So, this week, I finally got round to watching the whole film.
It really wasn't that bad. I would maybe even go so far to say that I actually enjoyed it. In the same way I enjoy films like Mean Girls and She's All That.
It is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, a classic story of love conquering all. In Beastly, the 'Beast' is a stereotypical well off New York teenager who has it all - the popularity to win the class election, the girl, the looks. And the nasty mean streak. 'Beauty' is the studious, hard working good girl who cares about the environment and other people. The witch is exactly that. No hiding, no pretending. A good old fashioned punky goth witch. With kick ass clothes and make up!
|Kyle (Alex Pettyfer)|
|Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens)|
|Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen)|
|Kyle as Hunter (Alex Pettyfer)|
- I really liked the cinematography on this film. In a world where every man and his dog have a Canon 7D and can therefore make a film, there are far too many films made with dodgy, moving point of view shots. One thing that struck about Beastly was it's rather more classical cinematography, with many shots framed as talking heads and good use of the rule of thirds. The lighting and use of depth of field as a framing device really worked as well.
- I also really liked the costume design, particularly the costumes for Kendra. I think that might be a fairly obvious observation by me, but whilst Kendra was obviously styled in a modern goth way, it wasn't a caricature, or over the top. The attention to detail and the sense of style woven into the characters outfits, hair and make up really stood out as well crafted and thought out. Top marks to Suttirat Larlarb (costume designer) and Annick Chartier (make up)!
- It wasn't as disparaging about tattoos and piercings as I feared it would be. I was still left with a slight impression that tattoos and facial piercings are somewhat undesirable, but it wasn't as strong as the trailer possibly suggested. In fact, the tattoos that were part of the spell cast on Kyle were well done, in particular the magical tree that serves as his timeline. The changes that happened to that tattoo were a nice touch:
The not so good bits
- The premise of how the 'Beast' gets 'Beauty' into his 'castle' was a bit thin. It didn't really work that well I felt, and left a few questions unanswered.
- It felt a little bit like the screenwriter had watched the video for Meatloaf's "I'd Do Anything For Love", decided to remake the film using Alex Flinn's book, but then sought further inspiration from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast". No really. The film even has the amusing sidekicks of Lumiere and Mrs Potts.
|Yes, that is NPH playing a blind guy.|
- I didn't completely feel that Kyle had learnt his lesson. Maybe he did - maybe he learned the value of the human spirit, but I wasn't convinced.
Definitely worth a watch, especially with a glass of wine!
P.S. For the purposes of this review I decided to have a look at the book that this film is based on, by Alex Flinn. I read a sample that I downloaded onto my Kindle. From the first 4 chapters I read, I can safely say that the film was much better than the book seems (and I rarely say that), but that is probably because the book is set in the 9th grade, whereas the film's characters have been made older (around 18).