I got the chance to attend the advance movie screening of Beastly before I went for holiday vacation last week. I’ve been aiming to post a comparison of the book and the movie since then, but for some reasons I only got to do it now. Beastly is a modern adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Neil Patrick Harris. Like with most adaptations, certain elements from the book are lost when adapted to the screen, but the main plot remains the same.
Kyle from the book is a hairy monster with fangs and claws, while in the movie he was being tattooed all over with fresh wounds and scars. This change is actually a good one. It made the beast more relatable and acceptable. I just can’t imagine how a real beast would actually exist in our modern day and most especially in a crowded place like New York city. The movie made him ugly in a deformed way and not supernatural which still brings the point of the story – bringing his real look outside like what he is inside. This was suppose to be the modern version and I think it was a success.
In the book, Kyle was given two years to break the spell by finding someone to kiss him out of love and he should also love her, while in the movie he was given only a year to find someone who should tell him she love him sincerely. I didn’t mind much about the time span differences or the procedure of breaking the spell, these were minor alterations. Though I think the kiss is more romantic than having someone just tell you they love you. And the execution, that is another thing which I will expand more later.
There’s a chat room where the Beast join from time to time to have a conversation with other creatures who were also cursed. That part wasn’t included in the movie. Though it’s just another minor alteration, it would still add more fun to the movie if added. The other fairy tale creatures like the silent mermaid (Ariel from The Little Mermaid), Froggie (to be transformed from a kiss) and Grizzlyguy were simply adorable. Their conversation about their fairytale transformations were like little funny snipets.
There is no magical mirror in the movie. In the book the magical mirror is Kyles gateway to the world. He can see anyone he wants to see from the mirror. It was his means of communication with Kendra, his way of getting to know Lindy (not by stalking her). It’ is what stayed with Kyle and Lindy at the end to remind them of their journey. When they took out the mirror they also took away the magic that lies beyond the fairy tale story.
Kyle other name in the book is Adrian which means “dark one”, but the movie changed it to “Hunter”. Between hunter and Adrian I like Adrian better because it has meaning. Kyle choose Adrian because it represents the way he feels after his transformation. Adrian had meaning, while Hunter was random.
Kendra and Magda in the book are actually the same person. Kendra is the witch who punished Kyle and stuck with him as a maid (Magda) in return. In the movie, Kendra and Magda ( actually Zola in the movie) were two different characters with no relation at all.
The movie made Will Fratalli (Neil Patrick Harris) the blind tutor ironic and funny which is a good change from the originally serious and wise. It add humor and entertainment to the film. Neil Patrick Harris lightened the mood without taking away the seriousness of the story.
And the last but not the least is the ending. Technically the book and movie ending were the same, a fairy tale ending of “happily ever after”. The differences is how it was executed. The book done it with more action. Kyle took a risk of exposing himself to the world and has people trying to kill him in order to save Lindy. The movie version, Kyle meet Lindy before she takes her trip somewhere, no action scene at all.
Overall, I enjoy the movie even with all the alterations from the book. I think it succeeds in capturing the spirit and the message of the book which is the most important. If you haven’t read the book yet or see the movie, I suggest you try. Sometimes a familiar story is worth a new journey of adventure.