SPOILERS!! ---------- ----------
I saw the original classics of the era - Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, etc - so I was interested in seeing what this live-action could do with the story. Here, Disney attempts to remake their own animated version of Beauty and the Beast (BnB), but for various reasons, it falls far short of the classic animated version much like Rogue One fell far short of being a great Star Wars movie.
1) The songs suck.
One of the most glaring examples is when the Beast pines for Belle, and sings his song while climbing up the tower stairs. Something along the lines of 'I'm climbing these stairs, then looking out the open window.' This is repeated over and over as if we're to sing along to the line or be excited by it. Nope, complete fail.
The songs lack the vocal power of the original ones, failing mostly to inspire or make one tap one's feet. No humming along to this movie - it's dead on arrival.
2) The actors do not shine in their roles, sometimes, because the aura around them is too strong from past movies, sometimes, they simply are too generic for the role.
For example, Belle's dad is far too generic. One of those characters you look at and forget right away, even after the whole movie was seen.
The mysterious enchantress that enters in the beginning is nowhere near a Maleficent or Snow White Witch - she looks like some generic female that walked in, cursed the Beast, and you promptly forget.
Others like Gaston (still think he's from Fast and Furious), Watson (her performance here is dead, unlike her more moving Potter performances), etc. have the problem of being mismatched for the roles.
3) Really bad scriptwriting.
You've got lines with characters suddenly mentioning things out of the blue, unmotivated. eg. Dad parks his horse, says 'oh, there's water and hay.' Huh? Why? What does that add? Nothing. It would have been far better for him to park the horse and cut to next scene.
4) Movies should be something one can understand with the sound off, but there are many examples of things that don't make sense, and characters breaking out of their roles.
eg. If Gaston is really the battle hero he is, then why is he afraid of a few wolves in the forest? He's got a gun, guts, and strength, so why not just charge in and save the day? Okay, so he's played as a guy who is all show and no real guts in this movie in this scene, but later, he's crazy enough to shoot the Beast several times, jump across big gaps, etc.
eg. The Beast is supposed to be a BEAST, but he takes a few bites from attacking wolves and collapses, out of energy after the attack, wiped out. Yet, in the end, he takes multiple gun shots from Gaston before finally collapsing.
eg. Belle falls in Love with the Beast after a few scenes of them reading books, and he lets her go to save her dad. Huh?? Are girls really that Easy?? There's no motivation at all for a real girl to fall in love with the Beast after a few days in captivity, so it's unbelievable based on how it is shown.
4) A lot of the fun, the connection, the relationship between Belle and the household items are lost.
The animation had the interplay between them which you could see and feel, eventually building up a very strong connection between Belle and each of the items, like the teacup, the candle holder, etc. In this movie, it was more of a show and tell - Belle sits back, things are shown to her, and..that's it. Moving on, much like a Disney Fantasy ride - you see interesting displays, but no connection. Same for the horse and Belle. In the animation, you can see the horse reacting to the scary forest, setting up an undertone of fear and worry as they enter the dark forest. But in this movie, none of that - it's simply a 'machine' that she hops on, and it takes her to and from the Beast's home.
5) The lighting is uneven. There are places where it's really good and you can see the characters well-defined, then other places where it's just tough to see Belle and the surroundings (like the prison her dad was kept in and just outside that). This is a far cry from Potter where you can see inside the dimly lit school, but there's definition and more clarity to the details. Here, it simply goes black to dark gray and there's nothing there to add to the scene.
6) Too many competing messages and periods.
You've got Belle implying she doesn't need/want to get married in the beginning, then wanting to stay forever with the Beast in a few days. Yet, they look like they're living in the old ages, before the 20th century.
You've got Gaston with a gun, yet when the town attacks the Beast, most don't have a gun?! Are we in the swords and stone age, or gun age?
You've got lots of white characters, then, the mandatory politically correct insertion of a black female here and there.
You've got Belle saying 'I'm not normal' (ie. I'm not the usual cute girl that gets married young, has kids, etc), ie. smart and educated. Yet, that scene has her bending forward towards the camera many times to show her cleavage in an attempt to sexualize her despite her small breasts.
In the end, not worth a full-price movie ticket to see it in the theater. A DVD rental at most, fast-forwarded through the dull, slow scenes for sure.