Sunday 7 August 2011

Today's Review: Beastly

A lot of people have tried to do a take on Beauty And The Beast. Disney, of course, did it with great success, but there have been many other movies and TV shows that have not been so successful. But here we have another, more modern take on that classic fairytale.

Beastly tells the story of Kyle (Alex Pettyfer), a popular, attractive high school student who obviously knows how popular and attractive he is, because he spends his days talking about just how popular and attractive he is. Ugly people, he says, don't get anywhere in life 'cause they're ugly and people hate them. One particular "ugly" person he singles out for humiliation is Kendra, who actually turns out to be not just a goth kid, but a witch (the name's a red flag, obviously). So she puts a curse on Kyle that makes him ugly, and tells him that if he doesn't find someone to love him within a year he'll stay like that forever. Thankfully, after a while of hiding away, he decides to go after Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), a quiet spoken girl who doesn't seem repulsed at the sight of him. Turns out Lindy's dad is a druggie, and a scuffle with some dealers leads Kyle to insist that he protect Lindy by making her stay with him and never letting her outside. Will he get her to love him despite holding her hostage for no apparent reason? Only time will tell.

As premises go, this version of the tale is kind of weak. There's a few too many holes and random things going on, like Kyle's daddy issues with the father that doesn't have time for him, and who basically abandons him once he turns ugly, instead hiring a maid and a blind guy to take care of him. Why? Just because. The blind guy is played by Neil Patrick Harris though, and he's awesome in everything. The main thing I had against this movie from watching the trailer is that apparently in Beastly "ugly" is synonymous with "has tattoos on his face". The witch that Kyle picks on has shit drawn round her eye, and the main characteristics of "beast" Kyle are his baldness and the drawings all over his head. In the movie though, he does have a few scars on his cheeks, so he is slightly more grotesque looking than on the packaging, but I'd hardly call him an elephant man. People would probably be more likely to sympathise with him because it looks like he's been in a nasty accident, perhaps involving a guy who tattooed his face against his will.

Beastly is a very tween movie. It's a classic romance story, with all the awkwardness and misinterpretation of teenage love thrown in. The "will they, won't they" theme is present throughout, and watching the two run around each other will probably get boring even for the Twilight obsessed. There's just not much substance. Where Beauty and The Beast had talking furniture and musical numbers, Beastly has tiny glimpses of social networking sites, and a greenhouse. Thrilling.

In the end it's all a little too predictable. But I won't majorly hold that against the movie, it's based on a fairy tale and aimed at teenagers, there's a certain expectation of how it's going to turn out. So while it's boring, and a little nonsensical at times, Beastly is not a terrible movie. The actors all do quite well in their roles, especially with what they're given to work with, and I didn't feel an overwhelming desire for it all to just be over already. I guess what I can say is that Beastly is not as ugly as it looks on the outside, but it's certainly not beautiful either.

My rating: 3/5

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