THE NEW GAMING LAPTOP 2017

With the updated Eon17-SLX, Origin PC didn’t just throw caution to the wind — it mulched and pulverized it first. Thanks to Nvidia’s new Pascal GPUs, the company is refreshing its already awesome line of notebooks with the 10 Series branch. The $2,650 base model in this series starts with an overclocked Intel Core i7 processor, a 4K display and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU.

But I didn’t review the base model. I had a rip-roaring time with a $4,708 laptop outfitted with an overclocked 4.5-GHz Core i7, desktop CPU; a stunning 4K Nvidia G-Sync display; a crazy-fast pair of PCI-e solid-state drives; and two VR-ready, extremely powerful GTX 1080 GPUs. My resulting time with the souped-up behemoth was full of speedy game launches, inordinately high frame rates and smooth VR experiences. The only slight downside was the incredibly short battery life. Overall, using the Eon17-SLX was a blast, and you should experience this machine if you can spend the money.

Design

The Eon17-SLX 10 Series lorded over my desk with its sleek yet imposing frame. The black plastic lid is free of adornment, save for the white Origin PC logo in the center and the pair of lights accentuating the notebook’s otherwise subtle lines.

The lights pulse enticingly with the promise of unfettered power.

When lit, they pulse enticingly with the promise of unfettered power. The rear vents feature a stylish honeycomb pattern that, when paired with the laptop’s overall size, evokes visions of a futuristic tank.

Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 designAs always, Origin PC offers myriad ways to customize a laptop from top to bottom, including a choice between a $225 metallic lid (seven color choices), a $299 paint job (eight pattern options) or a $200 custom paint job.

MORE: Best VR-Ready Gaming PCs

Other than the backlit keyboard glowing with anticipation, the interior is rather plain. The power button sits at the top of the smooth, black deck, nestled between status lights. The palm rest is spacious and home to a rather large touchpad.

Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 Series designAlong the right side of the laptop, you’ll find a single USB 3.0 port with a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, two mini DisplayPorts, an SD card reader and a secure lock slot. Three USB 3.0 ports sit on the left, along with two Gigabit Ethernet ports and jacks for headphones, microphone, S/PDIF and an amp.

Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 Series portsBecause it weighs a hernia-inducing 12.8 pounds, you’ll want to lift the 17 x 12 x 1.9-inch Eon17-SLX with your knees. It almost made fellow giants like the MSI GT83VR Titan SLI (11.6 pounds, 18 x 13.3 x 1.7~2.7 inches), Acer Predator 17 X (10 pounds, 16.7 x 12.7 x 1.8 inches) and Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition (8.9 pounds, 16.4 x 12.7 x 0.8~1.5 inches) seem light by comparison.

Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 Series power brickSimilar to the Titan SLI, the Eon17-SLX also relies on a power-adapter dongle to connect its two 2.6-pound power bricks, bringing the Eon17-SLX’s weight to a whopping 18 pounds.

Display

The Eon17-SLX’s 3840 x 2160 (4K) display is a font of color and detail. When watching the Fences trailer on the 17.3-inch matte screen, I marveled at how the ruddy red-brick wall behind actress Viola Davis enhanced the richness of her mahogany skin and the deep green of the errant plants in the background. Details were crisp enough that I could see the various fissures and pockmarks in the old cement holding the bricks in place.

The detail in the 4K panel was so sharp that I could see the stitching in the pair of scabbards strung across Geralt’s back.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looked absolutely resplendent. The detail in the 4K panel was so sharp that I could see the stitching in the pair of scabbards strung across Geralt’s back. As I rode into town, I saw a lake and stopped long enough to admire the cerulean liquid and the wispy fog floating above as the sky slowly transformed from a deep blush pink to a piercing crystal blue.

Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 Series displayThe colors, man — the colors! The Eon17-SLX’s panel can reproduce a ridiculous 177 percent of the sRGB color gamut (100 percent is considered excellent), destroying the 128 percent desktop-replacement average. The G752VS (114 percent), Predator 17 X (112 percent) and Titan SLI (111 percent) paled by comparison.

