( CNN) “Beauty and the Beast” became the centerpiece of Disney’s animation renaissance, and the first animated film to secure an Oscar nomination for best picture. A quarter-century later, the live-action version sumptuously holds up to that legacy, finely expanding upon and updating the original in tremendously crowd-pleasing fashion.
Visually speaking , not everything is perfection, from the design of the Beast himself( “Downton Abbey’s” Dan Stevens) to the revised computer-generated look of certain members of his menagerie of maids, voiced by the likes of Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson and Audra McDonald.
For the most part, though, the action hummings along, instilling renewed emotional heft in the film’s last act. And while “The Jungle Book” was already a major reach, this “Beast” looks destined to dwarf those returns, with parents weaned on the story likely to eagerly share it with their kids.