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A movie directed by Daniel Barnz

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A Tale As Old As Time...Beauty and The "Beastly" For a Modern Age....

  • Mar 6, 2011
Every now and then I allow myself to be dragged into seeing a movie that I normally wouldn’t even see unless it was on video. Well, since I haven’t seen any reviews for “Beastly” in Movie Hype (during the time of this review), I allowed myself to get dragged into the theaters to see this film. I’ve always said that “seeing a bad movie is something one needs to experience; that way, one can see what is the difference between a really bad movie and a mediocre one”. It was with this mindset that I went to see director/writer Daniel Barnz’s “Beastly”.

Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer, I Am Number Four) is a rich and handsome young man who thinks looks are everything and it is necessary to achieve your desires. He is such an arrogant young man and as such, he unknowingly offends a young witch named Kendra (Mary Kate Olsen). Kyle soon finds himself transformed into a grotesque-looking human being, and now he must find a way to change his feelings and character; as he has only a year to find a woman who would fall in love with him. His only hope lies in Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), a kindly young woman who has her own issues with her family, but can she even fall in love with him before a year is up?

                            Alex Pettyfer as Kyle and Vanessa Hudgens as Linda in "Beastly."

                           Alex Pettyfer as Hunter and Neil Patrick Harris as Will in "Beastly."

I guess this film has “Beauty and the Beast” written all over it, and based on the supernatural-romance novel of the same name by Alex Finn, it goes to be one of those films for teens, hopeless romantics and it has crowd-pleasing devices that prove very commercial. It is a re-telling of the classic story that takes the premise to this modern age. I’ve always had an issue whenever a fairy tale gets to be given the modern age treatment since I’ve always seen these materials as a product of its generation. Truth be told, the original “Beauty and the Beast” was a lot darker and resembles qualities of a horror movie. “Beastly” takes on the tone, mood and style of recent teen movies, while keeping the main premise of that classic tale intact.

Those who are familiar with that classic tale would know how this story would play out. Lindy Taylor is “beauty” and she is a young woman with a strong sense of individuality, she cares for her father, despite his many flaws. Kyle is the young popular guy in school; he is handsome (and he flaunts it), rich and well-endowed. One may say that he thinks so highly of himself and that fate needed to take him down a peg. The film focuses its energies to their developing relationship. Yes, the two form some great chemistry together much to the credit of Vanessa Hudgens who is just charming as Lindy. Kyle as ‘Hunter” looks to be one of those body-piercing artists who like expressing themselves, Hunter isn’t so much as ugly as a “beast”, but rather he just looks very different. The make up effects were good, he maintained that “Kyle” character, while he appears quite a departure from his former handsome self (I actually had issues of buying into the fact that Lindy didn‘t recognize Kyle). I suppose it wasn’t so much as Hunter was ugly but he was just so different from Kyle that Lindy didn’t recognize him.

                      Vanessa Hudgens as Lindy and Alex Pettyfer as Hunter in "Beastly."

                     A scene in "Beastly."

As for this timeless tale being told and this premise being thrown into this modern age; well, writer-director Daniel Barnz tries by making some strong commentary about vanity and selfishness; how people adore great-looking folks (these great-looking folks are usually also the rich ones), and how one cannot attain what they desire when one isn’t ‘good-looking’. Kyle’s dad shuns him after his tragic change and even his friends forget about him. I can easily buy into the “friends shut off”, but I thought the issue with his father (Peter Krause) was shamefully underdeveloped. The film also has some a lot of plot holes and missteps; I guess for me to buy into this fantasy, the direction should’ve come forth with some ideas as to how Kyle coped with this radical transformation and to make certain that devices just wouldn‘t come in from nowhere. Sure, they saw surgeons and he had confronted the witch that cursed him, but I thought it was just so easy for him to accept his ‘change’. I felt that the movie was rushed in many areas (perhaps details were better in the book, but I wouldn’t know) and the viewer was left simply to buy into this thing with Kyle.

                        Mary-Kate Olsen in "Beastly."

                        Alex Pettyfer as Kyle in "Beastly."

As for the supporting characters, I thought Neil Patrick Harris stole the show as Kyle’s blind tutor. His humorous quick quips and  "philosophies" about beauty, appearances and blindness made some much needed 'charms' in the film’s screenplay. As with any other fairy tale, “Beastly” has a woman with a heart of gold who helps Kyle make the connection with Lindy. Lisa Gay Hamilton plays Zola and I was easily taken by her performance despite her hollow characterization and limited screen time. The music was good for this type of movie and the cinematography was quite decent as it kept shadows while Hunter was around, and only around Lindy did his world seem brighter.

