Everything Disney Should Do (and Not Do) with Its New Live Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Beauty and the BeastWalt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection

With Frozen still raking in cash months after it first hit theaters and Maleficent dominating last week’s box office, it seems like Disney princesses are once again an unstoppable force. The studio is hoping to extend its current hot streak by bringing Beauty and the Beast, one of their most beloved properties back to the big screen in a live action movie. Variety reports that Dreamgirls director Bill Condon has been tapped to helm the feature film, which is just one of several live-action adaptations that Disney has in production.

Thus far, no details have been released about what direction they’re planning for the film, although hiring Condon does seem to imply that they might be interesting in making a full-scale musical. However, Condon has a handful of non-musical blockbusters on his resume – including the final installments of the Twilight Saga – so there are plenty of creative options open. In the interest of helping Disney and Condon narrow things down a bit, we’ve outlined the things we think Disney and Condon should keep in mind while putting together their live-action Beauty and the Beast. Although if we’re honest, as long as there’s an adorable talking teacup involved, we’ll be fine. 

DO: Throw in a Few of the Old Musical Numbers
We’re not saying that Condon has to turn this film into a gigantic, musical spectacular, but if you went to see a Disney interpretation of Beauty and the Beast and didn’t hear even a few notes of that classic theme song, wouldn’t you feel disappointed? Throw a few songs in there, make the silverware dance around a little bit, either way, this film needs a little musical magic – although, feel free to drop “Something There” if there’s no room for it. It won’t be missed.

DON’T: Give It a Modern Setting
Look, we like a modern re-working of a classic tale as much as anybody, but Disney should stick to what it does best: ball gowns, castles, and long, sweeping shots of stunning vistas. If people are looking for a metaphorical, city-set version of the tale, they can watch the CW. We prefer our Disney movies to feel like a fairy tale from a storybook.

DO: Add More Fairy Tale Magic
For an animated film about a fairy tale princess, Beauty and the Beast featured surprisingly little magic. There was the dancing silverware, of course, and the dramatic transformation from Beast back into the prince at the end, but the film could have used a bit more pixie dust. For the live-action version, we’re hoping Condon pulls out all of the CGI tricks he learned on the Twilight films and sprinkles a little magic on this story. After all, it seems a shame to kick off a film with a drastic, dark transformation and then never show any actual witchcraft.

DON’T: Downplay the Beast’s Beastliness
Giving your hero a few scars on his face has got to be cheaper and easier than turning him into a full-scale beast, but that doesn’t make it feel like any less of a cop-out. The films and shows that use tattoos and a “beastly attitude” instead of movie magic have had a good run, but we’re hoping Condon will ensure that this time around, our cursed prince gets a full-scale transformation this time around. Besides, everyone knows that Disney’s Beast looked better before he turned back into a prince.

DO: Work in Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts
The best part of the animated Beauty and the Beast isn’t the love story between Belle and the Beast or the elaborate, catchy musical numbers. It’s the hilarious banter between the permanently-at-odds Lumiere and Cogsworth and the sensible, motherly Mrs. Potts, which is why we don’t understand why these characters – or their modern-day equivalents – are constantly left out of adaptations of this story. Every fairy tale needs a wise-cracking sidekick or three, Disney. Don’t deny Belle and the Beast theirs. 

Every fairy tale needs a villain, and nobody’s better, meaner, scarier or more ruthless than Gaston. There’s a whole song about it, if you don’t believe us.