One of the most obvious things about the new version of Beauty and the Beast is how offputtingly strange some of the story’s main characters look in “live-action.” Not Emma Watson’s Belle, of course, nor even the CGI Beast voiced by Legion‘s Dan Stevens, although he loses some of the charm of his animated predecessor.
I’m referring to the household servants, each one an anthropomorphized household object who can sing, dance and dispense homespun wisdom to bring our star-crossed lovers together. In the 1990s animated version of the story, they come across as cute and charming; in the more detailed, more realistic contemporary re-telling, there’s something creepy about them. They look too real, and it’s difficult to pull the character out of the object in front of your eyes — where does the clock end and the stuffy-yet-adorable butler begin?
It’s not a problem that Beauty and the Beast has faced alone; last year’s The Jungle Book remake suffered a similar malady, replacing the exaggerated, anthropomorphized animals of the Disney animated take with more photo-realistic designs and losing a lot of the expressiveness in the process. Similarly, a comparison of the non-human characters in the animated and live-action Alice in Wonderland films shows that a lot ends up being lost in the translation between animation and live-action, sacrificed on the altar of… what, exactly? Realism, perhaps, for a story about magical spells and the impossible come to life?
More Details @ The Hollywood Reporter