Beautifully shot (by “The Zookeeper’s Wife” director Niki Caro), this live-action film bears little resemblance to the 1998 Disney animated classic, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The uplifting tale is undercut by no shortage of controversy, calls for boycott, and other thorny considerations, but as a stand-alone film, it’s among Disney’s better offerings in recent years—full of memorable characters, gorgeous cinematography, and an empowering message of female strength.

4/5 stars