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Beautiful Creatures

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Actors: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Emma Thompson, Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Irons / Directors: Richard LaGravenese / Studio: Entertainment in Video

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      26.02.2013 08:58
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
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      Didn't do it for me

      About the film
      Beautiful Creatures is a 2013 adaptation of the novel of the same name by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The film is a 12A and has a run time of 124 minutes.

      Plot
      Ethan Wate has lived in Gaitlin, South Carolina his whole life, a place where nothing ever happens are films come on at the cinema months after release. When new girl Lena Duchannes starts school, everything changes. Ethan has been dreaming about her for months, not having any idea who she is. Rumour has it that her family are devil worshippers and Lena is quickly cast aside by the rest of the school... except for Ethan. After revealing secrets to each other, Lena and Ethan become inseparable, even after the warnings from both of their families. Lena is actually a witch, (a castor) and on her sixteenth birthday, it will be decided whether she will be light or dark. There are people wanting Lena to go to the dark side and will do anything they can to make this happen.

      Cast
      Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan Lawson Wate
      Alice Englert as Lena Duchannes
      Jeremy Irons as Macon Ravenwood
      Viola Davis as Amma
      Emmy Rossum as Ridley Duchannes
      Thomas Mann as Link
      Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lincoln/Sarafine
      Margo Martindale as Aunt Del
      Eileen Atkins as Emmaline Duchannes (Gramma)
      Zoey Deutch as Emily Asher
      Rachel Brosnahan as Genevieve Duchannes
      Kyle Gallner as Larkin Ravenwood
      Pruitt Taylor Vince as Mr. Lee

      What I thought
      Having read the book a few years ago, and it being one which I really liked, I really wanted to see this film. However, film adaptations are a bit hit and miss so I was a little apprehensive about whether or not this one would be good.

      Alden Ehrenreich was cast as the lead, Ethan Wate after Jack O'Connell could no longer do the role. Unfortunately, I hated him as Ethan. Playing a Southern boy, I expected his accent to be much better than it was and I found that it annoyed me every time he spoke. I remember Ethan in the book being quite funny but not at all like his character in the film. Here, he was silly beyond belief, making a fool out of himself a lot of the time and more in a cringy way than anything else. I just didn't believe Ehrenreich was the right person to play this role, especially as the character had changed somewhat from how he was written in the book.

      However, it was refreshing to have him narrate the film, as most young adult books/ films are narrated by girls. Due to his narration and him having lived in Gaitlin his whole life, we get to learn what the town is like. However, again, unfortunately not like in the book. In the first few chapters in the book, Ethan goes on and on about how slow the town is, how people never leave and how nothing happens. While he does state this in the film, you never really get the urgency of him wanting to leave as soon as he can. There is very little time spent getting to know Ethan before Lena turns up. Because of this, Gaitlin doesn't seem like a small, quiet town at all because the excitement comes quite quickly.

      Unlike for Ethan, I did really like the casting of Lena, who is played by Alice Englert. Lena is a quirky but quiet character, not wanting to give too much about herself away. She just wants to get on with life in Gaitlin until her birthday arrives and she wants to stay out of trouble. Ethan doesn't let that happen though as he never leaves her alone. Englert brings a quiet confidence to the role of Lena, not making her too over the top when she could have been and subdued when she needed to be as well. She was also likeable, which is more than I can say about Ehrenreich.

      One of my biggest problems with this film is that Ethan and Lena's relationship wasn't properly explained. I went to the cinema with two friends to see this, both had not read the book beforehand. They both came out afterwards quite confused and not really understanding what had happened or why. Ethan is supposed to have been having vivid dreams about Lena for quite some time before she arrives in Gaitlin although this is not really shown. Yes, we are told that he doesn't sleep much and that he dreams of her but the importance of these dreams is never shown. This is also where their relationship in the film falls short. Because the audience never get to understand Ethan's dreams, or see how long he has been dreaming about Lena, their relationship seems to happen very quickly and get intense even faster, making it unbelievable and silly.

      Secondary characters are also lacking and underused. In the book, Ethan's best friend Link is quite a big part of his life and here, he is brushed over quickly. Lena's mother is not introduced well, with her just being there at one point without so much as an explanation of who she is or why she is there. Ethan's dad is great character in the book but in the film, he is shoved away in a room never to be seen which I was very disappointed about. As a book, Beautiful Creatures has so many interesting and different characters but they are either missing completely in the film or they only get a few minutes of screen time.

      While I was annoyed with the casting and the differences from the book, there are some good things about Beautiful Creatures. For one, the setting is stunning. I loved the small, Southern town setting and the use of the Civil War to explain some of the history. This also comes into play when explaining about Lena and Ethan's pasts and how they are linked. Once the real excitement begins and things do start happening regarding Lena and her birthday, the film got much better. Up until this point though, I was extremely bored and would have been quite happy to turn the film off had I watched it on DVD.

