“Beautiful Creatures” – Review By Zachary Marsh

With Valentine’s Day literally just around the corner, many couples, both young and older than young, try to find a way to spend the day with their loved one and make a romantic day out of the occasion.  Chances are that the girl end of the couple won’t want to see ‘A Good Day to Die Hard,’ and the guy end of the couple won’t want to go see ‘Safe Haven.’  Eliminating those two new releases, the only one that’s left is ‘Beautiful Creatures.’ This movie is based on the first of four books in a series written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and from the trailers would look like just another ‘Twilight‘ cash grab for teens to hoard money towards.  It’s somewhat exciting to say that a movie that looks like a ‘Twilight’ ripoff is far from that, and even surpasses that series in terms of quality.  As surprising as it is to say this, ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is basically any teen fantasy story but with better characters, a better script, and a story that the audience can get somewhat involved in.  It’s nice to find that Valentine’s Day surprise when one least expects it.

Ethan is a relatively popular teenager who wants to escape his small town in South Carolina and explore the world the way his mother wanted him to.  Lena just moved to this small town in South Carolina and is considered to be a freak due to being related to a man who’s considered to be evil.  The two, unexplainably, are connected to each other and fall in love.  Lena though has a little secret that prevents the two from being together: Lena is a witch, or in the proper term, “a Castor.”  When Lena turns 16, her witchy powers will be claimed to either the light side of magic or the dark side of magic, which could turn her vile and evil.  The love between the two teens sparks up an old curse that was put on her family centuries ago, and could jeopardize where her powers will eventually be claimed.

When people look at the poster for this film, chances are that they’ll only recognize the supporting actors rather than the two leads.  Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert are practically unknowns and aren’t that recognizable to people just yet.  Having said that, their performances were much better than one would expect.  Not only do the actors have some decent chemistry together, but they also know how to add the teen angst element to their characters and make their love towards one another somewhat believable.  Sure Englert, the girl who plays Lena, doesn’t look like a 15 going on 16 year old at all, but that’s onyl a nitpick compared to her performance overall.  As for the supporting actors, nobody really disappointed on giving a decent performance.

Out of all of the supporting actors in the film, the best of them by far is Viola Davis.  She’s the only one of all of the actors who doesn’t sport a Southern accent at all.  Plus for what it’s worth, it seems that she was giving the most effort out of all of the supporting actors.  Thomas Mann from ‘Project X‘ and ‘Fun Size‘ was decent in this movie, but wasn’t in it much in order to solidify a satisfactory performance.  Jeremy Irons is good in anything he’s in, but here it seems that he wasn’t giving as great of an effort as Davis, or even Mann, was.  Emmy Rossum is only in here to be a sex symbol and look incredibly attractive, which she succeeds at doing.  Overall though, she doesn’t really deliver on a good performance much and just really likes to flaunt around and look hot.  Emma Thompson is the most mediocre of all of the actors since her performance is silly and way too over the top for what could have been a decent villain.  The supporting performance average out to decent, with some that were good, and some that were mediocre.  It’s kind of ironic how the two unknown leads deliver better performances than the majority of the well known supporting actors.

The direction from Richard LaGravenese wasn’t anything special, since it just felt standard and nothing really remarkable.  His script though I did admire mainly because of its quirky dialogue.  Watching the film, I thought to myself “this is like ‘Twilight’ with a better script and much more likable characters.”  Some of the dialogue in the movie was very entertaining to listen too and had a sort of flare to it, unlike ‘Broken City‘ in which it tried to mock off the style of Quentin Tarantino.  The story might be a little predictable, but the chemistry between the characters and their constant banter between each other made the film worthwhile.

Overall, ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is a better movie than one would expect from the trailers and the story.  If one can ignore the over the top performance from Emma Thompson, the predictable and formulaic story, and annoying Christian characters present throughout, then this is a decent time at the movies.  The two leads have good chemistry together and are likable presences on the screen.  The script is enjoyable since it has a nice charm and spunk to it that makes it stand out among other fantasy scripts.  Sure the supporting cast doesn’t stand out, but they are enjoyable for what it’s worth.  This isn’t the best date movie out: ‘Warm Bodies‘ is by far.  However if your girlfriend doesn’t want to see ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ on Valentine’s Day, then this isn’t a terrible option.  While not a perfect movie, ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is a fluffy and enjoyable teen fantasy with enough charm to satisfy the teen girl in all of us.

 

7.5/10

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