I must start this review with a confession. You see, I did a very very bad thing. About a month and a half ago, I decided Fal and I would both read Beautiful Creatures, then head to the theater on Valentine’s Day to watch the new film adaptation. A heavy workload, yes, but it was my revenge for having to watch the Super Bowl.
Here’s the part where I confess my heinous crime: Fal read the book, but I didn’t. He went first while I caught up with reading some of my clients’ books. By the time this past Monday rolled around, he magnanimously let me off the hook. “Won’t it be more interesting,” he said, “if one of us has read the book and one hasn’t? It’ll really differentiate our reviews, you know?”
God, I love that man.
It’s not that I hadn’t tried to honor my side of the deal—the deal I, myself, concocted. I read about 15 pages of the book over the course of 3 sittings. I just kept falling asleep. Not a good sign. Also the writing threw me for a loop in some places, and I have a hard time getting into books I don’t enjoy stylistically. I mean, my “day job” involves a lot of reading for a living, and I like to read books I actually like when it comes time for leisure.
Anyway… Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and we dutifully headed for the theater to catch the matinee showing. We thought there wouldn’t be any crowds during the day time—we were wrong. Anyway, we got our popcorn, sodas, and candy, then settled in for this 2-hour, 3-minute flick.
When the main character, Ethan, started in on the opening narration, we both turned to each other and groaned. AWFUL Southern accent, but at least it became more bearable as the flick progressed. From what I read of the book, Ethan was written in a very effeminate way—to the point, I didn’t know he was supposed to be male. In the movie, it’s clear from the get-go that actor, Alden Ehrenreich, is all male. At first I found him ugly pretty, but his looks grew on me as the film progressed. I kind of think he looks like a young James Marsden. And James Marsden is definitely the dashing, princely type. So, yeah, much more love for Ethan than Edward already.
What? You knew Twilight comparisons were coming!
Speaking of which, although the plot and concept is definitely reminiscent of Twilight, I enjoyed the few and subtle differences. It was nice to see the male character take the vulnerable, backseat position to his super-powered lady friend. I also liked that the normals in Gatlin clearly understood what Lena was—as opposed to the whole town of Forks remaining ignorant as all get-out for the entire Twilight Saga. Ethan and Lena’s love story also unfolded more naturally and in a more realistic, teenagerly fashion.
Just look at these two movie screenshots from below. See the differences? Lena is taking charge and grabbing Ethan’s face, while Bella is being a shrinking violet, letting her man possess her. TEAM LENA ALL THE WAY!
One of the other things that struck me rather early in the movie was just how poorly religious people were portrayed. Mind you, I’m not a Bible thumper—actually, I’m a bleeding heart liberal—BUT, I grew up in a home with conservative values, and didn’t like seeing the God-fearing people portrayed as complete and utter whackadoos. They were caricatures of the worst Southern Baptist stereotypes. They are like Terry Jones crazy minus all the violence. Luckily, the normals quickly went away as the plot got tangled up in Lena’s family of casters and other magic peoples.
Fal told me that some characters were eliminated or combined in the movie version, but still, I felt there were too many of them, I mean, what was the point of Ridley played by Emmy Rossum? Sure, she looked super sexy and had her part in the conclusion of the movie, but still! I would have liked to see more of Jeremy Irons’s character, Macon. Fal told me he played Scar, and I was like ALL RIGHT! He also had the most awesome old man wardrobe and a pretty posh set-up at home, too.
The plot of the movie was good as far as these things go. There were only two parts where I was forced to roll my eyes. The first was when Serafin (an evil relative that hides by possessing mortals’ bodies) took over Emma Thompson’s body at the church and had this strange overacted soliloquy. Emma Thompson is a phenomenal actress, so I blame either the scriptwriters or the directors for this uncomfortable scene—probably both.
The second was the whole table-spinning scene. It was just cheesy and over-the-top ridiculous. I would have liked to see Lena do something a little more threatening to build tension and really hit home the point that she could turn dark and powerful and scary. Oh, she’s spinning the table—so threatening! BAH!
All in all, I liked the cast. It was strange seeing Emma Thompson do a Southern accent instead of a British one, but she pulled it off. Emmy Rossum is gorgeous and definitely believable as a siren. Even the main actress—the girl who played Lena, Alice Englert—was stunning. I heard a lot of crap prior to seeing the movie that people thought she was too ugly and dowdy to play Lena. Are you kidding me? She’s beautiful, just not in a stereotypical way. She’s also not anorexic-looking like many a teen actress these days. So kudos to Alice Englert for being beautiful, healthy, and a pretty decent actress.
All in all, I really liked the movie. I was actually surprised by how much I did enjoy it.
Will I see the next film, if there is one? Absolutely! Will I read the books? Well… the writing style still bugs me, so I’ll try them out on audio. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!
HIS & HER REVIEWS… IT’S A THING WE’RE DOING NOW!
Never have the differences between the sexes been so starkly highlighted as in the “His & Her Review” series. He loves Halo, while she thinks it’s a waste of time. She swoons for The Bachelor, but he wants to stab his eyes out. Follow husband-wife duo, Falcon & Emlyn, each Tuesday as they team up to review something that inevitably one will love and one will hate. Welcome to married life, folks.
THAT’S WHAT HE SAID…
“Twilight is over and we don’t even get a year to rest before this series has to come along. Why, God? Why?… Small town with no major significance, rich family living in seclusion, only protagonist seems to know how much the town sucks. Wait, which one was I reviewing again? Sorry, the similarities stack up quickly…. Someone once described this to me as Twilight with Witches and that seems fairly accurate, but despite all of that, I still find myself defending this book when compared to: The Movie… Hollywood, if you can’t find a 16 year old, rent one from Disney, I’m sure they have a bunch just lying around…”
Read the rest of his post HERE.
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