When we measured the color accuracy, the Eon17-SLX’s display hit 1 (0 is ideal), beating the 1.3 average as well as the Titan SLI (1.3) and the Predator 17 X (1.1). However, it couldn’t overcome the G752VS’ score of 0.88.

The Eon17-SLX’s panel served up a dazzling 335 nits on our brightness test, casting a shadow over the 296-nit category average. The G752VS wasn’t too far behind, at 326 nits, while the Predator 17 X and Titan SLI produced 288 and 275 nits, respectively.

G-Sync: Now in 4K

The Eon17-SLX is one of the first gaming laptops Laptop Mag has tested that has a 4K panel that supports Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. In a nutshell, the technology syncs up the laptop’s display rate with the graphics card, essentially placing a frame cap that matches the panel limit. That makes for near-instant rendering in both full-screen and windowed modes, thus eliminating any tears, and leaving smooth images and happy gamers.

Audio

The combination of Creative’s Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5 software and the Eon17-SLX’s speakers and subwoofer is like having a symphony in a box as I traversed the land of The Witcher 3. Haunting, melancholy strings were my near-constant companions as I explored the game, at times giving way to birds chirping or the ominous screeching of a nearby monster.

The combination of Creative’s Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5 software and the Eon17-SLX’s speakers and subwoofer is like having a symphony in a box.

Jill Scott’s sultry alto on “Fools Gold” was buoyed by a harp and pulsing bass line from speakers that filled our lab with loud, clear and spacious audio. Out of the eight audio profiles (Voice, Music, Adventure, Action, Driving Simulation, Real Time Strategy, First Person Shooter and Movie), I found that Adventure gave me the best performance for gaming and multimedia purposes.

Keyboard, Touchpad and Fingerprint Reader

Unlike most gaming laptops, the Eon17-SLX has a traditional keyboard where the keys touch, but the raised key caps give the illusion of space. Despite the keys’ excellent 2 millimeters of travel, the 50 grams of actuation force required made for a less-responsive typing experience than I would have liked. Still, I hit my 65-word-per-minute average with little fuss on the 10fastfingers.com typing test.

Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 Series keyboardIt wouldn’t be a gaming laptop without some customizable backlighting. Origin PC’s GameFeet software allows you to assign colors to the four designated zones on the laptop, but it’s a bit rudimentary. You simply pick a zone, a color and one of the eight effects, and you’re good to go. GameFeet also can be used to record macros and keystrokes. Razer’s Synapse software lets you customize every single key on the keyboard with a macro. As far as lighting, Razer allows you to paint with all the colors of the wind and then some, offering a whopping 16.8 million hues and several spellbinding effects.

Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 touchpadThe 4.2 x 2.4-inch touchpad responded fluidly to all of my taps, swipes and scrolls, while the pair of discrete mouse keys delivered bouncy feedback. Instead of banishing the fingerprint reader to some far-flung corner of the laptop, Origin PC integrated it into the upper-left corner of the touchpad. Although my fingers kept hitting the scanner, it never launched its accompanying software unless I deliberately performed a downward swipe over it.

Graphics, Gaming and VR

Origin PC crams not one, but two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs in SLI configuration — each packing a massive 8GB of VRAM — into this machine. That extra power translates into some smoking frame rates on traditional games, with the added fun of being VR-ready.

Speaking of virtual reality, when we ran the Steam VR performance test, the Eon17-SLX went full-on Spinal Tap, notching an 11. That beats the Predator 17 X and the gaming laptop average (8.1). The G752VS pulled down 10.5, while the Titan SLI delivered 10.1. That places the Eon17-SLX in the Very High quadrant of the test, which means this beast can take whatever your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive throws at it.

While exploring the ruins of what I thought was an abandoned settlement in The Witcher 3, I encountered a group of bandits. Unsheathing my steel sword, I quickly went to work, whittling down the crowd. I rushed the archer, dispatching him with a few quick strikes. Geralt’s Nvidia HairWorks-treated locks whipped realistically around his face, at a stutter-free 81 fps on Ultra at 3840 x 2160.

On the Grand Theft Auto V test, the Eon17-SLX hit a monstrous 121 fps, shattering the 91-fps average.

