Dir. Daniel Barnz. USA. 2011.

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ wears a new coat in this screen adaptation  by Daniel Branz  of the novel by Alex Finn representing the  classic fairytale  which also spurred the epoch making anime hit ‘Shrek. The message comes out pretty clear and succinct.  ‘Beauty is only skin deep and doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things. And Love conquers all.”

Pretty boy  Kyle Kingsbury(Alex Pettyfer) learns this truth the hard way. His preening and mocking  lends him a curse from Kendra(Mary Kate Olsen), the resident witch and pronto he gets transformed into an ugly but interesting looking baldie whose father (a narcissistic news presenter) prefers to hide away in a remote apartment.  So it’s up to beastly Kyle to find his way back to normalcy by learning to treat people with respect and falling in love with a poor girl (Vanessa Hudgens) from a dysfunctional family.

Kyle’s transformation from typical handsome hunk to interestingly ugly-even exotic bald headed, ink stained, mercury riveted bloke with an inferiority complex, is quite stunning thanks to the great prosthetic work by Tony Gardner. Writer-Director  Daniel Branz gets the atmosphere and locations right, his narrative is also quite engaging but for the limiting talents of his main lead. Alex Pettyfer, though he looks the part, fails to lend depth to his character.

Vanessa Hudgens looks pretty and interesting. Lisa Gay Hamilton and Neil Patrick Harris lend their talents well but the film still doesn’t get off to any major heights. At best it’s engaging!

Rating:   *  * 

Johnson Thomas

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