      With some good adaptations out right now, like Warm Bodies, Beautiful Creatures fell extremely short for me and now, I don't think I would want to go and see the other films in the series because of that.

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      • More +
        20.02.2013 19:16
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        (Rating)

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        A good supernatural teen romance

        ***

        (Film only review)

        Plot:

        New girl Lena moves into town, falls in love with boy, Ethan. Girl is a Caster, ie: a witch, and it is forbidden for her to love a mortal. Forbidden love ensues.


        My Musings:


        Why I Went to see this:

        I have not read the book. All I knew before seeing this movie was that it was a supernatural teen romance, and I enjoy those. Often when I read a book and then see the movie of the book, I knit pick at every single thing. So I had the advantage this time of going into this movie expectation free.


        Actors:

        Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan. He is not the usual drop dead gorgeous actor that plays the main love interest. I confess when the movie started, and Ethan was narrating, I kept thinking, 'please don't tell me this is the main guy.' But ten minutes into the movie, I found myself ashamed for thinking that, Ethan delivers a charming performance of the character through a combination of the script and the delivery of the lines. He is slightly goofy and geeky, and yet he is also persistent and confident, and his love for Lena unwavering. The chemistry not only between the characters but the actors is undeniable. You root for him, and by the end of the movie all images of Edward Cullen have flown out of the window.

        Alice Englert as Lena. Similar to the actor playing Ethan, she is not your drop-dead gorgeous model-type that you often see taking up the main girl in movies like these. The little flaws like her crooked teeth, actually made her more attractive, and more real. She again brings to the character a performance that makes her beautiful, with some wit in the way she delivers her lines, and a glowing smile.

        Emmy Rossum as Ridley. She is convincing as a seductive dark arts caster. I have only seen Rossum previously in Phantom of the Opera and The Day After Tomorrow, in both she plays the part of doe eyed teen, so this was a different type of character she had to portray and she does this flawlessly. She is one of the antagonists in the story and in her we see the type of caster Lena could become.

        Emma Thompson as Mrs Lincoln. Can we ever fault a performance by Ms Thompson?! Playing the role of the main antagonist in the film, she puts on a Southern accent, though there were moments where the British accent seeped in, or maybe that's just because I know she's British. She brings the strict religious fanatic to life through her expression and body language. Without revealing any spoilers, there is also a darker seductive side that she has to portray, and again she really uses a good variety of expression and body language to bring this to life. Her performance was quite theatrical, and I really enjoyed that aspect that she could portray her character very realistically and at the same act as though she were acting on stage, which is a very different style of acting, and doesn't always work in movies but Thompson as always pulls it off very well.

        Jeremy Irons as Uncle Macon. Another renowned actor, Irons brings a mixture of creepiness and caring to his character.


        Setting:

        A town called Gatlin in South Carolina. There is a lot of land, not breathtaking, but still lovely to look at. The house in which Lena stays is perhaps the most interesting part of the set. The house looking fairly haunted on the outside, surrounded with beautiful greenery, a place where Lena goes to think. The inside of the house incorporates the magic used by the Casters, with a constantly changing interior.


        Costume:

        The teenagers wear normal clothes, similar to what teenagers wear over here, jeans, t-shirts, skirts, dresses etc. The casters on the other hand wear slightly more extravagant costumes, for the girls, big poufy dresses, some with extravagant hair do's , at some points they reminded me of the costumes worn in the Hunger Games movie. The older mortal women wear dresses and sometimes hats - all Southern American strict church going style clothes.


        Overall:

        Yes it was a good movie. Last year I went to see the Hunger Games, again not having read the book, and I came out of that movie going 'wow, I have to see that again.' I did not get that feeling with this movie. There wasn't a wow factor to the movie.

        I've been trying to put my finger on exactly what it was that was lacking in the story, and I think there are a couple of things. Firstly, one of the things I always find exciting in these romances is the pursuit of love, the adventure of getting to that point, and things happened very quickly in the story, I would have liked to have seen more moments between the two teenagers before they fell in love, perhaps a bit more of a struggle. I don't know whether this was the fault of the movie not including more from the book, or whether this was just the way it was written.

        The second thing was this is a movie about magic, and I would have liked to have seen more magic, or rather more detail in the magic, and perhaps more of the history behind Casters, again I don't know whether the movie just didn't include more from the book, or whether this just isn't there in the book and may be there in the sequel.

        Having said all that, I thought the ending was good, and it does leave you wanting more. While I wouldn't see the movie again, I would definitely want to see the sequel, perhaps there will be more substance in the sequel, and the first movie just sets the scene...we will see. I give the movie a rating of four stars for good acting, good storyline, but it definitely needs a bit more meat.


        ***

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