I really expected not to love this movie. The CGI in the previews reminded me of Oz the Great and Powerful which I thought was perfectly awful. And Disney's track record with live action adaptations has not IMO been strong. Paired with the fact that I love the animated movie and I love the Broadway version and I expected that the movie would either be "safe" (read: boring) or go completely off the rails (we've seen Maleficent, right? I was a little concerned that Beast would die and Gaston would live), I really thought this movie had no option but sheer and utter disappointment.
Music - All of the most beloved songs are still in the movie, some with adapted lyrics, but the spirit of the Menken/Ashman masterpieces is undisturbed. For the new songs (three, I believe?), Tim Rice did a fantastic job of blending his lyrics to the story and to Alan Menken's beautiful music. The new songs advance the story and fill in backstory simultaneously. A+ on music.
Actors & Actresses - I didn't pay much attention to the cast other than I knew about Emma Watson, but Kevin Kline was genius at Maurice. Emma Thompson, Ian McKellan, and Ewan McGregor were stunning as the household objects. I don't follow much who's who in Hollywood anymore, so I don't remember his name, but the gentlemen who played Gaston and Beast were absolutely fantastic. The only weak spot for me was Olaf as LeFou. I felt like he was overboard silly. Like Josh Gad forgot which move he was filming. Or maybe he's just s silly actor and I just don't care for his style. I felt like at any second he was going to break the fourth wall and start talking to the audience. Overall, A for acting.
Story - There was a lot of verbatim dialog, but it works. There were some small strategic tweaks that made the story more genuine and the backstory elements were just brilliant. Even knowing the ending and not having high expectations, I was captivated from beginning to end. A+ for story.
Costumes - Really beautiful and genuine with one notable exception: Belle's yellow dress. I thought it was a little too much like a sundress. The dress that Belle wears at Enchanted Tales with Belle is that heavy, luxurious crushed velvet and I thought something like that would have fit the occasion better, but in a way I kind of like the lighter, airier dress. I don't hate it; it just wasn't what I expected. The powdered wig addition struck me as slightly odd. Not out of place for the setting, but not previously referenced in other versions of the story that I've seen. A for costuming.
Cinematography - For 90% of the movie, it was great, but there were a few times when I was trying to focus on details in the picture and the camera was panning all over the place or zoomed i too far to keep the scene grounded. I'm going to say B.
CGI - The household objects were tremendously better than I had anticipated from the previews. I was expecting to rate them a D, but they were probably about an A-. The CGI for the final battle scene, however, was just as horrible as I feared. Overall, CGI is a C+ for me.
Overall, I give the film an A. I star true to the original without being an exact carbon copy and the additions make sense and enhance the existing story. It's a very rewatch able movie and I'll be excited to add it to my collection. It reminded me a lot of the remake of Cinderella without the weird lizard-man faux pas.
Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun