Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle exploded onto the screen at the beginning of the year. His flashy and ear-wormy take on Beauty and the Beast traverses the realm of virtual reality, showing the alternative lives of people all over the world—specifically the mousy young heroine Suzu who moonlights as the film’s titular digital pop star. The film’s songs are some of its strongest elements, eventually becoming concerts for billions of eager spectators inside the VR community of U.
Paste has an exclusive look behind the scenes at Belle’s music team discussing how its sonic tone developed. Music director/composer Taisei Iwasaki, composer Ludvig Forssell and music supervisor Taka Chiyo explain that the music’s style was generated based on feeling rather than intense direction. And that meant putting the freedom to interpret Hosoda’s needs in the hands of the three musical pros.
Take a look:
As our critic Max Covill says of the film, “It’s a potpourri of hormones, misunderstandings and animation styles that recall his 2009 breakthrough Summer Wars. Belle even relies on the family dynamics seen in some of his later movies—like the lone outcast Ren in 2015’s The Boy and the Beast or the wolf siblings in 2012’s Wolf Children. Hosoda’s children have always had to endure great tragedies. It’s within this combination of family struggles and virtual reality that Belle finds its groove.”
And as for the songs themselves, Covill explains that aside from the instant earworms of the opening numbers, “other songs, like the ballad ‘Lend Me Your Voice’ and the soaring anthem ‘A Million Miles Away,’ are more traditional pieces that build up to crescendos that will have your hairs standing on end.”
Belle is out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital now.