1. Live Action
The live action movie is almost completely a remake of the 1991 animated feature. This is a good thing, as it is immediately familiar, the characters are instantly accessible, the song and dance numbers are all intact, and the movie is very well presented. As a live action version of the cartoon, it does fantastic and delivers everything nostalgia wants. It does go off the rails in the few instances when it tries to add in a new song or two. This is largely forgivable as the sour note new additions are easily overshadowed by Luke Evans singing Gaston's song, and Be Our Guest.
2. CGI, and CGI Bullshit
There are certain characters who are simply not capable of being practical effects, like Mrs Potts, Lumiere, etc. After the initial shock of the new character designs is realized, their banter and actions ease you into believing they are who they are, and the CGI is acceptable to the suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, Beast is a CGI bukkake fuck up, and for me was eye searing to look at. I have seen some of the test shots for a practical effects (prosthetics and animatronics) and these looked solid, but were crapped on by the director. (Yes, I know people)
The movie looks great, and when the awards season rolls around, it is going to rack up some fancy trophies. None of it will be for acting, but for costume design, special effects, music score, and so forth. Technically, visually, it is a fantastic movie. The costumes are simply gorgeous, from the provincial folk, to the effete nobles of Prince Adam's soiree. The sets of the movie are also superb.
4. Emma Watson
One of the two reasons I wanted to see this movie was Emma Watson. I have a basic-bro infatuation with her, and I am a fan of the 91 animated film. Unfortunately, after the CGI Beast (ugh) Watson is the next worst thing in the movie. For what should be a character vehicle for her, she comes across and stiff and wooden. It makes sense, as most of her scenes are done with minimal human actors, and were filled in post production. It is largely the same phenomenon that plagued Natalie Portman in the Star Wars prequels. A fantastic actor or actress can only do so much with green screen and not actually being able to react to things because they were added later digitally. That being said, while she doesn't really carry Belle's je ne sais quoi, she sticks the singing parts, looks the part, and delivers a good performance.
5. Luke Evans
Luke Evans absolutely owned his role as Gaston. Part of this was embracing a bombastic jerk of a character, plus most of his work with with other actors and not digital creations. The story does play up Gaston as darker and much more of a villain, rather than just basically an alpha dude-bro. He looks the part, he acts the part, and fully believes himself to be the hero of the story.
The movie stirred up some controversy with LeFou being the first openly gay character in a Disney movie. I thing this is something of a dramatically overplayed hand because if you watched the 91 cartoon, it was fairly obvious that he was gay in that movie also, but more buffoonish. In the new movie he channels a young Oliver Platt and is charming, goofish, and gay. On the other hand, the protests against the movie for this reason are frankly ridiculous because despite the headline of first openly gay Disney character, there is zero sexual tension, no sweat man-ass pounding, and the banter between LeFou and Gaston is fun and camp.
While enjoyable, the movie was not engrossing, and I was able to find windows to throw goof commentary in. Most of this revolved around either Watson's work as Hermonie Grainger (Wandering through the Beast's castle, or the forbidden West Wing ~ Shit, this isn't Hogarts.) or around the fact that a largely British cast was performing a traditional French fairy tale. One scene showed Belle teaching a young girl of the village to read (the villagers negative response is basically a stand in for the women's rights movement) and my commentary revolved around asking why in provincial France Belle was teaching the girls how to read English.
Overall, a highly enjoyable movie. If you liked the 91 animated film, this is true to the spirit and look of the original. If you disliked the original, then the live action is probably not going to be an improvement.