Beastly on Blu-ray and DVD

Thursday, 01 September 2011 00:00

In a society that worships good looks, it’s difficult to get those who have been submerged in this culture for all their lives, where beauty really is only skin deep. The age-old tale “Beauty and the Beast” has had a spruce-up so that the modern mystical and vampiric audiences can more easily bit into it. Teenage angst, tortured souls, brooding sexual undercurrents all combine to make “Beastly” a revamp in the truest sense.

Step forward Alex Pettyfer, fresh from success as John Smith in “I Am Number Four”, and still smarting from his time as Alex Rider in “Stormbreaker”, when a good film was ignored and didn’t launch a franchise.  Partner him with Vanessa Hudgens - Tin Tin in “Thunderbirds” (2004), but unfortunately also Gabriella in “High School Musical” – and you have a magical combination of lead actors.

Beastly comes to Blu-ray and DVDHowever, lifting this movie truly to another level is Mary-Kate Olsen (Michelle Tanner in Full House, Union in “The Wackness”), teased by her school for looking and acting like a witch who, guess watch, really does have mystical powers, which means you really, really do not want to cross her.

So, here we have seventeen year old Kyle (Pettyfer), a thoroughly spoiled, shallow but for some unexplained reason incredibly popular alpha males of his high school. A complete narcissist, using his physical appearance as a weapon against all and sundry, Kyle foolishly chooses Kendra (Olsen) as his latest target for humiliation – Kendra sees through his act, and realises his running for school office will benefit no-one else but Kyle.

Kendra decides to teach him a lesson, transforming him into someone as unattractive on the outside as he is on the inside, with a line in burst blood vessels, tattoos and scars on his face which is both unusually absorbing but also deeply disturbing. The spell gives him just one year to find someone who can see past the surface scars and love him for what lies beneath. If he fails, he will remain disfigured, “beastly”, forever.

Forced to ‘up sticks’ and move away from his home by his equally shallow and vain newsreader father (Peter Krause), Kyle relies initially on his maid Zola (Lisa Gay Hamilton) for support. At this point, as he is unable to make the step to return to school, Will, a blind teacher (played by the ever-scene-stealing Neil Patrick Harris) is brought in to continue his tutorage.

Several months pass, and the clouds of depression continue for Kyle, despite the excellent efforts of Will and Zola to make him see the world with a different perspective. Finally, he leaves his virtual prison and stumbles back into Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), someone he knew just in passing at his former school. When Lindy’s drug-addicted father lands her in trouble with a local gang, Kyle is only too delighted to provide the sanctuary that she desperately needs.

Kyle rechristens himself Hunter, and this act of kindness is the beginning of a long courtship. However, the clock is now ticking down ever-faster, and his year to find true love is almost up.

Without doubt, the trio of young stars help lift this film from what could have been a very mundane exercise in retreading a classic, to something far more than the sum of its parts.  Neil Patrick Harris puts in a turn that is very similar to a human ‘Yoda’, and gets all the best one-liners throughout the film.

One for all the family, and although it would be very easy to say that this rides on the coat-tails of the likes of “Twilight” and True Blood, it brings something fresh to the table, which should allow it space in your viewing schedule.

Extras on the release include:

  • “A Classic Tale Retold: The Story of Beastly”
  • “Creating the Perfect Beast”
  • “Be Mine” - Kristina and the Dolls Music Video
  • Alternate Ending
  • Deleted Scenes

“Beastly” is out now from Lionsgate Home Entertainment (© 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc, All Rights Reserved). It has a running time of 95 minutes approx, a ‘12’ certificates, and RRPs of £19.99 (DVD) and £22.99 (Blu-ray & DVD Double Play Pack), or get either for less at

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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