Film Review: Beastly (2011)

SYNOPSIS:

A modern-day take on the “Beauty and the Beast” tale where a New York teen is transformed into a hideous monster in order to find true love.

REVIEW:

Beastly is a modern romance interlaced with magic, morals and close perspectives on the world itself. Primarily, while the main character of Kyle Kingston is transformed into a horrific version himself, it still manages to do so in a hip punk-like style.

Kyle Kingston is arrogant, wealthy and full of himself. The film begins hammering this idea into our collective as he even tends to snuff the lovely Vanessa Hudgens. Vanessa Hudgens plays the love interest  Lindy. Lindy become an object of Kyles attraction as he is spell casted into a horrific version of himself. Once this plays out, he finds his whole world has changed and that looks are not part of his advantage anymore. The idea is to learn a lesson and get someone to love him for who he really is rather than his looks. Kyle makes a huge mistake by pissing off Kendra Hilferty (Mary-Kate Olsen) who just so happens to also possess the power to invoke witch craft as she is scorned and ridiculed. The spell gives Kyle one year to find a soul who will profess their love for him (as the beast).

What really bothered me about this film is the way it starts off. I was taken aback much like one who has just jumped into a conversation that was started a hour ago that I have no idea what is going on. We see the pretentious Kyle running for election in his school, we get that he doesn’t like ugly people, witches or combinations there-of and that he really believes in his own hype and presumed success. Though I felt the script was badly written especially in the first 15-20 minutes. As an audience you can’t assume presumptions on our ability to just fall into your world. This feeling is similar to watching a season 2 to a popular series in where the character and motives were already established back in season one. So to get to the point, points in this film are lost by a bad association of context.

What I did like about it is that its rooted in a basic tail telling scenario of beauty and the beast, though in this case much more 21st century woven hipper interpretation that is ladeled with raves, texting, web pages and modern technology.

Surprisingly (and down presented) Mary-Kate Olsen is not that hot, and presented to be somewhat of a skunk in goth clothing which would make sense as the director’s goal would be to showcase Vanessa Hugeness as the film beauty of the story both literal and metaphorical. But regardless I think we get that fact right from the get go, that Kendra Hilferty is the evil teen witch who ruins Kyles life in order to teach him a lesson. Though with that said, still hats off to Mary-Kate Olsen who presents herself in a role we never imagined her in the past. And rightfully, she pulls it off laying what I thought is a great career segue into possibly a horror market. No worries though as Mary-Kate Olsen has always been a cutie in more mainstream roles.

The film itself is far from a horror film, but with the grotesque transformations and magical spellcasting it brings enough to the genre to hint at a tonality that still might appeal to horror audiences (more preferable the Twilight side)

The makeup on Kyle was well done, but as stated before more in line with a punk look that while was eerie, didn’t really take everything away from Alex Pettyfer’s natural look. As we remember , the beauty and the beast scenario was much more dramatic from beast to normality.

As a whole there is a warm hearted tale here that transpires but only after getting into the point. My guess is viewers will leave it with mixed reactions on the abstract script that ends on a Twilight driven romance scenario. Still it’s very watch able and the characters are strong in their performance. I really didn’t buy into Vanessa Hudgens performance though which felt awkwardly forced at times. Directed by Daniel Barnz the film has not faired well in reviews but still has managed to provide some positive reception. Viewers I’m guessing will relate and see the film for what it is.

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