We all know that no matter what, books are always better than movies because they have the advantage to be as detailed as possible and to develop relationships without rushing; putting that aside I think director Richard LaGravenese did a good job with ‘Beautiful Creatures’ staying very close to the source material. I will get the ‘Twilight’ comparison out of the way and agree that this is a lot like that saga except that in this film we get much better acting and effects. This is without a doubt going to become the next teen addiction, the four books written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have been on the New York Times bestselling list for a while. The film definitely makes every moment more dramatic and the last thirty minutes are very chaotic, but the nice part is that it is all unexpected and that trick isn’t bad. For anyone interested just remember this is very much directed towards a teen audience like ‘Twilight’ was, so keep your expectations leveled and remember it is based on four books so we will probably get four or five movies.
In the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina where nothing ever happens, 17-year-old Ethan Wate (Alden Enrenreich) born and raised there awaits his high school graduation to escape the monotony and travel the world. But when Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) the niece of the town’s shut in Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons) comes into town everything changes, especially for Ethan. Lena has supernatural powers and being an outsider makes her an outcast, but Ethan is attracted to her and tries to break her shell to get to know her. The two must turn against the whole town and their leader Mrs. Lincoln (Emma Thompson) and some of Lena’s relatives like Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) with the help of Ethan’s best friend Link (Thomas Mann) and Amma (Viola Davis) they will do anything to be together.
The script surprisingly mixes in a lot of comedy and charm, which helps give the film a more lighthearted and likeable quality. Enrenreich is fantastic and steals almost every scene he’s in, he has talent and shows it both in the comedic and more dramatic scenes, with that he will easily become the next heartthrob. Rossum is my next favorite; she’s perfect for this role and shows her potential. Irons and Thompson are also great, and give the film a good balance with the adult lead they provide. Davis is the heart of the film and you immediately are sympathetic towards her, her being one of the few humans. Mann really plays the role of a secondary character that is barely noticeable. I leave Englert for last because she really is the only thing that doesn’t shine here and feels out of place, she doesn’t seem to have any acting skills and has no appeal to bring the public to like her.
The changes made so that the script could fit better in the big screen don’t bother me; I think it gives it a tighter and neater feel, although beware those that loved the book the ending is a bit different here. The time frame seems a little off at the beginning where it all seems to happen in the span of two days or so, it’s not quite clear. Referring back to rushing relationships this one feels rushed towards the middle and it takes away some of the magic of the story. This pace starts making things somewhat confusing and that is when the overdramatic part of the script comes in.
The southern setting is beautiful and the accents, the landscapes and sceneries really complement the film and its beauty. There are times when it’s hard to understand what the characters are saying and even what’s happening with all the supernatural stuff and people. The thing that gets the movie going and will have you buying your ticket for the sequel is the charm, beauty, elegance, sophistication and power it has to draw you in despite its flaws. If you were disappointed to not have a ‘Twilight’ movie coming out once a year, this one will be an easy replacement with a higher production value than the previous craze.