Rummanah Aasi
  I really enjoyed Alex Flinn's modern fairytale retelling novel, Beastly, when I read it a few years ago. I was excited to learn that it was going to be a movie. The movie was suppose to release early, but do to some production issues it was released last week. I needed a break from the hectic work schedule and got a chance to see Beastly over the weekend. I thought it was an enjoyable, sweet film.

Description (in case the trailer didn't work for you):  Kyle is an extremely vain, superficial, and rich New York teen who is transformed into a hideous monster in order to discover what true beauty means and to find true love.

Review: After watching horrible adaptations of some of my favorite books (the Twilight Saga, anyone?), I had very low expectations of Beastly. In fact, I only knew the final cast before watching the film. To be honest, I found the casting a bit odd and was curious why they chose certain people for the roles.
 The plot of Beastly is very simple and familiar to those who know the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is an arrogant, shallow, narcissistic, and extremely wealthy New York teen who lived his life by believing that beauty is everything, a mantra that his his equally arrogant and shallow father constantly spews. After repeatedly belittling those who he thinks is beneath him, Kyle is transformed into a 'beast' by a witch named Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen). He is cursed to look beastly until he can find someone who can truly love him despite his grotesque appearance. Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) is the Kyle's way back to normal, but will she accept him? You can easily figure out how this story will end.
  Like many film adaptations of young adult books, the screenplay of Beastly is the main problem. Would it really hurt to add another 30 minutes to a 90 minute movie so that we can actually see some character growth? We are introduced to Kyle and see his transformation all within the first 10 minutes of the movie. Pettyr's dialogue is spoken so fast that you can almost imagine someone in the background timing him with a stopwatch. While Kyle develops a special bond with his tutor and housekeeper in the book, he continually does nothing but give them orders and somehow they magically care for him in the movie. It was a bit hard to swallow. I also found Kyle's beast actually more appealing than disgusting unlike the book. Perhaps the reason for this change is that they had to make him look startling yet allow him to move around and speak clearly. 
  There are some changes in the movie. Some of them, like character name changes, I didn't mind or really take notice after watching and thinking about the movie. My heart did break, however, when the location of the study session was changed, which is where we see Kyle's character growth and introspection. My favorite scenes of Kyle chatting in a chat room with other fairytale creatures who are facing a dilemma were also removed, but the funny and romantic scenes of Kyle trying to woo Lyndy made up for this deletion.  
  In terms of the acting, I think the actors did a good job overall. With all the hype and rumors of Alex Pettyfer being involved in the upcoming Hunger Games and Mortal Instrument movies, I had to know if this guy could act or just be another actor who got lucky- a la Robert Pattinson. I'm glad to say Alex does have an acting bone in his body, unlike Pattinson, though he still needs to develop his skills. While reading the book, I enjoyed how I was able to get inside Kyle's skin and sense his vulnerability, his loneliness, and what truly makes him..well a beast. We get flickers of this in the movie. Alex Pettyfer perfectly embodies the cocky, extremely vain Kyle with his looks and body language. The actor also does a decent job in exposing Kyle's insecurities if you look closely to his eye movements. Unfortuantely due to the script, we don't delve deeper into his character but we get enough to see that Kyle's life is far from perfect.
  Vanessa Hudgens is a very beautiful girl and didn't see her as the plain Lyndy of the book, however, she does bring out Lyndy's sweetness and made me smile a few times. I'm glad that the producers chose a girl with a diverse ethnic background to play a lead role in a teen movie, which doesn't happen very often. Peter Krause, who plays Kyle's distant father doesn't seem to fit his role and doesn't have that much screen presence to make an impression. Not to sound superficial, but Krause is rather average looking compared to Pettyfer and when he repeatedly says that beauty means everything, I can't help but think, "Well, you're not that great looking yourself".
  I was pleasantly surprised by the supporting cast of Beastly. Neil Patrick Harris had impeccable comedic timing with his dry and off kilter one liners. Mary Kate Olsen plays a quirky, creepy, evil witch quite well. Lisa Gay Hamilton plays the warmth and wise Zola is exceptional.
  Despite the movie's short comings, I think it succeeds in capturing the spirit and message of the book which is important. Beastly is a predictable romance that I found pretty entertaining and enjoyed. I would recommend seeing it, but not necessarily rush to your local theaters unless your are dying to see it. You might wait until the DVD comes out and rent it. You can read Alex Flinn's reaction to the movie and her red carpet experience on her blog.
  If you are interested in the story, I would highly recommend checking out the book. It's fantastic and one that I have been recommending to lots of readers who equally enjoyed it.

Rating: 3 stars (Recommended)

Words of Caution: The movie is rated PG-13 due to some crude language, drug references and brief violence.
3 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I'm going to see this one and am really looking forward to it! I agree with you on making the movies just a touch longer so the characters could have some of the depth they have in the book, there's a reason why the book was popular and it always bothers me when they cut out significant moments to make it fit in a shorter time. Glad you think Alex is a better actor than Pattinson though, that's a relief:)

  2. This looks amazing. Beastly is on my wishlist, and the movie looks really good too.
    Brilliant film review!

  3. Jenny: I can't wait to hear what you thought of the movie. Please share!

    TheBookAddictedGirl: Thank you! I do hope you get a chance to read Beastly soon. :)

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