A supernatural love story set in the South, “Beautiful Creatures” tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers: Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man longing to escape his small town, and Lena (Alice Englert), a mysterious new girl. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town. Now if you haven’t had your morning coffee yet and and just read that you may believe you were reading the plot for Twilight, and, you would pretty much be right.
It is the same plot, basically, just swap the leads roles and make the girl the magical creature and then swap vampires and wolves for spellcasters and seers. It is like a love child of Twilight, Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a win win formula and while Twilight has the appearance of a Bold and The Beautiful soap opera, with acting to match, surprisingly this is where Beautiful Creatures differs and stands out. It is beautifully filmed with a very impressive cast and performances.
Firstly there is the three Oscar winners Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson to impress. I love them all. I thought Viola Davis was a little under utilised but like Buffy she is the Giles character and keeper of information. The one to go to when you need the information of what you are facing. Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons are so over the top it is brilliant and slightly camp. It was very enjoyable watching their talent have a lot of fun with their roles. Irons was a little stuffy but brilliant none the less and I could watch Thomspon in MacDonalds ads – I love her.
Emmy Rossum plays a very different character as Ridley, the dark with and evil cousin of the family. She does slutty little evil bitch well, it was fun, but again I wanted to see more of her character, I think she may return for the sequels. Then there are the two leads, our Edward and Bella of the starcrossed tale of love and woe, Alice Englert (Lena) and Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan). Englert is pretty much your mopey Bella of the story but she also has powers, a real pain the ass when she’s in a bad mood but Ehrenreich is the savior and hero of this film. He is nowhere as good looking as your Edward or your Jacob but I think the Team Ethan will rival both the others in followers. Not only is he a super actor that is genuinely believable but when he does his innocent little giggle laugh thing you will just melt, that smile is worth more than a team of Edwards . He is the darned cutest Southerner in the US of A. His accent, the fact he rarely takes himself seriously and his slight “hickness” make him so much more appealing than doey eyed mopey Edward or body of God, JK’s future husband, Jacob. He was actually discovered by Spileberg at a mutual family batmitzvah – this is why I have not become a star yet – totally going to the wrong batmitzvahs! And one more piece of trivia to make you fall for Ethan – Ethan’s failure to recite the Charles Bukowski poem was actually Alden Ehrenreich having difficulty remembering the order of the lines and making Alice Englert laugh. He performed the poem perfectly in all other takes. But Director Richard LaGravenese liked the idea of a “Romeo” trying to impress a “Juliet” and screwing up the poetry.
The story, based on the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is the first out of a four part quadrology that will definitely be replacing the void left for Twiharders – I see some Beaucreatharders forming ranks – the main problem is that the lead character is a female and the majority of fans of this series are females – so they all better fall for Ethan – which I think they will. The film makers made one major change to the story from the book. The role of Amma is actually a combination of two roles from the book; Amma, a housekeeper/Seer, and Marian, a librarian and Ethan’s late mother’s best friend. Screenwriter/director Richard LaGravenese combined the two parts in the hope of attracting a great actress. ‘Viola Davis’ was his first and only choice for the role. I do not think this will have a huge impact on the storyline.
The director, Richard LaGravenese, has done a great job on the film. In one single swoop he made a Twilight like film that is better than the Twilight films. The sets and cinematography are incredibly well done and he managed to add in some nice CGI effects that did not look stupid. I thought the spinning table sequence went on for a little too long and LaGravenese actually had issue filming it as he suffers bad motion sickness, he was drugged out for this sequence. I also love he did something similar to Twilight in that one of the main songs was written and played by one of the leads. In the “snow sequence”, the song playing over the scene – “Needle and Thread” – was written and recorded by Alice Englert in her hotel room in New Orleans during pre-production. Director Richard LaGravenese wanted it for the movie.
The film lulls in the middle for a bit as it embraces its Romeo and Juliet thread and the one thing that pissed me off about the film. How did Jeremy Iron’s character, Macon, know what to do at the end??? As Lena was the only one to have read the spell or know about it. I will forgive it as if I thought like that I could never have sat through four Twilight films haha. Now this is much better than any Twilight film, it is also the start of a quadrology of films so get into it – you may just like it – boys – a tip – a perfect date night film you may actually enjoy yourself. This one releases tomorrow, 21st Feb in Australia and I give it 8 out of 10 Ethan giggles.