Monday, March 7, 2011


So, yesterday I went with friends to see BEASTLY and I have to say it was pretty much just OK. For those who don't know, BEASTLY is a modern-day take on the "Beauty and the Beast" tale where a New York teen is transformed into a hideous monster in order to find true love. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE the story of Beauty and the Beast - hands down my favourite fairy tale and the Disney adaptation is my favourite animated feature. It's a virtual cornucopia of favourites. Well, the story is. This movie, however...well, it just doesn't hold up to expectations.

First, let me mention some of the good things. The make-up, in particular that of the witch, Kendra, and Kyle's Beast form, was original and creative. In lieu of fur, fangs, horns and claws, Kyle goes beastly with baldness, tattoos, unhealed scars and...well, ok, on his neck there were these ripples that made his skin look like tree back. I have no idea how to sum up that last one with a single word. Sorry. Anyway, point being, BEASTLY derives the Beast's ugliness from human characteristics rather than animal and in doing so gives the message that the "beastly" nature allude to in the title is all too human.

It was also great seeing some familiar landmarks. The film was filmed in Montreal so there were several scenes, in particular one shot at the train station in Hudson, that I recognized, which was a nice change from settings usually only familiar to me because of other movies.

Neil Patrick Harris gave a great performance as blind tutor, bringing a much need infusion of sarcasm to the film. Likewise, Alex Pettyfer's clueless actions when it came to wooing a girl unimpressed by expensive gifts threw in a nice dash of humour. I think it comes without saying that the romance element was pretty strong and for much of the movie was carried off with the air of doe-eyed innocence.

And that about dries up my "pro" list. Unfortunately, the movie was riddled with plot holes. Take, for example, the fact that, in keeping with the original fairy tale, Kyle gets the beauty, in this case a scholarship student from his private school named Lindy, to join him in his exile by blackmailing her father. Specifically, Kyle happens to witness her old man kill his drug dealer and snaps some photos on his cellphone. He then uses that information to coerce her father into agreeing to have Lindy go stay with a complete stranger (that would be Kyle) to protect her from the wrath of the drug dealer's brother. Lindy never learns of this. Seriously. He's walking around with photos of her dad and a dead drug dealer on his phone and she NEVER finds out.

Honestly, I spent most of the movie thinking she'd find out and run away, get caught by the vengeful brother of the rug dealer and Kyle, having followed after her, would end up being shot and that'd be when she'd make her declaration of love. I mean, Belle's Beast got killed by Gaston, didn't he?! He got stabbed in the back and almost fell off a parapet, for crying out loud! Not to mention backing up to where he was attacked and fought off a pack of wolves on her account. And that was on top of having fur, fangs, horns and claws! When the Beast got his "I love you" he had damn well earned it!

Kyle? Yeah, not so much.

Personally, I think y'all should hold out and pick it up on DVD. It's not a bad movie, but with movie tickets on average being over $10 these days (and I'm rounding down there, folks), it's not worth the expense, I'm afraid.

My rating: /5