A Beastly Review

Some of you may remember a post I made a few months back wherein I discussed several upcoming fairy tale films, and made predictions about them.   Having now seen these movies, I suppose I should share my findings in review form.  Today, I’ll be tackling the first of these: “Beastly.”  Instead of a full blown article, however, I decided to slim it down to the basics for a quick read.  I present you with the best and worst three things about this “Beauty and the Beast” inspired teen flick.  Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Top Three:

  1. Just as I initially predicted, Neil Patrick Harris was as hilarious as always. He’s a fantastic actor who can shine in any role.
  2. The dialogue was actually pretty snappy.  It was no “Brick,” but the writers clearly put some effort into the film’s quirky language.
  3. It was interesting to see the witch character (Mary-Kate Olsen) get more involved.  In most versions of the story, she casts her spell and clears out (if she’s even mentioned at all).  Here, she seems to have a legitimate interest in how the story ends.

The Bottom Three:

  1. The plot was insanely predictable and not just because it was a retelling of a familiar story.  A little more creativity would’ve gone a long way.
  2. It was way too easy for Kyle (a.k.a the beast, played by Alex Pettyfer) to convince his love interest’s druggie dad (Roc LaFortune) to make his daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) come live with him as a captive.  I know the man was on drugs and owed money to some sketchy dudes, but it seems wildly unlikely that any father of a teenage girl would think it was in his daughter’s best interest to send her to live with a creepy, hooded stranger.  It was honestly unrealistic enough to be distracting.
  3. Although I understand that the writers wanted Kyle to look like a jerk, his speech in the opening section of the film just seems over the top.  Sure, tons of popular high school jocks are tools, but the student body’s enthusiasm for his shallow sentiments seems kind of impossible.  I don’t know about you, but even in high school I would’ve associated cheering for this guy with a loss of personal integrity.  The clip below contains his speech; could you have stomached this in high school?

Even though it wasn’t the most original retelling I’ve ever seen, it was well worth the $1 I spent renting it from Red Box.  If you’re looking for a thought provoking evening, “Beastly” won’t fit the bill.  If, however, you’re in the mood for a cute, slightly fanciful film with some witty banter, this could be your happily ever after.

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Fairy Tale Films of March 2011

I love movies almost as much as I love fairy tales.  That being said, it should come as no surprise that I’m really looking forward to next month, when two movies based on classic fairy tales are set to be released.  Here’s a peek at the trailers, as well as my initial reactions.  I’ve divided them into pros and cons for easy reading.

Red Riding Hood – March 11

Pros: Little Red Riding Hood is a rich story, and there have been plenty of wonderful retellings of it, many of which were fantastically grim.  The movie’s plot has potential to be beautifully dark,  and the style and cinematography look gorgeous.  Not only that, but I’m excited to see that Gary Oldman is part of the cast; he always does a fantastic job and has recently had a knack for accepting roles in all the right films.  I haven’t seen much of Amanda Seyfried, but she was truly hilarious in “Mean Girls” (2004).  It should be fun to see how she handles a more serious role.

Cons: I don’t doubt Catherine Hardwicke‘s ability to direct, but I do doubt her ability to choose a good story.  “Twilight” may have been a money maker, but it was also anti-feminist fluff of the worst kind.  Yes, I’m aware that she only directed the first film, but my problem is with Meyer’s books, themselves.  I’ll admit to being suspicious that this film might go the same way, considering that it features “Little Red” being torn between two lovers.  If this movie turns out to be about how important it is to have a boyfriend, I’m going to scream.

Beastly – March 18

Pros: Neil Patrick Harris is an absolutely brilliant actor, so his involvement in this film gives me hope.  Not only that, but like Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast is a rich story that leaves plenty of room for skillful retellings and embellishments.  Placing the story in a modern setting while still keeping the magic element is an interesting choice, and I’m really excited to see where they take it.

Cons: I haven’t actually seen Mary-Kate Olsen in anything since we were both children, and I’m not convinced she has what it takes to play an effective supernatural antagonist.  I’m willing to give her a try, but I remain skeptical.  It’s also possible that this movie could turn out to be little more than a typical high school romance flick.  I mean, sure, Alex Pettyfer looks mildly unattractive with those weird, ropey markings on his face, but don’t most teen dramas feature an “unattractive” girl that turns out to be really  gorgeous once she takes off her glasses and lets her hair down?  Let’s hope it doesn’t devolve into that.

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