When we ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Very High at 1080p), the Eon17-SLX hit 81 fps, blowing past the 57-fps category average. Equipped with its own pair of Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs, the Titan SLI netted 72 fps, while the G752VS and its single Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU notched 52 fps.

On the Grand Theft Auto V test, the Eon17-SLX hit a monstrous 121 fps, shattering the 91-fps average. The Titan SLI hit 111 fps, and the G752VS trailed at 69 fps. During the Hitman benchmark, the Eon17-SLX notched 103 fps, beating the 81-fps average as well as the G752VS (89 fps) and the Titan SLI (82 fps).

Performance

What better way to go full-on ridiculous with a gaming laptop than by adding a desktop processor? Similar to its predecessor, the updated Eon17-SLX is equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU with 16GB of RAM. Oh, and don’t bother overclocking it, because Origin PC already did it for you, boosting the clock speed to a crazy 4.5 GHz. Spreadsheets, videos, documents and images should beware. I watched an episode of Black Butler while running a full system scan with 20 open Google Chrome tabs with nary a stutter.

The Eon17-SLX notched 17,994 on the synthetic performance test, Geekbench 3, just barely beating the 17,861 desktop-replacement average. Keep in mind that we’ve tested several notebooks with desktop processors, which have raised the average way above normal. The Intel Core i7-6820HK CPU-equipped G752VS Titan SLI and Predator 17 X scored 15,563, 14,765 and 13,763, respectively.

MORE: The Best Gaming Laptops

On the File Transfer test, the Eon17-SLX’s dual 256GB NVMe PCI-e M.2 SSDs duplicated 4.97GB of mixed media files in 12 seconds, for a rate of 424.1 megabytes per second, missing the 552.6-MBps category average. Equipped with a 512GB PCI-e SSD and dual 256GB SSDs, the Titan SLI and Predator 17 X were in a dead heat at 727 MBps. The G752VS’ lone 256GB PCI-e M.2 SSD was the clear winner, at 848.2 MBps.

However, the Eon17-SLX netted itself a small measure of revenge on the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test. It paired 20,000 names and addresses in 3 minutes and 9 seconds, beating the 3:28 category average. The Predator 17 X, Titan SLI and G752VS were slower, at 3:35, 3:26 and 3:23, respectively.

Battery Life

An overclocked CPU, a pair of powerful GPUs and a G-Sync display are the ingredients for laughably poor battery life. The Eon17-SLX lasted only 1 hour and 25 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi).

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

That’s far below the 4:27 desktop-replacement average. The Titan SLI, with its similar setup, didn’t do much better, at 1:54. The Predator 17 X lasted 3:13, while the G752VS finished at 3:42.

Heat

The speakers on the Eon17-SLX are loud, but its fans might give them a run for their money. When I started playing The Witcher 3, the fans roared into life almost immediately. It’s not so bad when you’ve got the speakers cranked up, but drop the audio down to about 50 percent, and it becomes a distraction.

Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 portsThe fans do keep the system relatively cool, though. After 15 minutes of gameplay, the touchpad measured 84 degrees Fahrenheit, while the touchpad hit 93 degrees. The bottom vents, however, blew a hot 130 degrees, which is above our 95-degree comfort threshold.

Strangely, certain areas on the Eon17-SLX were hotter during nongaming activities, like streaming a 1080p YouTube video. The touchpad and space between the G and H keys measured 91 and 95 degrees, respectively, while the bottom reached 103 degrees.

Webcam

The 1920 x 1080 integrated webcam on the Eon17-SLX is pretty darned color accurate, capturing the exact shade of my rust-red shirt and charcoal-gray jacket. The details, while somewhat fuzzy, were good enough to see the folds in my jacket and some stray hairs sticking out of my locks.

Software and Warranty

Like any good gaming laptop, the Eon17-SLX is joyfully light on bloatware. Outside of your usual Windows 10 apps, most of the third-party apps are focused on refining your gaming experience.

Nvidia GeForce Experience, for example, is a cache of apps that can optimize your system settings to get the best frame rate while you’re gaming, boost your battery or broadcast your gaming prowess to the world at large. Killer Network allows you to quickly assess your networking speeds and activity, while DataColor’s Spyder4Elite software color-calibrates your display.

