Beastly This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 5, 2012
Beastly is a movie adaptation of the novel of the same name by Alex Flinn, which itself is loosely based on the original fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” by the Brothers Grimm. In honor of the new book in the series, Bewitching, I decided to review the movie version of the first book.

It’s about a self-centered teenager who, after giving just about the least convincing class presidential election speech in recorded history, attracts the attention of one of the Olsen twins- I mean the witch Kendra. After proving just how much of a jerk he is, Kendra places a curse that transforms him to look like a carved up Eminem. This is a particularly gruesome fate since he follows his father’s philosophy that only beautiful people can make it in this world. After his father hides him away from society, the only people left to care about him are his maid, his blind tutor, and a pretty poor girl he’s hardly spoken to. He is given only one year to get someone to tell him they love him or he’ll be trapped like that forever.

I saw this movie with my best friend a few months ago because it sounded like the only good thing playing at the time. I didn’t mind, since my best friend is one of those people who likes the kind of teen movies like Beastly and is a heck of a lot less nit-picky than I am, which makes the experience more enjoyable. Like Red Riding Hood I walked into it thinking that it would be stupid and the only purpose it would serve was to give me something to make fun of for about an hour and a half. However unlike Red Riding Hood, this movie did not prove me right.

This movie catches the eye of the romance fans while also going far enough to having some substance to go along with it. It’s doesn’t just lean on the romance of the two leads, it has some other elements and characters to go along with it. It was interesting how the dad sort of seemed to care when he finds out what happens to his son, even if he shows it in his own selfish way. At first I sort of expected the dad to be the one to break the spell with the three magic words, which would have been an interesting twist, but I don’t think I need to put any spoiler alert on here since you ALL know how it ends.

Some of the changes they made to modernize the original story fit very well, like the Jamaican maid and hilarious blind tutor (I’m guessing Neil Patrick Harris had a free weekend) as the servants dragged into the situation. The love interest’s father being a drug dealer gives a reasonable excuse for her leave home while also letting her have the “poor girl” label (though it does get a bit implausible when he flat out murders a guy. Do cops just not exist in movies anymore?). He not only wins the heart of the girl, but gains the love from others he mistreated before. And even though the main guy’s transformation allows him to keep his abs, his transformation does make him look like one of those Metalheads you wouldn’t want to pass by on the street (though I know there are those who preffer those guys). I also think the make-up looks really good, which is another sign that there was actual effort put in.

The movie does have a genuine heart to go along with it. It’s the quiet moments that allow you to think and the little jokes they throw it that automatically makes it better than most teen movies. It also has the advantage of having a great soundtrack (though maybe I’m just a sucker when it comes to Death Cab for Cutie).

Admittedly it does give into some clichés, like the snobby first girlfriend and what I like to call the “temporary friend card” near the end of the movie, but they’re not a huge detriment to the story and you can’t say you didn’t expect them walking in. True story, when watching this in the theatre, right before Vanessa Hudgens said the three magic words, some girl behind us screamed “JUST TELL HIM YOU LOVE HIM ALREADY!” she did right after, and the girl screamed “THANK YOU!” and everyone in the theater clapped.

In conclusion, while Red Riding Hood presented some interesting ideas that were ultimately brought down by its stupidity, Beastly is something that I wouldn’t hesitate to call a good movie. Sure it’s corny and predictable, but not in a way that keeps it from being enjoyable.

I give it two and a half creepy Olson witches out of four.

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writer3499 said...
Mar. 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm
I Love this movie!! Great review, it really captures the story.
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