Beastly – Blu-ray Edition

Within the world of film classic pieces of literature have been remade time and time again.  How many versions of Romeo & Juliet has there been? Les Misérables?  Plenty!  A good piece of writing can be reinterpreted over and over giving it a modern twist in order to make it relatable or relevant to the present generation.  A piece of literature that has captured our imagination is Beauty and the Beast.

First written in 1740 by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and even redone on the page by others later in that same century.  As you would guess the story has been transferred onto the big and small screens several times.  La Belle et la Bête (1946) starring Jean Cocteau and Disney’s animated version (1991) were film versions while on television Linda Hamilton starred in Beauty and the Beast (1987) and presently Canadian Kristin Kreuk is starring in a series of the same name.

Of course there had to be a teen movie using this theme as it is very suitable for the angst and beautiful girl falling for the underdog guy themes often used in this film genre.  Seventeen-year-old Kyle (Alex Pettyfer – Magic Mike, I Am Number Four) rules the roost at his upper crust high school in New York City.  He is good looking, rich and has a famous father (Peter Krause – from television’s Parenthood).  Life is his bowl of cherries.  But he picks on the wrong girl.

Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen – from television’s Full House) is an outsider whom there are rumours circulating that she is a witch.  Kyle invites her to a dance only to humiliate her in front of everyone.  Not surprised by his behaviour but wanting to teach him a lesson, Kendra places a curse on Kyle that makes him as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside.  After his physical appearance Kyle confronts her.  Kendra tells him that he has one year to find someone who loves him the way he is or he will remain this way forever.

Kyle’s father does not know what to do with his son so he hides him away in an apartment sending the housekeeper Zola (LisaGay Hamilton – from television’s Law & Order: SVU) and hiring a tutor (Neil Patrick Harris – from television’s How I Met Your Mother) to stay with him.

While wandering the streets one night, Kyle rescues former classmate Linday (Vanessa Hudgens – Spring Breakers, Sucker Punch) from a guy who is after her druggie father.  He brings Linday back to the apartment intent on protecting her from any harm.  After getting to know her a little better Kyle realizes that Linday, the girl he never spoke to at school, might be the only person who can save him from the curse.

What is it about the story of a beast who though he is beautiful on the inside is misjudged by everyone save one beautiful woman due to his scary looks that we love?  It is the good message that what really matters or makes a person (or being) beautiful is what is on the inside.  The whole thing hinges on a good story and chemistry between the two leads.  Neither of these things helps out Daniel Barnz’s (Won’t Back Down) Beastly.

Slow, slow, slow.  Not that a romance has to move at a rapid clip, but it does have to show some signs of life.  Oddly though despite what I’ve just said at other times I felt as if they rushed through a scene.  Things that should have been emphasized were just quickly passed over.  No sense of tempo.

Then the two leads have so few scenes together that there is no chance for any chemistry to be built.  Also, or maybe because of the previous two reason, their acting is really wooden.  Because of the lack of emotion the two infuse their characters with the intended climax of the film falls flat.  Very flat.

Beastly is the type of movie that you might pop into the player on a rainy afternoon when there is nothing on television.  Under any other circumstance it will probably end up being a disappointment.

Special Features:

-Alternate Ending

-Deleted Scenes

-A Classic Tale Retold: The Story of Beastly

-Creating the Perfect Beast

-“Be Mine” Music Video by Kristina and the Dolls

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