Netflix and Twitter are also preloaded onto the system.

The Origin PC Eon17-SLX comes with a one-year part-replacement warranty with 24/7 U.S.-based support and lifetime free labor.

Configurations

My version of the Eon17-SLX costs $4,708 and comes loaded up with an overclocked 4.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6700K processor with 16GB of RAM; dual 256GB NVMe PCI-e M.2 SSDs with a 1TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive; a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs with 8GB of VRAM each; and a 4K Nvidia G-Sync display.

The $2,650 base model features a 3.2-GHz Intel Core i5-6500 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 120GB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU and a 4K Nvidia G-Sync panel.

Bottom Line

Any way you slice it, the Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 Series is a hell of a gaming laptop. For $4,708, you get an absolute beast of a machine that will tear through any activity you throw at it — even virtual reality. While the performance quotient is impressive, the 4K Nvidia G-Sync display is an experience in and of itself — one that, unfortunately, many PC gamers will miss due to the price.

Although it lacks dual GPUs and a gorgeous 4K display, the $2,499 Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition can give you a small taste of paradise. The $2,650 base model of the Eon17-SLX is also an option; it also features a desktop CPU and the 4K panel. You’ll just have to settle for a single GTX 1070 GPU. Overall, the Eon17-SLX 10 Series is one of the VR-ready gaming laptops to beat.

Playstation 4 Pro Released!!

Closing in on 50 million units sold, it’s safe to say Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been a huge success, significantly outpacing its closest competition, Microsoft’s Xbox One.

But just three years since its debut, Sony has released a hardware step-up model of the PS4, aptly called the PlayStation 4 Pro. As you can guess by the name, this isn’t the PlayStation 5. It’s fully compatible with all of the existing games, apps and nearly all the PS4 accessories currently on the market (or in your personal collection). The new model hit stores on November 10 for $399 in the US, £349 in the UK and AU$559 in Australia.

But the PS4 Pro promises to deliver better, smoother graphics than its predecessor. You’ll only get that graphical upgrade on games with a free downloadable software patch installed. The most noticeable improvements will also likely require TVs with support for 4K resolutions and HDR, the high contrast mode that can offer bright whites and more gradated blacks.

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The PlayStation 4 Pro is being labeled as a step-up model, and is not a PlayStation 5.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For console gamers who have always looked with envy upon a $3,000-plus PC gaming rig with daisy-chained video cards running games at super-high resolutions, it’s certainly a compelling upsell. But — spoiler alert — the PS4 Pro didn’t leave my jaw dropped. In fact, I often struggled to see any discernible difference between the same games on a Pro and a regular PS4 when played side by side on nearly identical 4K TVs. Out of the gate there only a limited number of titles that are noticeably improved.

So what, exactly, does that mean in terms of a buying recommendation? The short answer is this:

  • If you already have a PlayStation 4, there’s little reason — so far — to upgrade to the Pro. But…
  • If you’re buying a PlayStation 4 for the first time, the Pro is a solid investment, if only for its larger 1TB hard drive and some promising new Pro-enhanced games coming in 2017 and beyond. But…
  • If you’re looking to take the PS4 plunge for the first time and you don’t have a 4K/HDR TV now — and have no plans to buy one in the near future — save some money and get the PS4 Slim, which also includes at least one game.
  • There are plenty of PS4 holiday shopping deals for the Slim and the Pro, making this the best time to buy either model. The same goes for the Xbox One S, which now competes with the PS4 better than ever before. (Check out related Xbox One holiday shopping deals.)

Update, November 21, 2016: Added more impressions of PS4 Pro games and ratings, and acknowledgment that some games have been found to run worse in their enhanced Pro versions.

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There just aren’t enough games that take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s specs, yet.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What’s new and different about the PS4 Pro

The PlayStation 4 Pro is essentially a PS4 with better hardware inside that’s designed to improve the performance and visuals beyond what’s currently possible on a standard PS4. Not every PS4 game can take advantage of the Pro, but it will play any PS4 game you throw at it.

