- Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
- With: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Viola Davis
- 124 Minutes
So last night, after enduring for more than 2 hours Russell Crowe’s bad attitude in “Noah” I decided to watch something more “easy-to-watch”. After checking my watch list for movies I wanted to see, I noticed one in particular that was not supposed to be there after its mediocre reception by reviewers worldwide. It’s a young-adult romantic fantasy film that has a story really similar to “Twilight” and was also a box office disappointment… In my mind, this one was going to bad for sure but since I enjoy fantasy flicks and young-adult stories I decided to give it a shot. Directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert alongside with Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson, “Beautiful Creatures” was my pick for the “’Noah’ hangover”. Everything seemed predictable and for the plot I could easily imagine myself watching “Twilight” again. But, again, out of nowhere, just like “Warm Bodies” did (in a better way, I confess), “Beautiful Creatures” was surprisingly enjoyable and I am considering travel into Kami Garcia’s books.
Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) is a teenage with a profound desire to go to college in order to leave the small town of Gatlin behind. The daily life in that small place was simply boring for Ethan and his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Emily made everything even worse since he was constantly dreaming about a mysterious girl. But when Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) arrives to Gatlin, Ethan starts talking to her and he suddenly notices that she is the girl of his dreams… After a misfortunate event during a class in which Emily and her friend were constantly mocking Lena’s family, she breaks the mirrors of the classroom and Ethan walks towards her to give her comfort. The beginning of their huge and beautiful friendship was quick and the feelings they had for each other also sprouted quickly. Soon they fell in love with each other but, unfortunately for them, this decision could separate them forever. Macon Ravenwood, Lena’s grandfather, was considered by the town’s residents as a devil-worshiper and after meeting her granddaughter’s boyfriend he panics out of nowhere. One day, Lena decides to reveal to Ethan that she is a caster (a witch) and that on her sixteenth birthday, she will be claimed by either the forces of light or of darkness, according to her spirit and personality. Being claimed by the forces of darkness would join her to her family members but could also mean the end of her relationship with Ethan. In order to remain in the light, Lena can’t continue being in love with Ethan but the feelings they have for each other are more than a mere obstacle. With that difficult obstacle in their way, Lena also had to deal with her evil mother, Sarafine, who casted an evil spell to force Lena to go for the dark side… With so many things at stake, Ethan and Lena need to gather their strengths and to work together in order to revert the spell and to remain forever in love…
Yep, so much “Twilight” in there but, at the same time, a lot more tolerable and effective. “Beautiful Creatures” is another fantasy romance suitable for young adults that has its great moments and is entertaining during the entire length. I was really afraid with the similarities but, thankfully, there were funny moments and the whole romance deal was better than I expected. There were not cheesy and predictable moments such as the hot guy removing his shirt and the girl in the center of the story is not naïve at all (damn you Kristen Stewart for ruining my expectations on young actresses). No one is a nerd and no one is a jock…So, “Beautiful Creatures” follows a different line from most of young adult movies with stories that take place during the high-school years. But, the whole story of a mortal who meets a superior creature was already done and that experience was far from being good. With so many bad things at stake, Warner Bros. gave this adaptation a shot and after watching it I must confess that it was worth it. Most of the young actors and actresses in “Beautiful Creatures” are still exploring their talents so I didn’t expect anything great. For once, my expectations were correct and the performances had some flaws which made the movie less natural to me. Expressing feelings and emotions is a difficult task, particularly in a romance but, thankfully none of the members of the cast had an expressionless face (Yes Kristen I’m referring to you) and their performances were enjoyable. The chemistry between the power couple of the movie was good and the presence of great names like Viola Davis and Emma Thompson is one of the best characteristics of the movie and made it a bit more interesting to watch.
The visual effects were practically non-existent, which is a bit odd since we are talking about a fantasy movie, but it’s a particularity that I actually enjoyed a lot. With less visual effects, the whole plot seemed more natural and realistic to me, which was a good strategy since the idea of a teenage romance contemplates most of the movie’s length. The story was not that great and yes, it was really predictable. I knew how the movie was going to end right in the beginning and that is something I often despise in most of the movies but, this time, just for the different pace and atmosphere, I will forgive that. The movie’s soft pace always with a bit of comedy in the middle made it a lot more tolerable than “Twilight” and some of the jokes and situations were really funny. The romance story is more funny than dramatic, which made me remember “Warm Bodies” several times. And with these funny details, the whole “I know how this is going to end” deal matters but it’s not that important at all. Some of the characters are odd but there’s also room for the pretty daddy’s girl (which in this case is played by the same actress from “Vampire Academy”) and for the good old daddy who wants to over protect his daughter, which makes “Beautiful Creatures” look a bit like a mix between odd and predictable things.
Overall, the movie actually surprised me and I enjoyed it for the pace and for the way everything seemed interesting and odd even though the plot was predictable. There are some funny characters that I hope to meet again in the books and most of the time I felt entertained and interested in the whole movie. Although there are more interesting movies than this one that follow the fantasy romance line like “Warm Bodies”, “Beautiful Creatures” is a bit captivating and better than I expected. In the end, I thought that this was simply a “guilty pleasure” and that perhaps my interest in young adult romances allowed it to look funny. If you enjoy the genre, “Beautiful Creatures” is not going to disappoint you but when there are so many amazing movies that deserve to watched, I would leave this one for those days you just want to be entertained.