Thursday, March 3, 2011

REVIEW: Beastly


Alex Pettyfer,
Vanessa Hudgens


March 4, 2011

Daniel Barnz

CBS Films (Sony)

1 hour 26 minutes



After an eight month long hiatus, eager fans of Vanessa Hudgens are finally able to see what she's been cooking up for the past two years. Well, later in the month we'll see Sucker Punch. But for now, she stars in the 'Beauty and the Beast' knockoff, Beastly. Beastly also stars I Am Number Four's Alex Pettyfer, Neil Patrick Harris, and Mary Kate (sorry, no Ashley) Olson. I wasn't sure what to expect with this movie, especially since we all know what's going to happen in the end. But for me, I found it to be sweet, romantic, amusing, and somewhat heartwarming. Beastly proves that even the most ugly thing in the world can be the most beautiful, well for one person at least.

Kyle is the typical kind of high schooler who thinks he's all that, when in fact he is just a Wealthy, Popular, Arrogant guy who really has nothing good about himself. This is mostly based on the fact that his newsman dad has no time for Kyle, and all of the time for everyone else. But after messing with a school girl, who isn't the prettiest girl in school, but certainly not the ugliest, she curses Kyle with his skin showing the ugliness within himself, showing him how it feels to be ugly. He then has one year to find someone who can see the beauty within Kyle, and have romantic feelings for the "beast." Only then when someone truly loves him that the spell will be broken.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this movie, since many have been waiting for this since the 26 second teaser debuted with The Twilight Saga: New Moon back in November 2009. That first teaser didn't appetise me at first, but it did satisfy many moviegoers. Then the second trailer was released with the still unseen The Back Up Plan, back when the movie was coming out on July 30, 2010. Then I was satisfied, but no too satisfied. Then Charlie St. Cloud was coming out, so Sony decided to push this all the way to March 2011. As shocking as this was, I could keep my patience rolling. But at last, it finally is here. I did enjoy the movie quite more than I expected to. I laughed a lot, especially at Neil Patrick Harris, who practically stole the movie. The makeup looked absolutely terrific and realistic. I'm not sure whether or not that this will be nominated for Best Makeup at next year's Oscars, but for me it is my top candidate of the year so far. The movie isn't perfect, so let me point out some reasons why.

First off was the acting. The only unbelievable acting to me was Alex Pettyfer, who played the main character Kyle. I only keep remembering that he is still making his transition into American films, so his acting probably will still be shaky for another few films, so we will wait and see how well his acting improves. Hey don't get me wrong, Alex Pettyfer isn't a terrible actor, like Hayden Christenson. The only way I can describe him is a guy version of Kristen Stewart, the chick from 'Twilight.' She has the same shtick in those movies, like Alex Pettyfer. But slowly yet surely, they are both becoming better actors, and more believable after every movie. Now to get off the Beast, lets go to the Beauty and the other house residents. Vanessa Hudgens has actually gotten better at acting then I remember from the High School Musical movies. (Yes, I did watch all three movies) I really would like to see her in more movies, and without the weight on her back known as Zac Efron, she probably can. I really enjoyed Mary-Kate Olson and Neil Patrick Harris in this movie. They possibly stole the show from their bigger co-stars. I would love to see Mary-Kate acting again. Without her sister by her side saying "You got it, dude!", she has the power to be her own person and become a possibly good actress. As for Neil Patrick Harris, well, you've got to love this guy. He is HILARIOUS!

The other thing that I was disappointed with this movie was that it was only 1 hour and 26 minutes long! Believe me, I was shocked by how short this movie is. But like the animated film Gnomeo and Juliet, it uses its time wisely to tell the story and make it feel longer than what it was. I only though the movie rushed at the beginning where it jumps from Kyle's transformation to several months later in the transformation process. Though as we got to the half hour mark, I felt that the movie got its pace on the right track, but still felt like a short time when being described as being a year. To me and my dad, the movie only felt that it was a mere couple of months rather than a full year. But still, the short time suited the movie well, and will probably satisfy the teen girl crowd who may see this movie.

Even if the acting was still under the radar line for Alex Pettyfer, I still felt that his chemistry between Vanessa Hudgens and himself did have some sparkle. I felt that it was a sweet romantic love, not the kind of dramatic love you would find on Degrassi or any Nicholas Sparks movie. It was an innocent relationship without all of the sexual content/candor that wouldn't even be needed for this movie. This is the kind of romance fantasy that could be suited for 9 and 10 year olds, like my sister, who did enjoy this movie. Teen girls will be satisfied by this movie, and probably won't even notice the short running time. Personally, I would just call this movie a rental for a sleepover or a get together. It's not really a theater experience, other than the brief overlooks of some property owned lakes and the big apple itself, New York City. Overall, this is a fantasy I would say not to miss.

So in summary, Beastly has its ups and downs, but I still enjoyed it. It may or may not appeal for everyone, but just for Neil Patrick Harris, I would say to see this movie. Like I said, this isn't a big screen movie. It's more of a "hey, there's nothing else here, so let's rent this" movie, where it doesn't have to be seen, but it will satisfy the middle school, elementary school, and young high school crowd. It also teaches a lesson on bullying, and how the effects may turn out. Of course, you won't turn into a grotesque "beast" like the main character in the movie, but karma will come back to haunt you, and you will eventually regret it. So what is so ugly about the "Beast?" I can see what people would see as ugly, but the romance in this movie certainly isn't.


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