The novel Beastly by Alex Flinn is phenomenal. The movie version of Flinn's modern Beauty and the Beast tale, Beastly, is just that, a modern Beauty and the Beast that draws very loosely on Flinn's novel.
Let's begin with Alex Pettyfer as Kyle: Superb. In the movie, he may be Kyle Kingson instead of Kyle Kingsbury, he may do different things for Lindy's love but the essence of Kyle is the same (entirely to Alex's credit). Alex read the novel in preparation for the role. His performance as Kyle redeems this film for all its changes. NPH and the actress who plays Zola (Magda) are also wonderful; the regrettable thing about them is that isn't more scenes with the three of them in the movie. Mary Kate Olsen was surprisingly spot-on as Kendra, Kudos to MK for that! Vanessa, I saved her for last. I'm not the HSM type but I went into the movie giving her the benefit of the doubt. She was not bad, she did not ruin the movie (not that it would have been possible for her to do so given Alex's loaded with heart performance). The flirty, cutesy scenes between her and ALex were quite sweet but when it came to the scenes where she should have dug deeper like when her father overdoses or when she is about to leave for Macchu Picchu, the girl just is detached, flat--she doesn't bring the emotion.
Now for the changes between the novel and the movie. The name changes are minor and I didn't mind them so much except for Kyle's Beast name being Hunter instead of Adrian that bugs me because there is a reason why he chose the name Adrian. A change I did enjoy was the choice of makeup for the Beast. In the book, he is a fabulous furry beast which I love but I found the make up in the movie rich, fascinating, and unique! In the movie. there is more interaction between Kyle and Lindy pre-Transformation which works for the movie. Lindy comes to live with Kyle through different means which I have certain issues with: 1. Her father is all torn up about sending her to Kyle. Lindy's Dad is a jerk in the book and that's part of the great grit of the novel, he has no qualms about trading his daughter for his own safety I wish they would have kept that grit in the movie. 2. They set it up like Lindy will be in danger from her Dad's dealer but they don't follow through. In the book, it is the dealer that comes after her, why they don't follow through with this perplexes me. 3. Lindy has contact with the outside world in the movie, Hunter builds the greenhouse for her but he does not make her room. In the novel, he builds the green house for himself as he learns to appreciate simpler beauty that's part of the character's arc, why change it? She is supposed to be isolated like him and making her room shows how much he cares, again character arc. Iconic elements from the book are missing: snowball fight, dancing, subway, Halloween, mirror, Kendra/Madga twist at the end and Will doesn't really tutor him which totally contradicts the book. But all the changes are things that I could accept. Kyle is still cursed, still falls in love with a girl named Lindy, and still learns his lesson. However, movie Lindy is not book Lindy at all. Book Lindy= sweet, doe-eyed, and dreamy. In the movie, she is stronger and more confident. I'm all about strong, independent heroines but, book Lindy was also admirable. There is one thing that I can't forgive and that truly disappoints me: the ending. At the end, she simply says I love you and he changes back and voilà--kiss in the middle of the street--The End. WHAT??!! The end in the book is heart-wrenching, beautiful, and poignant. It's a 'I can't read fast enough, oh God what's going to happen, tears welling up, epic' ending. Adrian (Kyle) is wounded rescuing Lindy and the beast dies, only to be transformed and revived, in a beautiful swirl of white roses, back to life and back to Kyle. The ending in the movie is anti-climatic even for the movie which as a whole is softer and lighter than the book.
So should you go see? Yes, go see it. Alex Pettyfer is too wonderful to miss. But if you have read the book, go into the movie knowing that it is not Flinn's novel brought to life on the silver screen. If you have not read the book yet, see the movie first--I think you'll enjoy it more that way. I've seen it twice. I enjoyed the second viewing more because I went into it accepting it for it is, loosely based on the novel. Alex is even better the second time. The end is still anti-climatic but it's a sweet Beauty and the Beast story.
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