UK Release Date:
Director: Daniel Barnz
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Neil Patrick Harris & Mary-Kate Olsen
As sad as it is to see HMV going down the toilet once again, there is always something you can rely on when such a huge company pops its clogs and that my friends is: The Blue-Cross sale. With 25% off almost everything in a store as cool as HMV, its been really hard for me to resist not taking a peek inside and both times I have done so, I have walked out with so much stuff its unreal but hey, at least it was cheap, right? Anyway, this isn’t a piece about me gloating at the fact I’m making a killing off of the death of one of Britain’s most famous hight street names; it’s a review so now onto the film.
So to start, I picked up this film as part of a pair in a two for £10 shelf; it looked a little strange for a six foot four inches tall guy to be carrying around a total chick flick in his hands but when the other DVD in that pair was the BBC’s serial adaptation of Pride and Prejudice it wasn’t really that damning now was it? And even so, who was going to argue with me about it? Anyway, so I picked this up above everything else because of a few things: The first of these that it starred Alex Pettyfer, whom I quite like even as a heterosexual man. He’s pretty cool and well, if I could swap lives with anyone for a day it would probably be him. The second reason is because I heard that it was basically a modern day retelling of Beauty and The Beast, which was one of my favourite Disney movies as a kid so, how bad could it be right?
So, the movie IS a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast focussing on High School Prince, Kyle [Alex Pettyfer] and his behaviour towards his fellow man, woman and child due to his vanity. Kyle has been led to believe that how people see him is directly proportional to what he looks like. Spoilt and shallow, Kyle is then transformed into something as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside after trying to humiliate a certain female student/ witch: Kendra [Mary-Kate Olsen]. Kyle now has one whole year to get someone to say those three magic words: “I love you” before the transformation becomes permanent.
Kyle and his anchorman father though have other ideas. Kyle is soon living a life of solitude within a lavish apartment with no one but his Jamaican housemaid and his newly appointed blind Tutor [Which surprising is Neil Patrick Harris] for company and time running short. His major breakthrough comes when a classmate of his, whom has been nothing but invisible most of her School life becomes the target of Kyle’s affections. Cue our Belle replacement, Lindy [Vanessa Hudgens] whom is soon living with Kyle, the Housemaid and Neil Patrick Harris as Kyle begins his miraculous transformation from self-loving jerk to most benevolent human being on the planet.
Although an interesting take on that good ol’ “Tale as Old as Time”, Beastly is missing some of the key magical elements that the original Beauty and the Beast has; maybe it’s the fact that they replaced the cool talking furniture characters with nothing but a housemaid and a blind man. Or maybe it’s because Beastly doesn’t quite rock the same amazing musical numbers as the original animated adventure did. I just don’t know but it just wasn’t as magical as The Beauty and The Beast that I grew up with as a child. Even though Pettyfer, Hudgens, Olsen and even NPH give some quite good performances; this film was if anything mediocre. It just goes to show that some classics don’t need that modern day retelling and that maybe, just maybe, that magic we’re all looking foir in films can be found by looking back rather than looking forward.