Review of Beastly

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Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer star in a modern retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast. Set in New York City, a wealthy and arrogant high school student (Pettyfer) disrespects his classmate, whose secretly a witch in disguise. As a result a spell is cast on him, disfiguring his face and body. He learns that he has one year to find true love, or else he'll be stuck with this appearance forever.
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Movie Review: "Beastly"

Rating: PG-13
Length: 86 minutes
Release Date: March 4, 2011
Directed by : Daniel Barnz
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, and Romance
Stars: 2.5 out of 5

Beastly is an updated movie that follows a modern-day approach to the classic Beauty and the Beast. With Alex Pettyfer as the starring role of Kyle, or the Beast, this movie approaches teenaged love from the angle of the classic storybook. The primarily teen-based cast helps promote this retelling to teenaged and young adult audiences.

Staged in New York, Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is shown as a popular high school student who is arrogant and mischievous. He plays a prank on his classmate, Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), who in turn places a curse on him that turns him into a hideous beast. Like the classic story, Kendra (the witch) allows him a time frame for a true love to appear. If he cannot find true love, then he will be trapped as the beast forever. The plot may have been thinned to allow the beast to turn back at the words, I love you, but the implied message of loving someone for who he or she is, instead of looks, is maintained.

This PG-13 film includes some crude commentary, thematic material, and brief violence that are not age appropriate for children; however, the updated storyline is great for teens and young adults. The film includes some popular actors and actresses who play their parts with ease, such as Neil Patrick Harris who plays the blind tutor, Will, and Vanessa Hudgens, who plays Lindy, the girl who falls in love with the beast. This movie is adapted from a novel, so it is sure to have a fan following from the original work.

This isn't a simple retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and it has modern-day characters that make the story unique. Kyle's character is sent away from his home when his father discovers what has happened to his looks, starting the movie off with a look into how the character has become as selfish and arrogant as he is.

There are no singing candle sticks or armoires, but instead there are characters who try to help the beast see who he is inside, such as the maid and the blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris). The two together serve as his guidance while he eventually comes to care for Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens). The beast shows his unhappiness with who he has become in a variety of ways throughout the film, but one of the most noticeable is that he gives a false name to Lindy when they meet. Over time, he does warm up to her character and they inevitably fall in love like the classic story.

Neil Patrick Harris serves as comedic relief throughout the film, which prevents the darker side of the story from weighing down the young-adult film. He seamlessly plays his role as the blind tutor, aiding the beast in finding love within him and with another, while continuing to keep the plot line flowing with amusing gestures and humorous lines.

Together, the cast of Beastly works to create a unique version of the tale that has modern-day twists that are sure to please any teenager or young adult audience member. The moral of the story remains the same, and it is insistent throughout the film that the characters stay focused on inner beauty, inner strength, and how people are unique. The film's script is kept basic enough for younger audience members and allows for a number of themes to present in a way that young adults can appreciate.

This charming and witty tale is great for anyone looking to add the updated classic to his or her repertoire.