A regular PS4 game will need a downloadable patch to support the PS4 Pro’s upgrades, but it’s still unclear what exactly each patch will provide. For any given title, a Pro update will bring some or all of the following enhancements: better frame rates, higher output resolution, better textures and HDR support. That latter feature, however, is also available on the non-Pro PS4 consoles following a September software update. Judging from the updates we’ve seen so far, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason in regard to which games get what.

Only a small number of games with Pro patches were live for us before review time, but Sony promises that 30-plus games will have Pro patches at launch, totaling 45 by the end of 2016. Starting next year with games such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Days Gone and Mass Effect Andromeda, you’ll start to see a “PS4 Pro Enhanced” badge on the box art of games that have Pro support already built in. Sony says that almost every game released on PS4 from here on out can have Pro perks.

Thankfully, the Pro brings back the optical audio port that the Slim omitted while adding an extra USB port around back. Like the Slim, the Pro also supports the fastest Wi-Fi protocols (802.11ac), and it also has dual-band support (it can use both a 2.4GHz or 5GHz signal).

Sony has confirmed that the console makes use of the SATA-III specification too, which theoretically means you could install a solid-state drive to take advantage of quicker read times. (Although all PS4s support user-upgradeable storage with standard 2.5-inch drives.)

We’re testing that out separately and will report on what we find. Either way, it’s good to know anyone can still swap out the stock drive for a new one.

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The PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro side by side.

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Other exclusive features

The PS4 Pro will launch with Netflix support at 4K resolution in addition to a YouTube app with 4K and HDR compatibility. More apps will open up support for 4K and HDR features as the platform matures.

Also exclusive to the PS4 Pro is improved bandwidth for the Remote Play and Share Play options, which let you stream gameplay over the internet. Both modes will be able to share, stream and play at 1080p, which is a bump up from the standard PS4’s 720p cap.

Of course I need to bring up the most glaring of missing features: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback. For whatever reason, the PS4 Pro cannot play these discs (unlike the Xbox One S). Standard Blu-rays will be upscaled to fit 4K screens, however.

The technical gap

One of the big frustrations of my initial experience with PS4 Pro-compatible games was trying to manage my expectations. That’s because Sony’s labelling of which games support which video upgrade is vague at best.

By looking at a title’s version history from the PS4 menu, you can get a tiny bit of insight as to what’s been added. For instance, The Last of Us: Remastered says the latest version offers “PS4 Pro Support,” but Shadow of Mordor simply states “4K Support.”

There’s an inconsistency here that’s tough to follow, not to mention I don’t know if 4K really means what you might think it means. On Sony’s PS4 Pro site, a disclaimer reads that the console offers “dynamic 4K” which means, as it explains with a footnote, “Dynamic 4K gaming outputted by graphic rendering or upscaled to 4K resolution.”

I’m not sure that means native 4K (3,840×2,160-pixel resolution), which is four times what you can get from a “standard” HDTV’s 1,920×1080 resolution. Considering that PCs with much more impressive hardware than the PS4 Pro can struggle to even reach native 4K at 30 frames per second (the absolute minimum required for smooth gameplay or video), it may seem hard to believe the PS4 Pro can output such a technically demanding video signal without some serious compromises. Well, it doesn’t.

Indeed, the Pro uses some common tricks of the trade, including anti-aliasing, checkerboard rendering and geometry rendering. Effectively, that means that the games have horizontal resolutions such as 1728p, 1800p or 1952p. Then the games upscale to 2160p as needed, all the while balancing graphical sharpness with the all-important frame rate. (Indeed, this same upscaling technique is also widely used in the last generation of game consoles, too.)

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST MOVIE 2017 IS RELEASE!!

Director: Bill Condon. Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline. PG cert, 129 mins

Twenty six years ago – yes, yikes – Beauty and the Beast rolled out the red carpet for a second golden age of Disney. It was the first animated film ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and won, quite rightly, for Alan Menken’s score and one of the three nominated songs.

It’s the music that makes it particularly special, and appreciating that is entirely the point of the live-action remake. It’s hard to imagine a case for this film’s existence without the songs – without, say, that five-note “Tale as Old as Time” motif, which rivals the one from Close Encounters of the Third Kind as a call-sign for a entire shared past of filmgoing.

