'Beastly': A nonthreatening 'Beauty and the Beast' for teens
The film version of "Beastly" is not as much fun as "Tangled," in part because the magical spells and exaggerated story line don't translate too well to a contemporary setting. And yet, the movie is a little better than expected.
Vanessa Hudgens, the princess of the all-singing, all-dancing "High School Musical" phenomenon (remember that?), is a free-thinking high schooler named Lindy. She's easily overshadowed by the big man on campus, Kyle (Alex Pettyfer), who has a vain, overbearing personality that Moammar Gadhafi might find a little over the top.
Kyle treats people so rudely and extols the virtues of physical beauty so relentlessly, that the school's goth-witch (Mary-Kate Olsen, formerly of the twins) has had enough. She puts a spell on him, rendering him, well, not ugly exactly, but certainly unusual-looking.
It's hard to tell what his new look is supposed to achieve. Granted, making the surfer-hunk Pettyfer (who recently went down with the ship in "I Am Number Four") resemble the Elephant Man would have been a questionable box-office decision.
The best-known screen beasts have all taken animalistic form. Not so Pettyfer: His head is shaved, a few decorous scars line his face and some ivylike tattoos wander around his body. The possibility of him looking out of place in a Manhattan nightclub -- as one scene has it -- is unlikely.
The film, adapted by director Daniel Barnz, tries to follow the lines of previous tellings of the tale: Rich boy Kyle arranges for the unsuspecting Lindy to stay with him in a lavish house, where he attempts to woo her, at least in part because the spell will wear off if love blossoms.
There's not much to it, but it's not incompetent, either. That's not exactly high praise, so adjust your standards to the 16-year-old demographic accordingly.
"Beastly" (2 1/2 stars)
A re-working of the "Beauty and the Beast" tale, drawn from Alex Flinn's Young Adult novel. Here an arrogant teenager (Alex Pettyfer) is bewitched by a spell that makes him, not ugly, exactly, just sort of oddly tattooed. Vanessa Hudgens plays the girl who sees through the surface. The movie is strictly for the teen demographic and no one else, and Neil Patrick Harris and LisaGay Hamilton provide respectable support.
Rated: PG-13 rating is for subject matter
Showing: Alderwood mall, Everett, Galaxy, Marysville, Meridian, Oak Tree, Woodinville, Cascade Mall