- Image via Wikipedia
(I’m finally getting around to posting a review for this…)
“Beauty and the Beast” is one of my all time favorite fairy tales, so naturally I was curious about the modern retelling of the classic story in the recent movie titled “Beastly”. But as a fan of the story, I was greatly let down and left feeling rather cheated at the end.
I’ll start with a look at the characters.
Kyle is a rich, High School senior who is good-looking and knows it. He’s your classic jerk, telling the world that beauty is everything and sticking his nose up at anyone who doesn’t meet his good-looking standards. (He was given his ideals from his dad who is a very successful news anchor.) But he takes things a little too far when he publicly humiliates his old girl-friend, Kendra, (who just happens to be a witch) and she casts a spell of ugliness on him. He goes from being this tall, blond hunk, to bald and covered with crazy tattoos and scars. The effect is a mix between scary and yikes. Kyle now has a year to find someone to love him the way he is, or he will stay the way he is forever. Upon discovering him, Kyle’s dad is horrified at the sight of his son’s “new look” and loosely put, hides him away from the world. (No, it wasn’t in a dark castle in the middle of a forest.)
Kyle’s character can be described as a modern Beast. Rich, spoiled prince type with everything he could ever want, surrounded by beautiful people eating out of his hand. He’s an egotistical, self-centered jerk. Once the spell was placed over him, as Kendra put it, Kyle became as beautiful on the outside as he was on the inside.
I don’t know what exactly they were trying to do with this character, but whatever it was, in my opinion, it didn’t work. If they wanted her to be as loving as Bell, they messed it up by giving her an attitude problem and in all honestly, Lindy was no Bell. Her character felt shallow. The movie tries to give us a little glimpse into her life, showing us her drug addict father, and has her tell us she’s the only person to take care of him, but that’s it.
When Kyle first meets Lindy before he was “cursed”, you instantly knew there was an attraction between the two of them, and when he became “The Beast”, he secretly watched her from afar, hoping that maybe, she might be “the one”. How Lindy ends up becoming his “guest/prisoner” is quite different from the classic tale. Kyle witnesses her father kill a drug dealer who was threatening to kill Lindy. Wanting to be close to Lindy, Kyle makes her father an offer; have Lindy come stay with him for her own protection while her father sorts things out. So, Lindy is sent away to stay with Kyle and she goes kicking and screaming. Instead of her willingly sacrificing her own freedom for her father’s sake, this Bell makes sure her father (and Kyle) knows, she is not happy and wants out.
Now, if my dad did this to me, I’d be pretty upset too, but her dad was trying to protect her and compared to Bell’s act of love for her father, this little twist made me squirm. Plus, the whole scene with the drug dealers and Kyle’s offer felt a bit out of place and just a little too convenient. Beast needs a Bell to stay with him… hmmm… doesn’t look that’s going to happen, wait! Let’s throw this there to make it happen!
3. The Witch/Kendra
I won’t go too much into her character, just to say that she was creepy, weird and odd. I don’t like witches as good guys because of what they really are. Her character did do some good deeds for people at the end of the film, but she still gave you the shivers. One thing though, her character helped make the ending, really.
4. Mrs. Potts and Lumiere?
Zola is a maid who works for Kyle and his dad. Though her character doesn’t have many lines or much screen time, her character could almost be the modern and human version of Mrs. Potts. She believes in Kyle and despite his physical appearance, still cares for his well-being.
Will isn’t exactly Lumiere, he is Kyle’s blind tutor, but he does help Kyle see that appearance isn’t everything. Honestly, I think Will was the best character in the whole movie. He was witty, and wasn’t afraid to tell Kyle what for. When he firsts knocks on Kyle’s door Kyle asks “who’s there” and Will responds with, “Marry Poppins”.
This can be summed up with three words; language and sexual content. It drives me crazy how Hollywood HAS to put that stuff in there, they can’t just tell a good story, they have to coat it with such garbage. The story wasn’t all that incredible to begin with, but the added language and sexual garbage just made it worse. (There were a few, questionable parties Kyle and Lindy attended as well.)
Kyle did show an act of selflessness by letting Lindy go when she wanted to even though it meant he would never break the cure, and the movie did try to show that true beauty isn’t just skin deep.
There was one cute/romantic thing I liked in the movie. Lindy loved roses, so Kyle turned the roof of the house they were living in, into a green-house full of roses.
A Love Story?
This could have been a beautifully love story about selflessness and the importance of in-ward beauty verses out-ward beauty, but in reality it wasn’t. I like sappy romantic chick-flicks just like any girl out there, but the romance in “Beastly” was painful, and I mean painful. It wasn’t even cute. (I had an allergic reaction to something that night and broke out in hives. Part of me wonders if the reaction had anything to do with the extremely corny “romance”. *wink*)
Plus, I didn’t get the feeling that either Kyle or Lindy actually, deeply loved each other. It was just another teen romance thing. All in all, this story could have been told so much better than it really was.
Quite frankly, and from a storyteller’s perspective, it was not written well.
It is that Hollywood just can’t make a film about sacrificial love? Or were they trying to produce something else? Whatever it was, “Beastly” was sorely lacking in every element that makes for a good story with great characters. It was missing everything that made “Beauty and the Beast” what it was. Though it did have a message of “the beauty on the inside is more important than the beauty on the outside”, it never made that hit home in the end. The curse was broken and everyone lived happily ever after, but the reason for it all, the deeper truth, that surface was barely scratched.
In the end, “Beastly” was just what Kyle was; it looked good on the outside, but when you really looked inside, it wasn’t all that pretty. The heart of what this story was meant to be, and what this modern retelling could have been was just not there.
I’d give this movie 2 out of 5 stars. **