Beast movie review: brings back the short, sharp creature feature

Beast movie review: brings back the short, sharp creature feature

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Director Baltasar Kormákur’s “ Beast ” is better than utmostmid-August releases. It executes its wild- animal- gone- rogue premise in just under 90 twinkles. stager cinematographer Philippe Rousselot shoots some gorgeous views of the South African nature. There’s a redoubtable foe that seems human and imperishable, not to mention innocently revengeful. And yes, that scene from the trailer where Idris Elba punches a lion in the face is in the movie. It’s easy to imagine Leo the Lion rolling his eyes in unbelief, because like the monster in this movie, the current MGM logo is an odd- looking CGI interpretation of a lion. 

Speaking of logos, this is yet another movie that would have benefited from having the grungy ol’ Universal logo from the 1970s appear at the beginning. It used to let viewers know they were in for some fun, cheesy mayhem. “ Beast ” has plenty of that; the murderous captain can take out an entire group of men with AR- 15’s while chancing time to jump on top of buses and reach into windows to swat at human prey. The script by Ryan Engle does n’t give the big cat a name, so let’s call him Rory. Rory is presumably pissed that birders have killed his entire pride, thus it’s his mission to execute every human he encounters with extreme prejudice. “ It’s the law of the jungle, ” says Martin Battles( Sharlto Copley) about how violently Napoleons reply when their pride is hovered . “ And that’s the only law that applies around then. ” 

“ Around then ” is South Africa, where theex-wife ofDr. Nate Samuels( Idris Elba) grew up with Martin. He introduced the two, and their union produced two daughters, Norah( Leah Jeffries) and their eldest, Meredith( Iyana Halley). Like her mother, Meredith is a photographer. Tragically, Nate’s partner failed of cancer after their separation, causing an angry distance between Meredith and the father she feels vacated the family.Dr. Nate is taking his daughters to their mother’s old stomping grounds in the backcountry, hoping to repair his relationship with them. “ This is so back in the day, ” says Norah when she learns there’s no cell phone service nor Wi- Fi out in the middle of nowhere. 

“ Beast ” opens with the forenamed birders plugging down a pride of Napoleons, followed by a brief regard of Rory exacting the first of numerous attacks. As the film progresses, we ’ll see his work in further graphic detail, first on the body of a injured man who stops Martin’s Jeep seeking help.( He calls Rory “ the Devil. ”) When Martin goes to a near village to seek help, he discovers the place littered with crippled bodies. “ Lions do n’t do this, ” Martin tellsDr. Nate. Well, one captain does, and to prove his point, Rory traps the Samuels in their Jeep after causing them to crash during the attack. easily, this captain has seen “ Cujo. ” 

From then, “ Beast ” is each aboutDr. Nate guarding his daughters by any means necessary. The task is a little harder than one might anticipate, considering it felt at times that Norah and Meredith were intimately in cahoots with their predator. I mean, people do stupid effects in horror film all the time, just to get the followership to talk back to the screen, but this is inordinate. Whenever Nate tells them to stay in the auto, they do n’t. They wander off at precocious moments, knowing sharp well that Rory’s out there biding his time. When their father is trying to quietly shirk his nemesis, his kiddies start blowing the damn Jeep cornucopia and trying to engage him on a walkie- documentary. While Jeffries and Halley effectively convey fear and heroism( one scene of retribution against their foe is a definite crowd- pleaser), the script frequently reduces them to frustrating capers to garner suspension. 

It’s worth noting that “ Beast ” and the recent, far-superior film, “ Prey ” both have dispatches about nimrods ruining the animal area and paying dearly for it. They also have in common the examination of a stock bond and the communication that guarding one’s family is the ultimate thing of survival. The apocalyptic showdown in both movies boils down to the idol using what they know about their position and their foe, though this film requires a lot further suspense of unbelief. WhenDr. Nate goes mano-a-paws with Rory for the last time, I anticipated Bill Conti’s theme from “ Rocky ” to startplaying.However, there should be no farther arguments about his credentials to be the coming James Bond, If Idris Elba can scuffle Napoleons onscreen. 

This will play better with an audience of rumbustious

Genre movie lovers, the kind that formerly peopled the grindhouses of Times Square and small city second- run theaters. I suspect people want to be detracted by commodity that makes them stand up and cheer. “ Beast ” serves that purpose well- enough. Kormákur knows how to toy with the followership, filling his background shots with portentous objects that may or may not be Rory the Lion. Elba and Copley play their characters straight enough to be persuading while not losing sight of the kind of movie they ’re making. 

I ’m hardly not recommending “ Beast ” because I could n’t get past the forenamed script issues, plus there are some odd, fully out of place dream sequences involvingDr. Nate’s partner that look like outtakes from Beyonce’s “ Black is King. ” Still, if this film strikes your fancy, by all means you should go. It does n’t overstay its hello, and the ending is suddenly abrupt yetsatisfying.However, “ Beast ” provides the first illustration I ’ve seen of a proposition I ’ll call “ Chekhov’s Lion, If nothing differently. ” You ’ll know it when you see it. 

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