Review of “Beastly” (the movie)

Last week my friend persuaded me to actually start reading Beastly so that when she bought the movie we could actually watch it. So I did, and fell in love with the book.

I could probably say the same thing about the movie if only I hadn’t read the book. The movie Beastly does follow the storyline of the book very closely, but with a few changes that if you read the book you might be a little annoyed.

For instance, in the book Lindy and Kyle meet once and talk for five seconds. In the movie they talk several time, and the viewer can already see a little romance brewing between the characters before Kyle turns into a beast. Which, in my head, is cheating a little, seeing as the Beast has to get someone to fall in love with him before he can be changed back.

Also, the ending was almost completely changed. I would have preferred the alternate ending as the real ending because it was a lot closer to the book, even though they still had one major flaw to it (which I will not say here because I’d rather you all go read the book to see what it is).

There were also little things: change of events (a school election rather than votes for prom court), ages, and how the green house gets built, that aren’t really that bad. They still told the story and helped it move along, even if they were different from the book.

My biggest complaint, though, was the casting of the movie, namely Vanessa Hudgens as the average looking Lindy because Vanessa Hudgens is far from average looking. Lindy is supposed to have reddish/strawberry blonde hair, freckles, and crooked teeth. Vanessa Hudgens… well.. we all already know that she is pretty flawless looking. Her acting abilities made Lindy come to life, except that Lindy in the movie still wasn’t really Lindy in the book. For one, I felt that I could really connect with the book worm Lindy, where movie Lindy seemed pretty popular for not being popular. Thinking about how they casted a beautiful girl as a character that’s supposed to be average looking is kind of weird for this movie. It kind of goes along with the theme that people want to watch beautiful people.

Neil Patrick Harris played the blind tutor Will which was kind of a stab to me. I love Neil Patrick Harris. His character, Barnie, in How I Met Your Mother cracks me up and I think he’s an awesome actor. But he’s not Will. Will, for one, is intelligent. Not saying Neil Patrick Harris cannot play an intelligent character, but seeing as all his characters are the comedians it’s hard to see him play an intelligent character. That’s why I cringed a little when I saw that he was playing Will. I knew right away that his character was going to be more of a comedian than he was supposed to be. After the movie was over, though, I still thought he did a very good job. No matter how hard I try, I cannot hate a character that Neil Patrick Harris plays, even if the character is completely changed because of it.

The thought of Mary Kate Olsen as the witch made me cringe a little at first too, but after seeing the movie I have to say she did a very good job at portraying the witch. The main issue I had with this character was she was really pretty, which may sound like a silly complaint. In the book, the witch is supposed to be disguised as a not-so-good-looking gothic teenager: hooked nose, bright green eyes, streaks of green in her black hair. Only after she is humiliated is she supposed reveal herself as a beautiful witch. In the movie it’s just Mary Kate Olsen with glitter and some dark eye liner. Nothing really hideous about her. She did wear some pretty awesome clothes, though. I can’t really blame her though for the way she looked. That’s all up to the director and make up/costume designer.

Finally, I think Alex Pettyfer made the perfect beast. He was very attractive and his acting like a complete jerk helped bring the character full circle. But again, his make up was less than satisfying. In the book he’s supposed to be a beast, like in Beauty and the Beast. In the movie he was given a bunch of scars and a bald head. Not quite a beast, and, in my opinion, he really wasn’t that scary to look at. It just looked like he was sick.

Now, I’m not saying don’t watch the movie, because the movie was very well done. What I am saying is if you watch the movie please don’t hesitate to read the book because, as is usually the case with books turned movie, the book is better.

Grade: C

An Ode to Books

About two weeks ago I started my summer reading extravaganza. It’s where I choose books (and right now I have a lot that I want to read so it was very tough) and make a schedule of when I would read which book. It might sound weird, but it’s a good way to keep me on track with my reading. I feel if I don’t have a reading goal set out for the day there’s a big possibility that reading will not happen, and the 30 or so books on my “to read” shelf will just sit there longer. Of course, this gets complicated when I start reading a series that I don’t have all the books to (i.e. George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones”). But my decision to that is that I will just fix my reading list when I acquire the book to fit so I can read it sooner rather than later (as in December which is where my reading list has stopped).

