The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 86 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Peter Krause, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Neil Patrick Harris
Written & Directed by: Daniel Barnz (based on the novel by Alex Flinn)
Music by: Marcelo Zarvos
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 28, 2011
"Love is never ugly"
Seventeen-year-old Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is the spoiled, shallow and incredibly popular prince of his high school kingdom. Kyle foolishly chooses Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), a witch masquerading as a high school student, as his latest target for humiliation. In order to teach Kyle a lesson, Kendra transforms him into someone as unattractive on the outside as he is on the inside. Now he has one year to find someone to love him, or he will remain Beastly forever. A quiet classmate he never noticed named Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) may be his best chance to prove that love is never ugly.
Attempting films/remakes based on beloved classics can be a delicate matter. Beauty and the beast is a timeless fairytale that has been successfully adapted for screen, stage, and television. The 1991 Disney animated musical version is considered a classic and is a personal favorite. Seeing the trailer for Beastly piqued my curiosity but I didn't hold out much hope for a fulfilling experience based upon what I saw. This contemporary take on the story revolves around a teen that has been taught by his vain father that the better looking you are the further you will get in life. When he gets on the wrong side of a fellow student that practices black magic she decides to teach him a lesson. She transforms him into a scarred/disfigured beast and tells him he will remain that way forever unless he can find someone to fall in love with him within one year's time. The plot continues in the spirit of the fairytale as he becomes a loner left to suffer his fate. His only companions being his housekeeper and a blind tutor, arranged by his father. When unforeseen circumstances place a girl from his school (who he barely noticed) in his care, he begins to understand and see things in a different light. In order to love and be loved he must learn that beauty is more than skin deep.
I like the idea of contemporizing this fairytale however this adaptation is poorly conceived. The script is lifeless and shallow. Aimed at the teen demographic the situations, dialogue and characters are way too campy to be taken seriously. This is a distinct lack of direction that along with a dismal subplot dilutes the story's moral center and emotive connection. What we are left with is a boring tween romance where the romance is barely lukewarm. This certainly isn't helped by the mannequin like performances of leads Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens. Thanks goodness for Neil Patrick Harris and Lisa Gay Hamilton who carry the scenes they are in, although admittedly there is little to work with. Luckily this film's 86 minute runtime kept it moving (I did check my watch at least twice though). I consider myself a bit of a romantic and am generally willing to forgive a weak narrative in favor of likeable characters and a decent payoff. Unfortunately Beastly's problems run too deep and result in an uninteresting film that comes nowhere close to the better adaptations of its source material.
The rating is for language including crude comments, brief violence and some thematic material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Beastly comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate 2.1 Mbps.
In looking at this video presentation as a whole I found it to be satisfactory but not among the better Blu-ray titles I have seen in high definition. Contrast is held in check and blacks are deep but slightly crushed. Shadow detail isn't definitive however depth of field during low level segments is appreciable. Color balance is good as both primary and secondary are cleanly rendered with a pleasing level of saturation and depth. Skin tones have warm, delineated highlights and lifelike variety. Resolution and clarity is estimable although definition can be a bit inconsistent which leaves some shots appearing flat with the finest gradations obscured. This appears innate and affects both wide angle and close ups. Luckily it isn't prevalent as more often than not images appear well resolved with discernible definition and appreciable rendering of fine detail. A light veneer of grain provides texture however its inconsistent rendering can be a bit distracting. Otherwise the presentation looked solid.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has good dynamic range and detail rich clarity that enables the detection of subtle background sounds within the acoustic environment created by the surround mix. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel which clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and tonal balance within the front soundstage. Low frequency effects aren't intense but the subwoofer is kept busy as it works in tandem with the rest of the system to appropriately convey the low level bass associated with the film's recorded elements.
- (HD) Alternate ending - 10 minutes
- (HD) 3 deleted scenes
- (HD) A classic story retold: The story of Beastly - 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Creating the perfect beast - 5 minute featurette
- (HD) Be mine music video by Kristina and The Dolls
- BD-Live enabled
Based on the novel of the same name by Alex Flinn, Beastly suffers from a poorly conceived script, lackluster direction and boring performances. The final result is an uninteresting film that comes nowhere close to the better adaptations of its source material. It makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition video quality, crystal clear lossless sound, and a bland assortment of bonus features that do little to enhance the experience. If you already happen to be a fan this release is probably already on your radar. Otherwise it's a pass.
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