Beastly is a 2011 fantasy-romance film written and directed by Daniel Barnz; and stars Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer. The film is a modern adaptation of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast set in modern-day New York City. In addition to the updated location, the story is told from the point of view of Kyle Kingsbury, a wealthy and arrogant high school student that eventually becomes “Hunter” or, as you may know him best from other stories, the beast. The film is based of the 2007 novel by Alex Flinn of the same name.
Much like the classic Disney version of the story Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is cursed by a witch, who in this adaptation is one of his classmates Kendra Hilferty (Mary-Kate Olsen) because he picks on her for being ugly and strange. As a result of the curse Kyle turns into a bald and his body becomes covered with tattoos and scars. She tells him that he has until the following spring to find someone who truly loves him or he will be forced to stay this way forever.
Eventually Kyle becomes enamored with a girl from his former school named Lindy Taylor (Vanessa Hudgens) and the rest is history. Though it’s not really a spoiler since the story has been told so many times, I’ll still leave it up to your viewing to see how it all ends.
The best this this film has going for it is that it’s a Sony release. And as such it gets a pretty top of the line 1080p (2.35:1) transfer. Though it’s not perfect, it’s pretty darn great! The images of the film are often on the warm side, which I’m sure was a choice made by the cinematographer, and as such the skin tones are nice, clean, and fairly realistic. Skin textures were pretty spot on for most of the characters. Vanessa Hudgens is constantly caked in make-up so discerning any texture on her face is a losing battle; however the textures that made up Kyle’s wounds were amazingly crisp; luckily for them they had a talented person applying the prosthetics or the level of clarity could have ruined quiet a few shots. As always with a Sony release, the blacks are deep and inky with no noticeable artifacts to ruin the image.
Sony’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack never disappoints and this release proves it. Obviously this release isn’t going to rely on explosions and gunfire to get you by so if you were hoping for bass-raddling sounds look elsewhere. However that isn’t to say what the film does offer isn’t offered top notch. This is a teen drama, and as such, it relies heavily on dialogue which is carried nicely across the speakers in a very crisp and clean manner. The underscore is often faint but always felt as it sings it’s way throughout the film. There are times it’s more noticeable, but it’s never under nor over imposing.
Unfortunately for all the amazing things Sony is able to do with their audio and video quality they never seem to be able to add a reasonable amount of special features. I realize it doesn’t all rest on Sony’s shoulders; perhaps the filmmakers or cast were too lazy to do anything more, who knows? Either way this release isn’t bare bones, but it isn’t exactly loaded with as many features as I expect a good release to have. What we do get is pretty decent and well worth watching if you’re a fan of supplemental material. Check out the special features below:
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes: Hunter Emerges Into the City, Hunter Climbs a Crane, and Climbing Into the Zoo.
- A Classic Tale Retold: The Story of Beastly
- Creating the Perfect Beast: A look at the evolution and
- Music Video
- Previews of Additional Sony titles
I’ll first start off by noting that if you’re a fan of the movie then this is certainly a great release for you to own. The final rating for the film is brought to 3.5 out of 5 based, in large part, to the very limited amount of special features. As you read above, the audio and video quality is quiet nice so don’t let the rating number discourage you from your purchase.
If you’ve never seen the film, but are interested I’d certainly say it’s worth the money. The audio and video quality are up to par with what you’d expect from Sony with a few minor faults that aren’t found in the triple A titles; however this release is nothing to scoff at. If you’re interested I’d certainly say purchase. I definitely don’t see this getting a better release anytime in the near future.