Customer Review

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tale as old as...*YAWN*, August 19, 2011
This review is from: Beastly (DVD)
Beastly. First it was a book based off the tale, Beauty and the Beast. Then, when producers saw how much money it drew from the teen and tween crowd, it became a movie starring Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens.

Kyle Kingston is a self-absorbed teenager, son of a similarly self-absorbed reporter. He has been raised to admire two things in life: money and good looks. When he upsets a witch, Kendra, he is cursed with being ugly and having to find someone to love him before the year is out. Will Kyle find his true love or will he be ugly forever?

I read the book back in March and my overall thoughts were this:

"This book was a fun timewaster, but I think it could have been a lot better. I remember reading Robin McKinley's Beauty and being enchanted; years later, I hunted down the book and bought it (and have plans to reread--eventually). But I just don't see this book lasting very long, not with the very specific culture references. And we all know how long culture trends and fads last...
Now that I've read it, I think I'm probably going to sell it back; it's just not one of those books I want to keep on my shelf and reread. However, I do have plans to see the movie; hopefully, the movie will bring some new insights."

As you expect, the movie changes quite a bit, from the names of characters ("Adrian" is now "Hunter", "Magda" is now "Zola", "Kingsbury" is now "Kingston"), to the characters themselves (Sloan goes from being vapid to being just a girl downtrodden by her boyfriend), to some events (the final climax of the book is completely omitted). Some of them make sense...and some don't.

The characters range from meh to terrible. Kyle just isn't as appealing as his book form. Here, he makes a ludicrous speech for being elected to Environmental President. Why would he do this? Nothing in his personality suggests "caring for the environment". Why couldn't he be elected student president? Why do the instructors let him get away with such a silly speech? "Elect me because I'm beautiful and you aren't"? Geesh. Kyle, once afflicted with ugliness, doesn't attempt to change into a better person, a person who gets a grip on his new features by studying and getting interested in roses. Instead, Kyle mopes around, stalking Linda until he is in love with her and THEN begins to change. But even this change is almost non-existent--when he had no character before, other than "I'm obsessed with looks", it's hard to change into anything with depth. Alex Pettifyr tries really hard in his performance, but when a lot of the character of Kyle is changed so that there really is nothing to work with, it's hard for him to succeed.

Linda has changed from nerdy, plain girl to environmental freak (in name only--she doesn't bring her own coffee cup when getting coffee or any other attribute you might find in the someone promoting greenness), feed the homeless, gorgeous Vanessa Hudgens. While she does have a spark of independence not shown in the book (such as the scene where her dad drops her off at Kyle's), overall, Linda is boring. Even more boring than her book counterpart (which, if you read my review, means a lot). And Vanessa does nothing to make it better. At one point, she looks like a dead fish as Kyle tells a story about a mother elephant returning to where her dead elephant babies were (although, I will give her this: that story was a PAINFUL way to try to woo a woman!).

Kendra the Witch looks nothing like her book counterpart. In the book, she was fat (possibly with greasy hair and acne). Casting Mary Kate as her did nothing to help it. Mary Kate is far from ugly, even in the weird getup. She didn't do terrible as Kendra, but Kendra's role was greatly reduced from the book, so it's hard to say. She was a little bit overdramatic. Will the Tutor is terribly underused. Because Kyle doesn't want to study in this version, his existence is unnecessary. Zola the Maid fairs better than her hugely stereotyped Magda. I even liked how she *wasn't* someone that the book made her to be in the end. Sloan morphs from popular girl to "Oh, I'm not so bad, it was just my boyfriend that made me that way".

But the story is where the book really falls flat. When you open to a scene where Kyle is running for president and his speech consists solely of "Vote for me, I'm beautiful", you know you have problems. The basic outline is pretty much like the book: Kyle asks Kendra on a date to humiliate her, Kendra curses him, Kyle must find someone to love him. In between, there are changes, both good and bad.

I wasn't fond of how Linda and Kyle spoke and started "clicking" before he changed "ugly". I didn't mind her having a crush on him (she did in the book), but if they had a connection before, it almost deadens the "He has to learn to fall in love" lesson. And makes it look like he would have tried to date her anyway.

I have no idea why Will was brought in. Kyle wanted to learn in the book and asked his dad for a tutor. Here, Will shows up and promptly does nothing for the rest of the movie.

Having Kyle stalk Linda before he saves her from the drug dealers was stupid. Does every teenaged romance have to have stalking now as a sign of love? And the drug dealers' scene was horribly cheesy. Although I will admit, it gave a better reason why Linda should stay with Kyle than the book did.

Most of the "chemistry" between Kyle and Linda is very sketchy and awkward.

I really hated how Kyle got into a hissy fit about Linda calling him "a good friend" and then refused to take her phone calls. Uh, dude, she's trying to clarify your relationship. You are *this close* to losing her. Get over yourself and pick up the %^&*ing phone.

The "climax" or end scene or whatever is so dull and boring, it is like dropping a brick on the floor. *THUD* Blah. Whatever.

I could probably go on like this forever (in fact, I wrote a nearly scene-by-scene rant, just to get it out of my system), but I think you get the point. The movie is definitely not as good as the book (which isn't the best of books to begin with). I do not recommend a viewing, unless you are a die-hard fan of Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, or Beauty and the Beast. Or, you are bored and need to get to sleep.

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