Animated Belle vs. Emma Watson Belle? Cartoon Beast vs. computer-generated/Dan Stevens Beast? Character by major character, we compare Disney’s 1991 animated “Beauty and the Beast” against the new live-action/CGI remake (which opens Thursday night):
A real human face — especially Emma Watson’s — conveys so much more emotion than anything animated. Bonus: The new Belle puts her book smarts to use and becomes an inventor.
All that coiffed CGI hair and menacing horns and fangs are actually more distractingly cartoonish than the hand-drawn Beast, who deservedly earned Belle’s love, and ours too.
Whether he’s animated or a live-action Luke Evans, Belle’s muscle-bound suitor is a glorious cartoon — preening, egomaniacal, even hilarious, until his underlying evil is revealed.
Ewan McGregor’s CGI chunk of metal just isn’t brassy enough and doesn’t hold a candle to Jerry Orbach’s debonair original — who (sorry) really lights up a room.
With the voice of Angela Lansbury, the motherly original is as comforting as a warm cup of tea. Not even the great Emma Thompson can pour it on better than that.
Ian McKellen’s ornate CGI clock would make a fine museum piece but shows little personality because he can barely move.
Belle’s absent-minded dad is simply a plot device to send her into the Beast’s castle. But the remake (with Kevin Kline) pads his backstory — and slows down the good stuff. Animated Maurice smartly gets out of the way.
In the original, Gaston’s adoring sidekick is only skin deep. The remake (with Josh Gad) peels back that silly exterior to explain his foolish devotion.