Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson's Beauty tames Dan Stevens' Beast in the sumptuous live-action version of Disney's musical cartoon

Emma Watson’s Beauty tames Dan Stevens’ Beast in the sumptuous live-action version of Disney’s musical cartoon.

Blending CGI razzle-dazzle with Broadway pizzazz, Disney has given its beloved 1991 animated movie a glossy live-action remake. Sticking very closely to the cartoon original, Dreamgirls director Bill Condon delivers the tale with unblushing gusto, ramping up the spectacle at every opportunity and turning the big musical numbers into routines worthy of Busby Berkeley.

At times, the film’s flamboyance gets too much. Everything is so showy, so overblown, that watching certain scenes becomes exhausting.

Somehow, though, the performances shine through.  Watson, giving her plucky heroine more than a touch of Hogwarts’ bookworm Hermione, pulls off the feat of being both feisty and winsome, Stevens’ spellbound Beast is suitably gruff and Luke Evans makes a hilariously hissable cad as Belle’s unwelcome suitor Gaston.

Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson provide amusing support as the enchanted castle’s singing-and-dancing household objects.