Beauty and the Beast ★★★

A definite step backwards from last year's bolder, more justifiable remakes of The Jungle Book and Pete's Dragon, but also definitely a cut above the overly reverent Cinderella revamp.

I think the 1991 animated film is next to perfect, so there's only so far they could go wrong here, but some of the changes, which extend the film's running time by half an hour for live action, are baffling. For instance, they take the least developed character from the original film and somehow make less of her with more screentime. Also, the remake faffs on with an origin story for Belle, while the Beast still never gets a real name.

But this is a gorgeous nostalgic pageant of a movie, which gets more than enough right to warrant a night out at the cinema. The songs, especially Gaston and Be Our Guest, are joyous, and the cast are spectacular, especially the leading pair and Luke Evans' magnificent bastard of a villain. I mean, yeah, they may as well have got Antonio Banderas to voice Lumiere for as good as Ewan McGregor's French accent is, but overall, if you're already in the bag for a deeply affectionate remake of a Disney favourite, it will satisfy all comers.

P.S. I miss Kevin Kline in films. He doesn't even get that much to do here as Maurice, but he's great...