While it seems that Disney’s traditionally-animated feature films have sadly become a historical curio these days, overtaken by the flashier computer-generated style, the company have found a new way to give its older work a shiny lick of paint recently by adapting them into live action. On the whole this has been pretty successful, from the likes of Maleficent to Cinderella and the very impressive The Jungle Book, and with Tim Burton working on Dumbo and Jon Favreau working on The Lion King it looks like there are plenty more still to come. In the meantime they’ve released this new version of one of their very best films, 1991’s sumptuous Beauty and the Beast.

Unlike those previous remakes, this one openly embraces the musical elements of the first film, and in fact slavishly follows the original to the point of recreating certain scenes almost shot-for-shot. This makes for odd viewing at times, especially if you’re very familiar with the animated version, and to an extent shoots itself in the foot as there are some things that only really work with exaggerated animation techniques, plus there is a noticeable drain of the original’s vibrant use of colour. On the whole however, most of the magic is retained, and this is an obviously timeless story that still has significant contemporary resonance.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Almost exactly the same film as the wonderful animated 1991 version8
This is not necessarily a good thing, in fact at times it's a little weird6
Anthropomorphic objects and exaggerated colour tend to work a lot better in animation5
There is still a great deal to admire however, especially in the production design7
It's a very old story that has remained popular for very good reasons8
Bechdel Test passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The female characters talk to each other
  • They talk about something other than men
Bechdel test failures
  • n/a
8Overall Score

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