Teen flicks, both movie and film forms all seem to haunt one category as of late: paranormal romance. “Beastly,” based on the book by Alex Flinn, is no stranger when it comes to this trend. Starring Alex Pettyfer,, and Mary-Kate Olson, “Beastly” is a modern retelling of the classic romance story “Beauty and the Beast.”
In this version the beauty is Lindy Taylor (Hudgens), a down-to-earth girl with the dream of going on the school trip to Machu Pichu and a father who is out of control on drugs. The beast is Kyle Kingson (Pettyfer), a downright deplorable spoiled brat with a resemblance to, and, of course, the setting is flash-and-glam upstate New York.
This movie starts to get exciting when Kingson gives his candidate speech for environmental club president. His speech is, as speeches go, horrible, with a focus on how awesome Kingson thinks he looks. Not surprisingly, he ticks off Kendra (Olson), who people call “the witch.” She humiliates him, and he goes a step too far when he humiliates her back. It is then that Kendra casts a spell on him, turning him ugly and scarred. She tells him he has one year to get someone to say they love him and break the spell, or he will be stuck like that forever. Of course, that someone is Taylor.
Now, the “beauty is only skin deep” theme rang true, but the movie seemed to be lacking in a few departments. One is the dialogue. The most interesting lines in the entire movie consisted of a few witty phrases from the blind tutor. Another thing was the predictable plot. It sufficed, but there were no secret turns or twists to make the story exciting.
Another complaint is how Kingson stalked Taylor at first instead of getting to know her. Being stalked does not feel very romantic, though it occurs in many of these teen paranormal romances. Seriously, though, stalking is just creepy, and how Hudgen’s character does not notice it is beyond me.
While “Beastly” did follow the paranormal romance category clichés, it did set itself apart in that it had an important lesson about vanity. Also, the make-up that Pettyfer used in his ugly transformation looked spectacular (though I swear the scars flip sides throughout the movie). As far as paranormal romances go, this one seemed to have its heart in the right place.