I am not sure really how I feel about this movie. It is a crowd-pleaser, and yet, once you stop and think about what you have seen, you lose interest and admittedly it was just filled with canned romance that I found it hard to care about the characters. To its credit, at the very least, the film is a crowd-pleaser and I didn’t hate it; nor did I like it either. The film’s main strengths were the chemistry between Lindy and Hunter, but it missed so many opportunities to make the premise a compelling re-telling of the classic story. It felt a little lazy, and it stooped to the formulas of a commercial film, when the potential was just there and Barnz just chose to ignore them. Too bad, it could’ve been a lot better.

RENTAL [2 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Beastly."  Poster art for "Beastly."

A Tale As Old As Time...Beauty and The

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March 20, 2011
I'm still interested in seeing this one. I have to scope out the book too!
March 20, 2011
Honestly I didn't think it was horrible, it had its decent points. I would love to read about your thoughts about the book since books are usually more detailed and compelling (most of the time)
March 21, 2011
I'll have to see if my local library has a copy for me to read and review. I'll get back to you about this one. :)
March 09, 2011
(Sighs) Really? I mean, really? First movie-goers had to sit through the awful "Twilight" films, now there's this, and next up "Red Riding Hood". If I see one more film that is either based on a fairy tale or a myth or a horror story where vapid, self-obsessed teens fall in love with supernatural vapid, self-obsessed teens... I'm going to bang my head against a brick wall.
March 09, 2011
Donnie and Marie are, sadly, making a comeback. And when did hula hoops go out of style? Did I miss that one?
March 10, 2011
hula hoops are awesome :)

unfortunately, I may get dragged to see Red Riding Hood, but it would be fine since I like Amanda Seyfried. Too bad she hasn't gotten enough roles to give her talent justice.
March 10, 2011
She was great in "Chloe".
March 10, 2011
Seyfried is a great actress, I hope she gets more roles that can showcase her real talent.
March 08, 2011
Excellent review WP, I forgot all about this one.
March 08, 2011
Thanks, Alex, oh, scroll down in my reviews and there's something you may find even more interesting...
More Beastly reviews
review by . November 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I don't generally rent movies for their cover art, because it usually dosn't turn out as well for me as when i buy books for the cover. But since my weekends of late have been long, and for lack of a better word, lonely, here i am watching Beastly. Let me just forewarn readers now this review is riddled with spoilers. The story goes as follows, Kyle, our typical popular highschool kid; rich, attractive blah blah is running for president for "president of the green committe" wich i'm assuming is …
review by . March 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There is something fun about film adaptations to pieces of literature.  Granted there are some books that should NEVER be messed with, but there are others that have potential of being something... well... interesting. Beastly is a fun book for what it is, and I feel that Young Adult lit is kind of one of those "touchy" areas because kids and teens read at different levels and have such a wide variety of interests that it quickly becomes one of those "agree to disagree" …
review by . March 24, 2011
Beastly should be considered a romantic flick by the tweener set but fails as a modern-day take on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale.    As the story goes, there's a vain prince who thinks of no one else but himself, so a witch curses him, turning him into a beast and giving him one year to find a girl to love him, not for his looks but for what's inside. In Beastly, the prince is a modern-day high school stud named Kyle (Alex Pettyfer), who basically rules the roost by proclaiming …
review by . March 15, 2011
Before I start this review, I would like to share a little anecdote. I often go to the movies with my friend (that I mentioned in the Twilight review), and we have many great stories to tell. But this one is terribly funny, even if you don't find it all that interesting. We were waiting in the huge popcorn line and this lady was in front of us ordering for a goddamn platoon and wrangling four or five kids who were all talking their heads off. The same thing happened when we were waiting to get …
review by . March 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Beastly, based on the novel by Alex Flinn, is Beauty and the Beast for the Twilight generation. I grant you that this is not automatically a bad idea, and admittedly, aspects of the film are charming – in their own naïve, adolescent ways. There’s also no mistaking the message of the film, which is important and made abundantly clear: Looking beautiful isn’t nearly as important as acting beautiful. None of this changes the …
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About this movie


  • Prone to mocking and humiliating "aggressively unattractive" classmates, Kyle zeroes in on Goth classmate Kendra, inviting her to the school's extravagant environmental bash. Kendra accepts, and, true to form, Kyle blows her off in a particularly savage fashion. She retaliates by casting a spell that physically transforms him into everything he despises. Enraged by his horrible and unrecognizable appearance he confronts Kendra and learns that the only solution to the curse is to find someone that will love him as he is -- a task he considers impossible. Repulsed by his appearance, Kyle's callous father banishes him to Brooklyn with a sympathetic housekeeper and blind tutor. As Kyle ponders how to overcome the curse and get his old life back, he chances upon a drug addict in the act of killing a threatening dealer. Seizing the opportunity, Kyle promises the addict freedom and safety for his daughter, Lindy, if she will consent to live in Kyle's Brooklyn home.
  • Poster art for "Beastly."
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    Director: Daniel Barnz
    Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
    Release Date: 4 March 2011 (USA)
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Screen Writer: Daniel Barnz, Alex Flinn
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