Critics' first reactions to Disney's Beauty and the Beast are mixed

It’s not long until audiences get to see the anticipated animation-to-live-action adaptation of Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’; with the critics releasing their verdicts on the film.

Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

There’s still almost two weeks to go until it hits cinemas, but there’s already been a number of screenings in and around London, giving reviewers plenty of food for thought.

The Hollywood Reporter generally liked it, saying: “Filmed refreshingly straight, in a series of wide, stable shots that eschew the fidgety editing of most pop videos in favor of an old-fashioned, MGM-style proscenium space, it’s a delicious moment, traditional in all the right ways.”

Yet they also seemed sceptical that those associated with singing credits had significant help from auto-tuning.

The Independent gave the film 3/5, saying: “The new version has some of the same resonance found in the original animated movie. The familiar ingredients are all here. On a visual level, the film is just as enchanting as you would expect with lots of snowscapes, gold flakes and images of rose petals.”

While the review was generally positive, it did make a note of how it has its fair share of problems: “Overall, though, this feels more like a re-tread than a re-invention of the first Disney film. It’s certainly not a beast of a movie but it’s not a beauty either.”

Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

The Telegraph’s Tim Robey spoke more favourably about the adaptation, offering up a 4-star review. “It hardly needs saying that this is not a film for cynics, or anyone with the remotest Disney allergy, or anyone hostile to the whole idea of jukebox revamps,” he said.

He also cites how Emma Watson’s take on Belle is hit and miss, saying “there’s a lack of confidence in her gait – she sometimes seems to be hitting marks obediently rather than owning each moment. But she’s good: that girl-next-door winsomeness and a sweet, clear singing voice see her through.”

The BBC’s critic weren’t impressed, giving the film 2 stars, concluding that it didn’t really need to be made;

“…while the new film isn’t terrible, it’s difficult to see what the point of it is as long as the cartoon exists. Beauty and the Beast is simply a cover version of a chart-topping song, played with such anonymous competence that Condon’s motto must have been, “It ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Another motto might have been better: “If it ain’t broke, don’t remake it.”

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave it a slightly more favourable write up, awarding it 3/5. His semi-positive summary describes how unimpressed he was with Beast and how it’ll find its audience over time: “Somehow the handsome face is more boring and insubstantial than the great big animal face in which we’ve been encouraged to find something adorable. But it’s an efficient BATB, machine-tooled for sweetness, with flashes of fun, destined to be the centrepiece of a million teen sleepovers.”

Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

Currently, the film is on a 73% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with 32 reviews praising it as fresh, as opposed to 12 that deemed it rotten.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast. The all-star cast includes Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou; with Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and Stanley Tucci making up the impressive support.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ is in UK cinemas from 17 March.

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