HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Beastly Only skin deepBuy this film here.
Year: 2011
Director: Daniel Barnz
Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris, LisaGay Hamilton, Peter Krause, Dakota Johnson, Erik Knudsen
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Wealthy, handsome and popular, high school student Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer) has it all but is also vain, arrogant and nasty. During his campaign for high school president, Kyle humiliates goth witch Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), little realising she has actual magical powers. She casts a spell on Kyle that leaves him disfigured, forced to withdraw from public life and stay secluded in a dingy apartment, shunned by his similarly superficial TV news anchor dad (Peter Krause). His only chance to break the spell is to find someone who will love him, within the space of one year, or else stay ugly forever.

As you can probably guess, Beastly is a modern take on Beauty and the Beast, courting the Twilight (2008) crowd with its fantasy romance but equally part of an agreeable tradition of high school spins on classic tales, from Clueless (1995) to 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) and She’s All That (1999). Based on a novel by Alex Flinn, the timeless fairytale - whose earliest version is credited to 18th century French writer Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve - adapts quite credibly to the present day, as Kyle finds a chance for love with Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), a winsome wallflower who once adored him from afar. When Lindy’s troubled father kills a loan shark threatening their lives, Kyle offers to shelter her from possible retribution. He soon tries to woo her with expensive gifts, but discovers kindness and friendship work rather better and finds his own attitude to people and the world at large changes as a consequence.

The most popular psychological interpretation of Beauty and the Beast is as an allegory for that aspect of the female psyche that believes love can draw the innate goodness out of an outwardly “beastly” man. Which somewhat insultingly implies nice girls fall for jerks because its all down to their own narcissism. Armchair psychologists aside, there is a lack of tension to the central romance in Beastly, leaving it something of a foregone conclusion Kyle and Lindy will get together and thus break the curse. Writer-director Daniel Barnz, who made the engaging fantasy drama Phoebe in Wonderland (2008), deftly handles the romance but proves less sure-footed with the thriller subplot that motivates Lindy’s hiding out at Kyle’s place that is soon forgotten and left looking tacked on.

Snappy dialogue counterbalances the heavy-handed moralising that is somewhat muddled given the pre-transformed Kyle comes across like an embittered outsider’s caricature of what a popular kid is like. His opening scene, where he rallies a high school crowd to vote for him because he is rich, handsome and doesn’t care about social issues, strains credibility. Even the most brazenly self-centred sociopath would not be so openly amoral when running for office. Also problematic is an early scene when Lindy admits she grudgingly admired the “old” Kyle for “calling things as he saw them”, which is an odd thing to say given the plot is supposedly there to teach him the error of his ways. By the fadeout, Kyle has certainly suffered and found love but there is no one scene where we sense his attitude has really changed for the better.

The film is foremost a love story but, while tenderly drawn and capably played by the leads, its plodding courtship will prove less compelling for grownups than young girls. Neil Patrick Harris snags all the best lines as Kyle’s blind tutor despite being somewhat underused. Equally Mary-Kate Olsen is surprisingly good in a wildly atypical role, though one can’t help wondering why such an all-powerful witch bothers with high school? Bonus points for a gag reference to Fifties B-movie Devil Girl from Mars (1954).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1737 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: