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Movie Reviews




Released: 2011

Directed By: Daniel Barnz

Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, Neil Patrick Harris

Certificate: 12A

Reviewed By: Richard O’Toole

Beastly is a modern day re-telling of the popular fairytale Beauty and The Beast. The protagonist, Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer) has it all, the looks, the money, the popularity and the vanity that comes with such things. However, his arrogant behaviour leads to his downfall, he bullies and publicly embarrasses the wrong person. Kendra Hilferty (Mary-Kate Olsen), Kyle’s victim, is in fact a witch, who casts a spell on Kyle to be as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside. Kyle is transformed into a hideous ‘beast’ and only true love will set him free. But will his love interest, Lindy Taylor (Vanessa Hudgens) say the three words that will set him free?

Well not to spoil it, but it’s based on Beauty and The Beast, so yes, of course she does. But whether she says it in time to break the spell, I won’t spoil.

The film wasn’t as awful as I expected it to be, but needless to say it is filled with Hollywood cheese and cringe worthy lines.  Beastly was directed by Daniel Branz, who is relatively new in the world of film. He also wrote the screenplay, which was an adaptation of Alex Flinn’s novel of the same name.  As for his direction, some of his shots were truly beautiful. I’m a big fan of scenic shots, but even I thought there were a few too many.

A major difference from Disney’s portrayal of the fairytale is that the Beastly protagonist is the‘beast’. In my opinion this twist on the fairytale, added a much needed differentiation for the audience. Watching the whole film from Lindy’s point of view (the modern day Belle) would have been very repetitive.

As far as the acting goes, Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four) gives a solid performance and leads the film well. Vanessa Hudgens is improving with every step she takes further away from the High School Musical persona. Despite Mary-Kate Olsen’s character being the catalyst of the film, there wasn’t much screen time for her, but with what she did have, she was quirky and weird and seemed to do her character justice. Though, I do have to mention her walk. It was peculiar, and I’m not quite sure what she was going for.  The hidden gem of the film has to be Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Will, the blind home schoolteacher.  Most people know Neil Patrick Harris for playing the comedic Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother. In Beastly he not only adds comedy, but there is such believability in his performance, he truly becomes his character, apparently, he even wore opaque contact lenses during filming to actually make himself sightless.

Beastly would be a great watch for a young audience, for anyone else however it’s not really going to give you much Disney’s version of the classic fairytale doesn’t already give. It might appeal to Twilight fans, as it has that whole ‘monster loves innocent girl’ thing about it.

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