Easily the best move of Bill Condon’s generous update is to grasp the nettle and make an out-an-out, bells-and-whistles musical: something none of Disney’s other refurbishments of its back catalogue lately, from Maleficent through Cinderella and The Jungle Book, have quite had the gumption to attempt.

Menken’s score, and the evergreen lyrics of Howard Ashman – the genius of his art who died before he could even see the original film – are the pulse, the purpose and headline draw.

Not that the design team, headed by the Atonement duo Sarah Greenwood (sets) and Jacqueline Durran (costumes, including that yellow one) have taken a back seat. The Beast’s castle is a triumph – a gnarled, craggy seat of foreboding, with acres of winter garden laid out before it like some frozen-over Versailles. Inside, it’s a darkly sumptuous Gothic dream, with Belle’s bedchamber fit for Marie-Antoinette, and the library… well, just you wait.

What’s changed? A running time that’s 45 minutes longer than before allows scope for expansion, including three new Menken songs, which hit character beats and fill in backstory elegantly enough: he’s not trying to bowl us over with these. A prologue now tells us of the Prince (a powdered Dan Stevens, formerly of Downton Abbey), the curse, and the red rose with its dropping petals; there’s more later on Belle’s dead mama, and a deeper relationship with her dad (Kevin Kline), too.

Dan Stevens and Emma Watson
Dan Stevens and Emma Watson

But the core of the story is blissfully intact. It’s fitting, for a tale about gradually discovering inner beauty, that the Beast is tricky to know at first: withheld from our sympathy, hard to recognise as Stevens through the digital fur.

Scene by scene, the film takes its time with him, and we get the hang of the character at the same pace that Belle does. Once he’s belting out baritone laments from the blackened eyries of his home, we’ve understood his soul.

Emma Watson isn’t a flawless Belle. However overawed the character should be by her surroundings, there’s a lack of confidence in her gait – she sometimes seems to be hitting marks obediently rather than owning each moment. But she’s good: that girl-next-door winsomeness and a sweet, clear singing voice see her through.

Emma Watson as Belle
Emma Watson as Belle

She’s ideal in close-up, a charming reactor in that trickiest aspect of her craft – feigning delight at dancing crockery. Perhaps Harry Potter gave her an inside track at doing this so well.

And what a makeover the contents of the castle’s scullery have received. The biggest names in the cast line up to do their bit: you might consider Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson vastly overqualified to be voicing a grumpy old mantel clock and a chirpy tea pot respectively, but once you’ve heard their interpretations, you wouldn’t want anyone else having a go.

Lumiere and Cogsworth
Lumiere and Cogsworth

Resurrecting some of his Moulin Rouge! va-va-voom, Ewan McGregor is especially delightful as Lumière, the affable candlestick-MC. Menken-Ashman’s Be Our Guest, in Condon’s hands, flings out a show-stopping kaleidoscope of state-of-the-art dazzlement, with perfect licence to get as trippy as it damn well chooses. It even tops the original – talk about throwing in everything and the kitchen sink.

Back in the village, everything’s similarly and satisfyingly familiar – well, except maybe that doting lickspittle of the hunter Gaston, LeFou (Josh Gad), who has been reimagined as a slightly gross and obvious closet case. Much has been made of Disney’s first “overtly gay” gesture in the ballroom-dance finale, but this lasts a fraction of a second – hardly enough to redeem the non-progressive, smirked-at stereotype we otherwise get throughout.

Josh Gad and Luke Evans 
Josh Gad and Luke Evans

Still, Luke Evans is utterly perfect as Gaston – malignly virile, a camp narcissist in all the right ways, and a paragon of macho bigotry whose sway over the townsfolk has real weight in the third act. His signature song is naturally Gad and Evans’s showpiece, and it clicks whatever your qualms.

After all, it’s scientifically impossible to hear Ashman’s “I use antlers in all of my DECORATING!” without wanting to hand the whole sequence a bouquet. Or, ahem, sorry, a manly handshake. (Gaston’s own sexuality remains, shall we say, a lively debating point.)