to elaborate in the same old way we're used to. Whether that way is like Cocteau or Disney, it's still disappointing to me.

  • billydaking

    >>>"Then you say things like "it's obvious to anybody who has seen that film
    that...", in conjunction with telling me how incorrect I am, it gets a
    little confusing as to whether you are calling me ignorant or just
    wrong."

    My initial post didn't say that. It was a simple statement pointing out the 1948 film, to which you responded sarcastically. Your own tone led to my statement that you quoted.

  • Mr. Cavin

    That wasn't sarcasm. But okay. Point taken.

  • Cedric Chou Ya-Li

    Yup, I completely agree: this looks like a live adaptation of the Disney cartoon. As for the American "improvements", I'll keep in mind you used quotation marks, as I don't see any improvement at all... I really thought Gans was going for an homage of sorts to Cocteau--as it is, it seems ripped from any truly fantastical elements (yeah, CGI doesn't really cut it for me)! Actually, it kind of reminds me of 'Snow White and the Huntsman'...

  • Mr. Cavin

    That's right, that's what I meant, I don't see any improvement either. Style guides call those scare quotes and they even have their own Wikipedia page.

  • Cedric Chou Ya-Li

    Scare Quotes, nice, didn't know about that name... Thanks for the tip ;)

  • Qinlong

    I must say I was expecting something much darker or at least more original from Christophe Gans...

  • j.deleón-serratos

    So many ads in this page. :-/ I can't even see the trailer without one of those annoying ads start. I have now 3 going at the same time. :-(

  • Where are you Jesus? And what browser are you using to access the site? I'm not seeing anything remotely like that and that shouldn't be the case. Any ads on the video itself are from Allocine, where we've taken the embed code from.

  • billydaking

    The ads from Allocine prevented the video from actually playing for me. Had to go to Youtube to watch the trailer.

  • j.deleón-serratos

    I'm here in Austin. I had to put Adblock because it was impossible to watch it. Yeah, the Allocine one was expected, but there were 3 different videos commercials going at the same time (which I know they were not from Twitch, because it said that they were not from your site). I understand the ads, but the combo was annoying and it is the first time it has happen. That's why I comment. Thanks for the reply. :-)

  • Was there audio coming through on the video ads? Our ad sales people have instructions that that should NEVER happen automatically ... if you see it again, please let me know which ad it was so we can have it corrected. We gotta pay the bills, obviously, but also want to make sure ads aren't ruining the user experience.

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