Sunday, May 18, 2014

Movie Review: Beastly

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Title: Beastly
Author: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens
Genre: Romance, fairy-tales, fantasy, drama
My Rating: ****
Official Rating: PG-13 (for language including crude comments, brief violence, and some thematic material)
Age Group: 18+ (due to the crude comments)

Summary: Kyle is a jerk. Like, a super big totally nasty jerk who says whatever he wants and gets away with it, and his choices when it comes to comments are nothing but cruel. He lives by his father's philosophy that how much people like you is directly proportional to how good you look. Lucky for Kyle he's pretty attractive.
But when Kyle messes with the wrong girl, his days of spewing insults are over. His father leaves him in a secluded house because he has become so ugly that he doesn't want anyone to see his son. Kyle is trapped with his ugliness, a kind housekeeper, a blind tutor, and the knowledge that if he can't get someone to say "I love you" within the year, he'll be ugly forever.
Beauty and the beast, pure and simple. Right?

Word of Warning
In all honesty, there wasn't much here except for the really cruel and nasty comments. The first ten minutes of the movie are maddening and make it nearly impossible to like Kyle. They're so bad that only the promise of the beauty and the beast story kept me watching. I'm glad I did, but more on that later. Some things to watch out for:
  • Kyle has numerous moments where he is shirtless, sometimes for no apparent reason.
  • The movie starts with Kyle working out shirtless and in his boxers. As the scene changes to one of the town, we see advertisements which include a young woman lying on her side wearing a bra and panties, along with a few other skimpy shots.
  • Kyle and others throw around the words slut, witch, bitch, and a**.
  • Kyle's father is horrible. First he essentially ignores his son, then when his son becomes ugly, he locks him away from the public and though he continues to support him financially, he never goes to visit and eventually Kyle just asks that they stop pretending and that ends all contact other than money.
  • The insults, as mentioned above, fly constantly for the first part of the movie. So much so that they comprise nearly all of the dialogue.
  • Kyle is cursed by a witch and there are a few minutes where he staggers about hallucinating.
  • Kyle's face and body are transformed to be ugly. He is covered in twisting tattoos that mirror a tree's branches and roots, his face becomes red and puckered and has red slashes running across it. If you want to see how bad this is, all you have to do is look at the cover of the DVD to decide whether this is too much for the audience you intend to show the movie to.
  • Kyle is a reckless motorcycle driver.
  • The tutor remarks that at fifteen, his friends lost their virginity, and he lost his sight. He adds that chicks dig blind guys, and Kyle mourns that chicks don't dig ugly guys. He also makes a remark later to a girl about aliens building rooftop creations which they used to capture virgin human girls and use them for breeding. He quickly adds that this is a joke, albeit a distasteful one.
  • Kyle's former online profile reads: Interests: Anything bangable.
  • Kyle shouts "Jesus!" when startled.
  • A father figure is known to be doing drugs and at one point over-doses and ends up in the hospital (we hear all of this off screen). He is also the cause of a main character's stress as she is constantly worrying about him and trying to fix his life.
  • Kyle's mother leaves him without explanation. Lindy's dies of some unknown cause and she doesn't know what it is.
  • We are almost completely lacking in good parent roles in this movie--except the role of the maid who is working to bring her children into the country and misses them dearly.
  • A man gets in a fight which involves paying a debt. The victim ends up shooting the one asking for money. We hear two gunshots and then we see the dead man lying on his back but the scene is dark.
  • There are, I believe, about five or six kisses total, none too passionate.
  • One couple who is not the focus does get a bit passionate in their kisses, but we're supposed to be disgusted by this (and are).
  • Social media is used to complain about various classmates.
  • Kyle more or less spies on Lindy at the beginning of their romance (Lindy is just reading books or buying candy). This is portrayed as sweet, but really, looking back to the scenes where he stands across the street, hoodie pulled over his face, and watches her, it's a bit creepy.

My Thoughts
I admit it. I was disgusted--with the first part of the movie. I watched it for the storyline and because I like Alex Pettyfer as an actor, and I honestly could not bring myself to like his character while he was being a jerk. At all. Couldn't even bring myself to make excuses for him like "his dad's so mean, he has no idea how to be good" or whatever.
Then I got to watch his character learn how to love. He learned that love couldn't be bought, and he learned that love wasn't merely an attraction. Possibly the most beautiful part of the beauty and the beast story is when the beast sends the beauty back to the real world because he believes that is what is best for her. Watching Kyle reach the point where he did this not because he knew it was true love, but because he just knew it was right, well that was pretty darn awesome.
Did it have any unique twists to the original story? Not really. It was adjusted to be modern, but nothing very unique. That gets me thinking though. Do we really need a unique twist for this story? Personally, I think it's just too good a story to need anything but what it already has.
So, beauty and the beast, pure and simple. And that's a good thing.

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