Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Beautiful Creatures - Movie Review

Beautiful Creatures is a movie adapted for the screen from a popular novel written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Director Richard LaGravenese had a tall task ahead of him in pleasing hardcore fans of the book while looking to draw in a new audience all while putting relatively unknown actors, Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich in the lead roles of Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate respectively.

Lena is the new girl in a southern town that has been almost literally stuck in the past with banned books and religious fanaticism taking precedence over more radically modern ideas like democracy and equality. Oddly enough, this is actually her original hometown although she quickly learns that her classmates are well aware of her family's alleged history of witchcraft and devil worship. What she doesn't expect is to cross paths with the charming and surprisingly honest Ethan who immediately takes a liking to her as well.

After being introduced to Lena's family and the secrets they have managed to conceal for generations, Ethan realizes there may have been a little fate involved in their crossing paths. Lena, while coming to the same realization, also sees how she may be endangering her new love by exposing him to her relatives who are all positioning themselves to take advantage of a major milestone in the young girl's life.

One of the keys to success for any movie is the casting of every role from the main characters to the smallest bit part. Unfortunately, this is one of Beautiful Creature's biggest flaws as Miss Englert really didn't bring much to the table at all in her effort to bring Lena to life. It was also really strange watching the famously British Jeremy Irons try to deliver his lines with a southern accent that he clearly wasn't comfortable with.

Fortunately, whoever chose Alden Ehrenreich to play Ethan hit the jackpot as he does a brilliant job of doing everything he can to make his character as appealing to the target audience as possible. His charm, wit, and dashing smile will keep teenage girls glued to the screen even while the story stumbles through to its not so exciting conclusion.

I have never read the books, so I have no idea if the dedicated fan base will be happy with this effort or mad at how their favorite story has been ruined forever. What I do know is that I was unimpressed with this adaptation and, halfway through the 124 minute run time, I was already feeling like it was never going to end. Sure, Beautiful Creatures has been cleverly populated with plenty of beautiful creatures, but this story about magical spells and young love seriously misses the mark. That being said, I still get the feeling that at least its core audience will  be sufficiently entertained and that will have to be enough.

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