Well, I awaited a good, long while to see this little gem, and the movie thankfully lived up to my expectations!
I had the tiniest apprehension of what Emma Watson’s voice would sound like while singing Belle’s songs; surprisingly, her voice is extremely clear (clear as a bell is too heavy a pun but accurate), and I preferred it to the singer from the cartoon movie.
Visually, the costumes are the most stunning part of the movie; I don’t know how accurate the clothing is for people in that period and region of the world, but the effect is above and beyond.
A huge surprise to me was how well the enchanted objects were designed. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and the rest are all a delight to watch.
Storywise, we have a tightening of the narrative and fixed plot holes; the cartoon movie left us with a few holes and loose ends that deserve to be answered, and this movie does just that.
Belle’s sense of determination and independence is shown more clearly in this version; Emma Watson made her even more likable as a protagonist.
The minor characters received better characterization, and two minor characters (Maurice and LeFou) were both granted dignity as opposed to being bumbling idiots.
Various supporting characters are given a stronger connection to the story and their potential fate.
The controversy surrounding LeFou is unfounded; his character is enjoyable and comical while not being over-the-top, and (MINOR SPOILER) he has a moment of redemption for all his faults. That, in and of itself, made the movie worth it.
So go see Beauty and the Beast, or wait for it to come out- either way, I completely recommend it.