By Tracey Barrientos
Hollywood has seemed to turn to books these days for inspiration to try and bring audiences the latest and greatest to the big screen. Has the industry turned to teen novels to solely follow in the footsteps of the widely known Twilight Saga success to in turn bring more money to the box office? It certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea to do so. With the success of the over saturated archetype of vampires and zombies, the path through the supernatural teen based stories has now led us to witches, or should I say casters. Based on the best selling American young adult series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures is the first novel in the best selling series. The story is based in a small conservative town of Gatlin, South Carolina and is at first about Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) a seventeen year old young man who lives with his father that is stuck in morning over the death of his wife and the house keeper Amma (Viola Davis) who is also the towns all knowing librarian. Ethan dreams and hopes that one day he will break free of the small town of Gatlin and go to college far away. Lately though, he has been having a recurring dream of a young woman waiting for him on a Civil War battlefield. Every time he is close to reaching her a lightning bolt strikes just like a gunshot and he dies. Thankfully, it is only a dream but he doesn’t seem to be able to think about anything else other than the woman in his dreams and falls in love with this mystery woman, hoping one day he will be united with the girl of his dreams.
With the beginning of the first day of school a newcomer named Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) seems to be an outcast because of her families history. Capturing the attention of Ethan he becomes more and more intrigued with her, despite the awful things that the other classmates are saying about her. Lena is the niece of Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons), the owner of the one and only mysterious Gothic Ravenwood Manor. Lena has uncontrollable powers proving that some of what her classmates have been saying is true. Lena has until her sixteenth birthday to undergo the Claiming, a process that throughout the years makes a caster go to the light side or the dark side. The film also features an allstar cast such as: Alden Ehrenreich, (“Tetro”), Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, Emma Thompson, Rounding out the cast are Eileen Atkins, Margo Martindale, Zoey Deutch, Tiffany Boone, Rachel Brosnahan, Kyle Gallner, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Sam Gilroy.
The film Beautiful Creatures is a supernatural love story with some of the same ideas and themes as most of these supernatural teen movies based off of best selling novels. However, Beautiful Creatures was a refreshing take on the story of two young lovers, one who is human and the other who is a supernatural being. The scenery and use of the deep southern backdrops added to the mystery of the story. I have not read the book though I plan to, I am unable to comment on how close the movie was to the book. The special effects in the film were not overdone or out of place and were appropriate to each specific scene. Some comedic relief is found throughout the film and is not out of place. The flow of the story is also flawless including the music used for the soundtrack.
This film has been rated PG-13 for violence, scary images and some sexual material. I would recommend this to audiences of a variety of ages from young teen to older adult. Yes this film may have some similarities to other teen/supernatural films but all in all it is a film I definitely would recommend to our readers and I can’t wait for the second installment.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
by Rebecca Fox
This movie is based on a book of the same name. As usual I have yet to read
the book, though I bought it after watching the movie and am halfway
through it now. A side note that’s kind of funny, when I saw the reviews
on TV I thought it was for a new TV show and didn’t pay much attention so I
really didn’t know what to expect as I sat down to watch it.
The casting I think was really good for this movie. I like how the two main
characters are relative unknowns to me and they both were good looking but
not in the stratosphere. Very normal and right for each other. Alice
Englert played Lena Duchannes, an outsider just wants to fit in and live a
normal life. It’s made impossible by her abilities as a caster and the fact
that she can’t control her powers when she gets emotional. Alden
Ehrenreich plays her love interest Ethan Wate, seemingly the most popular
boy in school but living a life on auto-pilot. His dream was to go anywhere
but the small southern town where they live.
Helping to round out the cast are Jeremy Irons who plays Macon Ravenwood,
Lena’s uncle, he’s fantastic as always. Viola Davis plays Amma, it’s hard
to label her character, she’s part house keeper, part family member, part
voodoo priestess, and she does a great job of making this character
believable. Emma Thompson plays Mrs. Lincoln and does a brilliant job of
playing a character who acts like she has a split personality but doesn’t.
I won’t explain that further so I don’t spoil anything. Lastly Emmy Rossum,
she plays Lena’s cousin Ridley Duchannes. In some parts she was so good I
forgot it was Emmy Rossum. There were some parts of her character that felt
inconsistent but I think that had more to do with the writing than the
acting. Now to the story, as I said it starts slow, mostly because we are
seeing Ethan starting his day with him narrating us into the story. There
was a lot of narrating but it does get better as the movie moves along.
Ethan and Lena share more than classes, there’s a whole history in this
town that is revealed at a good pace. The graphics that are used are
tastefully thrown in with the exception of a dining room scene, you’ll know
what I mean when you see it.
Also, I should mention there are a lot of clichés. Normally I find this
annoying but for some reason some of them didn’t feel as detached from
reality as they normally are if that makes any sense. There were some that
were typical, like the obsession with the Civil War but then there were
others. For example it’s a town that doesn’t have a star bucks but everyone
has a cell phone, breaking the middle of nowhere feel. Overall I was
charmed by this movie and entertained, some things were routine for a
coming of age, magic using, romance movie, but this did not overshadow the
story and I enjoyed the way it was told. I will be buying this for my
collection but it’s not a must see in theatres.
3.5 out of 5