Sometimes in life everyone needs to escape into the make believe. Over the weekend, I went to the movies with some friends. We were in a fairy tale type of mood so we decided to see Beastly. From previews I knew that Beastly was a modern day remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Being the huge Disney fan that I am, I was interested to see how this new adaptation would stand up to the timeless tale. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met. Instead of sitting in a theatre watching a beautiful romance, I found myself having to endure some very shallow writing along with too much teenage angst.
Let me first go into a quick synopsis of the flick. Kyle Kingston (Alex Pettyfer), a very attractive high school senior who believes that people can only succeed in life if they are beautiful, insults a classmate, Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen) for being different, not realizing that she is a witch. Kendra places a curse on Kyle making him “ugly.” She tells him that he has to find someone to say “I love you” before the year is up or he will stay “ugly” forever. Through the pain of his new exterior, Kyle finds himself falling for an outsider classmate, Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens). With the help of his tutor (Neil Patrick Harris) and his housekeeper (Lisa Gay Hamilton) he tries to win her heart and end the curse. This movie is written/directed by Daniel Barnz and based off the novel with the same name by Alex Finn. It was produced by CBS flims and runs about 95 mins.
The story behind the movie had potential, but the delivery of writing with not fully committed acting hinted at what was intended but never truly followed through. The part that through me off at first was at the beginning when Kyle was still a shallow jerk: he runs into Lindy a few times before he turned Beastly and you can see Lindy falling for him as a jerk. I did not understand why they decided to have the heroine have a crush on the hero while he is still the bad guy. It showed me that every girl, no matter how good her heart, will fall for looks instead of personality. It made me not connect with Lindy and see her a shallow teenage girl.
A big turn off for me during this movie is the look they gave Kyle as ‘Beastly.’ Yes he has scars, tattoos, and a few bumps here and there, but they did nothing to his perfect physique to make him unattractive to the female eye. It made me wonder if when deciding his look if the director took into consideration how much the public would be willing to see on the screen as Beastly. It made me feel put into a box as a younger female that I needed a man to remain attractive on the screen to enjoy a movie. It really missed the point of the movie that we are supposed to love what is inside and that the outside of someone should not matter. During his ‘Beastly’ days, Kyle changed his personality a little but not enough to really tell the lesson the movie is supposed to give its audience. A part of me really wished that in the end he would get the ‘I love you’ just a little too late so that he would have to live being ‘Beastly’ but knowing that it is ok. Knowing that life can still go on and be happy not being this perfect beautiful guy. I think it would have taught the audience a bigger lesson in the end.
The one silver lining in this movie that was very enjoyable was the character of the tutor, Will, played by the amazing Neil Patrick Harris. I enjoyed his performance because I felt that he was the only truly committed actor in the cast. He took what he was given and made it completely his own. It did not surprise me that he could do this however because NPH has been around the business for such a long time and really understands his own skin and how to make his talent work. I admire him very much for his talent and character work. He knows very well how to compliment a movie with his witty comedic timing and I very much enjoyed him playing such a unique character in this movie.
When this movie finished I walked to my car feeling like it was good idea but I did not care enough about the characters to give it much of a great review. I feel like if you are a 15-year-old girl who also loves Twilight, this is definitely the movie for you. If not then maybe you should save your pocket change for something with a little more depth and realism. I give this movie 2 and a half popcorns out of five.