The tale as old as time has returned to the big screens in an action and romance packed live action movie -- one of the many that Disney has slated over the next few years. Staring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, the new adaptation brings the magic of the 1991 animated film back to us in a whole new, exciting way.

From the moment the movie begins, the audience is in for a visually mesmerizing experience. The costumes, make-up, and set design are all flawless. From the Beast's castle (both before and after the curse is put upon it by the Enchantress) to the little village that Belle and her father live in, it is clear that there was very much attention put into detail. All of the main actors as well as the extras are dressed to the nines, which may be hard to imagine for lowly villagers. But I found myself wanting a chance to wear even the simplest of dresses.

CGI played a large roll in this film, as expected (unless someone somewhere knows where a dancing candelabra can be found). The most prominent display aside from the characters at the castle, was that during everyone's favorite song, Be Our Guest. I found myself staring at the screen, completely mesmerized by the colorful display that reminded me so much of the classic animated film.

Then, of course, there was the Beast. I was worried about this since CGI becomes so much more obvious when real people are placed next to them. But in the case of the Beast during his interactions with Belle, as well as the objects around the castle, I found myself pleasantly surprised how realistic-looking they all were.

My biggest issues with the movie were the adaptation of Belle's back-story and just how quickly she fell in love with the Beast. Not that I was not always curious what happened to Belle's mother, but I felt that particular part of the story drew focus from the main theme. And as for the romance between Belle and the Beast, it seemed to go straight from pure hatred to outright love very quickly (at least on the Beast's side). There was no time to adjust to the new feelings they felt for each other; the audience just had to suddenly be okay with the fact that Belle no longer hated her captor.

Overall, the movie holds the ability to transport the viewer to provincial France for the whole two-hour duration. Utilizing romance, action, and humor, Bill Condon's rendition of Beauty and the Beast is sure to amaze audiences of all ages. With the help of a brilliant cast, classic songs fans know and love, and fabulous production, BATB can most definitely be considered a cinematic success.

Author's Rating: 4/5 Stars