Disney’s newest live-action remake, “Beauty and the Beast”, is a magical, comical, and nostalgic musical with a top-notch ensemble cast, beautiful production design, and a soundtrack that’s everything you could hope for. This adaptation feels both old and new and is well worth a watch for all audiences, especially fans of the original.

You likely already know the story, but here’s a refresher. A young prince’s selfish and arrogant nature gets the best of him, so a magical enchantress transforms him into a terrifying Beast that must find love before the spell can be reversed. Belle (Emma Watson) is a beautiful, smart, kind-hearted local girl in a nearby village who is looking for something more in her life. When the Beast takes Belle’s father prisoner, she trades places with him, forever to be trapped in the Beast’s castle. Overtime Belle begins to see something special in the Beast, who attempts to overcome his nature by reciprocating her kindness, which those native to the castle hope will ultimately break the spell.

When I think of my favorite childhood movies, Disney’s animated films are at the top of my list. “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, “Peter Pan”, and “Robin Hood” come to mind as my favorites, with other classics like “Cinderella” and “The Beauty and the Beast” not far behind. Needless to say, I was excited when Disney started doing live action versions of these popular fairy tales, and I’m happy to say that this “Beauty and the Beast” falls right in line with other solid, fresh adaptations like “Cinderella” and “The Jungle Book”.

This version of “Beauty and the Beast” is very much like the animated version, but with a few changes. Classic songs like “Belle”, “Be Our Guest”, and “Beauty and the Beast” still exist, either in their original form or with a modern twist that often uses the new cast. There are also several new songs as well. One of my favorite aspects of musicals is getting to see how well the actors can sing. Emma Watson steals the show in more ways than one, with others like Luke Evans, Josh Gad, and Emma Thompson not far behind.

At the time, I didn’t think too much of it, but there has been some controversy over a certain character that is portrayed as a homosexual in the film. With this being the first openly homosexual character in a Disney movie, there has been some criticism of the film to the point where certain countries and theaters have threatened to not show the movie or at least demand a more censored version. Whether a younger viewer could pick up on this in the film and if it’s something they should see will be up to the parent’s discretion. There are a few darker parts to this film as well that may frighten smaller kids.

While most are praising this film, others have gone as far as to say that it is an uninspired, lazy recreation that only serves to make money. Remakes are never going to be perfect and there are some smaller issues that I feel like I could nitpick at, but overall it truly feels like a spot-on adaptation of the popular tale that many grew up watching. It looks great, sounds even better, has a stellar cast, and stays mostly faithful to the animated version. Audiences will likely be out in large numbers this weekend so hurry to see this film.

4 out of 5 stars.

“Beauty and the Beast” is rated PG for some action violence, peril, and frightening images. Running time is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance writer, photographer/videographer, and filmmaker in Dallas, TX. You can find more of his work on Selig Film News. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and when he is not reviewing movies, Hayden works in film production. Don't like what he has to say? Let him know at hpittman87@gmail.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @HPMoviePitt. Enjoy the movies!