Beauty and the Beast of Uncanny Valley

The latest of Disney's 'live-action', loving remakes of its animated back catalogue seems even less real than 2016's almost entirely computer generated The Jungle Book, which is saying something.

'Loving' is the word. Bill Condon is trying to pull off a magic trick here: to recapture the look and feel of the Best Film Oscar-nominated animation from 1991, while injecting enough freshness and energy to justify the remake's existence.

On the first point he succeeds (reusing songs, dialogue, settings, camera movements and dancing teacups will do that), but the question of why anyone should watch this instead of the original is never satisfactorily answered.

On the plus side, Emma Watson is terrific and her level-headed intellect shines through in her performance, while Luke Evans' enthusiastically crotch-thrusting Gaston is a real highlight.

Disney's cartoon Beast also bounds triumphantly out of the animator's cell (with Dan Stevens' help), and looks and sounds utterly convincing.

Rather, it is the landscape itself: the trees; the castle; the village and the cosplay costumes which always seem unreal, and fall far short of Jon Favreau's lush jungles of India.

Having said all that, the audience I saw it with spontaneously applauded. Twice.