Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Film Review: Beastly

About the film
Beastly is a 2011 film that is based on the book of the same name by Alex Flinn. The book is also based on the classic story of Beauty and the Beast. The film is rated 12A and has a run time of 86 minutes.

Kyle Kingston thinks (more like knows) he is God's gift at his high school. He pretty much runs the school and can get away with pretty much anything he wants. It also helps that his father is completely loaded. After playing a prank on a goth at school, Kendra, it completely backfires. Kendra is actually a witch and puts a spell on Kyle to teach him a lesson. He is transformed into everything he hates, an ugly and repulsive guy. Kyle has a specific amount of time to get someone to truly love him in the state that he is now in.

If Kyle fails to get someone to fall in love with him, he will suffer the fate of looking like a beast for all time!

What I thought
As a book, I loved Beastly. I had put off watching it due to being wary about how it would change after being made into a film.

I have said before that I am not the greatest fan of Alex Pettyfer and unfortunately, this film hasn't changed my view. While he does ok in the role, he isn't anything spectacular. I actually don't think that this was as much Pettyfer's fault as it was the filmmakers'. His character, Kyle, isn't given the chance to shine and the film quickly goes into the beastly transformation. If his character had more time to develop and show just how shallow and self centered he was, Pettyfer would have had more to go on and to work with. Instead, he is all about being the better man and I didn't really feel that he was as shallow as he was supposed to be.

Vanessa Hudgens wasn't much better although she has come quite a long way since her High School Musical days. I HATED her in those films but at least now, she was barable. Hudgens plays Lindy, the girl who Kyle thinks can possibly love him now that he's changed. To begin with, she was a squeaky teenage girl who annoyed me from the begginning. There is also something about her that makes her too sweet and innocent sounding, taking away the depth that her character could have had. Again, this is an aspect of the film that wasn't given enough time to develop. Lindy has massive family problems and this wasn't showcased enough to make it seem as important as it actually was.

Surprisingly, Mary-Kate Olsen is the cast member who stole the show for me. Compared to the likes of Pettyfer and Hudgens, Olsen has a lot more on screen presence. In each of her scenes, although she doesn't have that many, she demands attention and my eyes were always on her and what she would do next. I think playing this role was a very clever move for Olsen, showing that she can play a lot more than teenagers with nothing interesting about them. Although I know the story doesn't call for it, I do wish that Olsen and her character had more time on screen and a bigger part in the film overall.

As much as I liked this film, I do have some problems with how big some of the changes were compared to the book. Something that I really don't understand about book to film conversions are why people's names get changed. Ok, it was mainly only surnames and the name Kyle uses after he has changed but why? Surely things like this don't really make that much of a difference do they? One of the biggest changes though was how the beast was portrayed. In the book, Kyle ends up with fur and fangs, keeping as close to the real story as possible but in the film, he is covered in strange markings, tattoos and scars. I did like that it gave this story a new lease of life but I would have preferred for the film to have stayed closer to the book. For me, this was something that was too big and important to change.

While this film wasn't perfect for me, it was still enjoyable. I think the thing is, Beastly is a 12A and aimed at teenagers, rather than adults. With this being said, I think teenagers will enjoy it a hell of a lot more than I, and many others, did. Beastly is a light romantic film with a deeper message that wasn't conveyed as well as it could have been. Something I will say to anyone who hasn't already seen this film - if you want to, don't read the book first! 

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