• Wed. May 29th, 2024

BEAST movie review

ByTaylor T Carlson

Aug 18, 2022

BEAST is directed by Baltasar Kormakur. The film stars Idris Elba, Iyana Halley, Leah Sava Jeffries, and Sharlto Copley.

Dr. Nate Samuels, widowed following the death of his wife, travels to Africa with his two daughters he has grown estranged from over the years. But their tour of a game reserve with Nate’s old friend quickly goes awry when the destruction caused by a lion, wounded by poachers, is discovered and the family finds themselves stranded. It’s up to Nate to protect his daughters from the vicious wounded predator shows itself.

I wanted to like BEAST; Idris Elba is certainly one of the greatest actors working in films today, and the other elements looked interesting enough despite my initial pessimism. Unfortunately, the movie is largely a case of “what you see is what you get.” It’s big, dumb, and obvious, with characters regularly making stupid decisions and being written inconsistently, not helped by some of the most generic “family drama” storylines you could ask for. A handful of moments entertain, but there’s nothing here that hasn’t done better in other movies, including Universal’s own JAWS and JURASSIC PARK.

Idris Elba is, hands down, one of my favorite actors active today. From Heimdall the Bridgekeeper in the MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE to voicing Knuckles in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, this is a guy I truly believe could play any role well. Unfortunately, even Elba seems bored in Beast, though this isn’t on him. His character is written inconsistently, cowering with uncertainty since he doesn’t know what to do to protect his daughter, to literally going hand-to-hand combat with a lion or stopping a snake with his bare hands. This isn’t Elba’s fault; had he been given better material to work with, I’d likely be writing a more positive review.

The young actresses playing the daughters of Elba’s characters are solid enough, and I truly hope these young ladies go on to promising careers as actresses. We see hints of their potential throughout the movie, though they again are bogged down by the generic writing, which mostly only allows them to be damsels in distress; though one of them had one heroic moment that got plenty of cheers and applause at my screening. Give these young ladies better movies, and I have no doubt they’ll continue to entertain.

BEAST can’t quite decide what it once to be. Attempts at humor in the movie feel out of place. The backstory is the most generic “broken family” one imaginable. Characters regularly make the stupid decision of “going it alone” when there’s a clear and present danger. There are some weird surreal “vision” scenes had by Elba’s character that feel more like they’d belong in something like GLADIATOR or THE NORTHMAN than this film. I’d be lying if I said the movie had no good moments; there are a handful of moments that I admit entertained me. It’s mindless, generic entertainment, and thankfully it’s over in about an hour and a half.

The screening I attended was very strange because several people brought young children, including crying babies. This was especially odd since it’s a violent R-rated film absolutely not made for young audiences. Did they think they were taking their kids to BEAUTY AND THE BEAST?

BEAST brings nothing new to the world of motion pictures. There are sporadic highlights and it’s at least a fairly fast watch, but the generic paper-thin characters, retreads of cinematic cliches, and out-of-place surreal sequences mean it falls flat. If you’re curious, wait for the inevitable home video or streaming release. Don’t rush to the theater.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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