October 14, 2012

Book v/s Movie Review 1: Beastly

I've read so many versions of Cinderella, and encountered such a lot of Modern Day retelling - that I was actually quite pleased to come across Alex Flynn's Beastly. As can be understood by the title itself, Beastly borrows its storyline from the children's fairytale, The Beauty and The Beast. Only this time, the settings are modern and our protagonists are high school students.

I'd once gone to a bookstore which proudly bore the legend, "Never judge a book by its movie". And I couldn't agree more. I'd ordered this book from flipkart (though I don't even remember how I'd come across it in the first place...must be thanks to the amount of window shopping I do online), and waited impatiently for the book to arrive.

When the book did arrive, I finished it off within two-days. (Yes, I have been able to finish really fat books, really fast thanks to this wonderful talent of speed reading that I have). And I have to say, I was extremely impressed with Beastly. This was the first time I was reading a novel by Alex Flynn, and I didn't know what to expect.

She uses Kyle/Adrian's (the Beast) perspective to narrate the story. This element of the novel, I found particularly intriguing. Most of the teen novels we read these days are narrated from the girl's point of view. It was refreshing to find a story written from the guy's point.

The basic plot of the story goes like this: Kyle has always been very conceited about his looks, and he makes the mistake of insulting a witch in his class. She in turn curses him that unless he finds true love in his hideous form, he is going to look like a beast forever. Kyle, of course, doesn't believe her. But when the curse comes true, he begins to panic and thus begins his quest to find true love...

Wikipedia lists most of the differences between the novel and the movie. But here's one I'd like to point out, somehow I felt Lindy should have been played by a redhead and crooked teeth. Half the point of Kyle falling in love with Lindy, was because she wasn't beautiful. You just cannot bring a very pretty looking brunette, Vanessa Hudgens, into the picture and make her play Lindy's role. It's too much of the artistic liberty.

While Alex Pettyfer did a good job of playing Kyle, Lindy should've been played by an lesser known or new actress. I don't even want to start how the whole Magda-Kendra thing was completely ignored. Wiki claims that the film was "loosely based" on the book. It seems to me, that the only thing common between the movie and the book, is the curse.

The one good thing about the movie was Niel Patrick Harris playing Kyle's blind tutor, Will.

No wonder the copy of Beastly that I've comes with a stamp saying, "Read it, before you see it." How I wish I'd never seen it. I should've been happy and realized that books that get turned into movies, have always been one thing: disappointments.

So the verdict is this: Go get yourself a copy of the book. And forget a movie was ever made.

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