We may live in a world of sequels and remakes, but at least turning a cartoon into live-action inherently brings something fresh to the material. But do you need to, when the material is this well-loved? You may come to Beauty and the Beast and begin by playing a game of compare-and-contrast, but both the gusto of the cast and the invention of the effects mean it's impossible not to get swept up. Emma Watson as Belle is her usual posh self — which for some reason drives Americans wild — but the entire rest of the cast is terrific, in particular Luke Evans (High-Rise) as a darkened version of Gaston, and Dan Stevens somehow shines under mountains of CGI as the Beast. Holy moly is this going to be a big hit — but if you want a slice of how good Stevens can be, watch the The Guest. Times & trailer
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