Saw Beauty and the Beast (2017) last night:
Animation and production quality was outstanding. Film looked beautiful, although the interesting shots were all CGI, and nothing great from the camera work otherwise. There were even some moments when the camera panned around that everything went out of focus for an extended amount of time. We watched just a normal showing, maybe that stuff wasn’t a problem in the 3D or IMAX shows, I don’t know.
Biggest problem with this movie was the miscasting of the lead actress. Emma Watson never owned the role and I spent the first half hour pining for someone like Julie Andrews. There was no love or charm emanating from her persona, no connection between her and her father, none between her and the beast, and she was even entirely unconvincing and moribund in feigning her contempt for the boorish Gaston. The framing of the story also missed the mark, in my opinion, as there was no need to show the prince before he turned into a beast, nor any need to show the servants in the same way. Those early intrusions sapped energy from the story’s pathos, but maybe it was the same way in the original cartoon, I really don’t remember.
By far the best part of this movie was the animation and production quality, however. Unlike the CGI junk that is present in all of the newer Star Wars films (including TFA and R1), everything in Beauty and the Beast looked seamless. It was an entertaining film and better than most anything I see at the movie theater these days, but the poor casting of Emma Watson and the lack of real talented creative leadership kept it from being a really great film.