One of my favorite things about this list this year is that I can make it go all the way to December because I have no where to go at the end of August. I guess graduating from college has its upsides (because being thrown into the world of work for the rest of your life surely isn’t one of them).

I love to read, and wish I could have read more during those times when I was in school. But those 18 credits every semester really made it hard to do that. I also have a tendency to forget how much I really like reading until I’m immersed in the middle of a book. This is the realization that came upon me yesterday.

I had just finished up reading Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin, and I was speeding through Beastly by Alex Flinn when it hit me just how much I love reading. Every day that I have my internship I come home and instead of sitting in front of the TV to unwind, I go up to my room, sit on my bed, and read. The days I don’t have the internship, I try to spend a good chunk of my day writing and the other chunk reading.

Now I’m not saying I NEVER watch TV. Cause that’s just a lie. When I was away at school I would watch TV with my roommate, and at home I’ll watch TV while I have lunch or dinner. I find it hard to read and eat at the same time, otherwise I would probably read during lunch. But I’ve come to find that I tend to only watch TV when someone else is watching TV. That’s how I got into all the shows that I watch: through other people. And there’s only one show that I will put aside time to actually watch: Being Human.

I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about books that makes them different from TV. Maybe it’s the whole “I can use my imagination” aspect, because I love using my imagination. Maybe it’s because I like to write, but then I know a lot of writers who watch a lot of TV, so that’s probably not it.

What I do know is that books are amazing. It makes me sad when I think that books may be obsolete soon. Yes, yes I know. The e-book will still be around, but there’s something different between just reading the text and actually holding the book, being able to smell the pages, make notes, etc. But for now they’re still around, and I never plan on getting rid of the books that I have. Years from now when people say “Books? what are those?” I want to be able to smile and know that I still have them to show my kids and grandkids and great grandkids, and pass the knowledge of the book on forever. Cause I will always have a special bond with my books.

Review of “Beastly” by Alex Flinn

Everyone loves a good fairy tale. But there are only a few who can appreciate the recreation and retelling of a fairy tale to fit into today’s world, and even fewer authors who can write one without royally messing it up. Or, that’s what I think anyway.

Alex Flinn is one of those authors.

In Beastly (the book, not the movie), Alex Flinn takes the story of Beauty and the Beast and gives it a modern twist. By making the setting present day New York City, she makes the story and the characters easier to relate to. You know, beside the whole magic part. Unless you have been turned into a beast and have two years to break the curse by falling in love, then that’s a different story.

Kyle Kingsbury is handsome, rich, popular… and a jerk. When he crosses paths with a witch, even the Kingsbury charm cannot get him out of being turned into what he really is: a beast. The witch gives him two years to find someone, fall in love, and receive a true lover’s kiss. If he fails he’ll remain a beast forever.

At first, Kyle thinks all hope is lost. His father, a famous news castor, hides him from the world so no one will find out, giving him very little chances to go searching for the love of his life. Then he meets Lindy Owens and realizes that even the average looking girls can be beautiful.

It’s the same storyline as the original, besides the setting and a few minor changes with some characters. The one thing I loved about this book was the characters were so life like. I immediately hated Kyle, but slowly grew to love him throughout the story. I also could connect easily with Lindy because we are very similar. I also practically fell in love with supporting character, Will Fratalli, the blind tutor. I feel that you always can tell who a great writer is when you have some sort of feeling for all the characters, not just the main ones.

Although I loved this book, I have to admit that there were a few things that I didn’t like about it. The main issue I had was that in some spots the dialogue was unbelievable. I’d stare at the page thinking, Would anyone ever really say that? Not all the dialogue was like this, but there were a few lines.

My second issue was that part of the ending was a bit corny. And of course it was the part right after Kyle turns back to his human form. But after a few pages of corny dialogue and unbelievable actions, I was able to get right back into the story and enjoy the non-corny ending.