Alex Pettyfer as Kyle
Vanessa Hudgens as Lindy
Mary-Kate Olsen as Kendra
Neil Patrick Harris as Will
Dakota Johnson as Sloan
Erik Knudsen as Trey
Peter Krause as Rob
Lisa Gay Hamilton as Zola
David Francis as Dr. Davis
Steve Godin as Junkie
Gio Perez as Victor
Directed by Daniel Barnz
A Classic Tale Retold: The Story Of Beastly
Creating The Perfect Beast
“Be Mine” Music Video By Kristina & The Dolls
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 86 Minutes
The following is the official description of the film:
“Love is never ugly.
Seventeen-year-old Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is the spoiled, shallow and incredibly popular prince of his high school kingdom. Kyle foolishly chooses Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), a witch masquerading as a high school student, as his latest target for humiliation. In order to teach Kyle a lesson, Kendra transforms him into someone as unattractive on the outside as he is on the inside. Now he has one year to find someone to love him, or he will remain Beastly forever. A quiet classmate he never noticed named Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) may be his best chance to prove that love is never ugly.”
“Beastly” is rated PG-13 for language including some crude comments, drug references and brief violence.
As you can see from the movie description, this is a modern take on the classic fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” Seeing how they translate the story into a modern setting is most of the fun of “Beastly.” The Beast is now a tattooed and scarred popular kid at a high school. Beauty is an unpopular girl at the school. The witch that turns him into the beast is a goth girl. The castle he hides in is now a building outside of New York City. You get the idea. Unfortunately, that’s about where the fun ends.
“Beastly” is quite dull. A big part of the problem is Vanessa Hudgens as Lindy. Her acting is rather flat and the script doesn’t give her room to do anything endearing. As we saw in the Disney cartoon, it’s possible to do a lot with her character and make her lively and interesting. You get why the Beast fell for her. Lindy has fewer dimensions than the 2D cartoon character. She’s just boring and you don’t buy their romance. “Beastly” also doesn’t do much with the new setting. It simply goes through the motions of the fairy tale and adds nothing to it. We saw in the 1996 “Romeo + Juliet” that they added some style to the adaptation in a modern setting. In “West Side Story” we saw them add the musical element to the story. Unlike those adaptations, “Beastly” brings nothing new to the table and that makes it a bit of a disappointment.
On a positive note, Alex Pettyfer does the best he can with Kyle. He plays the popular jock well, but he also goes the extra mile with the physical transition. Being bald, tattooed, and scarred day after day on set was probably a mental and physical challenge. It’s a shame he didn’t have a better script to work with. Neil Patrick Harris brings some much needed comic relief as Will. But it’s kind of annoying to hear him constantly remind everyone he’s blind. We got it the first time.
“Beastly” is primarily aimed at young teen and pre-teen girls. It’s also aimed at people that don’t remember the Disney “Beauty and the Beast.” If you fall in that demographic, you’ll enjoy “Beastly” a lot more than anyone else. If you’re not in that target audience, like me, then simply avoid this.
You’ll find several bonus features on the DVD. Most notable is an alternate ending. This one is actually a bit more action packed and closer to the original fairy tale than the theatrical ending. I’m not quite sure why they didn’t use it. Also included is a “behind the scenes” featurette, a featurette on the creation of the Beast makeup, and a music video.