Tuesday 3 June 2014

Film Review - Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Beautiful Creatures
Director(s): Richard LaGravenese
Genres: Fantasy, Romance | Childrens, Young Adult
Duration: 124 Minutes
Release Date: 14th Febuary 2013
IMDB Rating: 
Butterfly Rating: 
Trailer: See Here
Buy From: Amazon | Ebay
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

This film is an adaptation of a novel.
Please bare in mind that during this review, there may be spoilers referring to scenes in the novel.

If you rate and review Beautiful Creatures on the cinematic experience it's not a bad film, delivering on all the cliche but vital things the industry thinks young adults want: a romance so instalove and cliche you just can't help but giggle, a plot extremely unclear that throws unanswered questions at you faster than the windstorms and lightning that one of the main characters can produce and an actress so well known for her parts in Love Actually, Nanny McPhee and Harry Potter that people are sure to like it. From a book-to-movie adaptation though, Beautiful Creatures fails on almost everything other than the vivid world.

From the start I knew I would feel a little iffy about the film merely because I had to open my book review of Beautiful Creatures just to understand the beginning. What was Ethan doing? Dreaming? Imagining? Going insane? These thoughts ran through my head during the opening sequence, also, I have to mention, all the accents in this film threw me because I'd entirely forgotten it was set in South Carolina so that constantly made me feel uncomfortable throughout the entire film. I'm usually pretty good with accents from around the world, but I'm definitely not used to the one the characters had in Beautiful Creatures, and this made understanding some of the simplest of speech and sentences during the film a huge problem. However, when the lighting wasn't too dark and the opening sequence a little more menacing than in the novel, the music used was actually really complimentary to the feel of the film which felt and looked much darker than the book had. As openings goes from a film point of view, it started off strong, entertaining and had the makings for a good film. Sadly, after the opening scenes, it all went a little down hill from there..

When it came to important plot points that I remember from the book, this film has none of them; no dog, no necklace, not enough focus on the history and the curse, and not enough focus on the locket, or the claiming and with all those little and pretty important features out of the picture, it left me pretty darn disappointed. When that wasn't enough, other tiny details like Lena's hair being slightly off and not the right colour or Ridley's appearance being off and nothing like in the novel to the fact that the final scenes were absolutely nothing like those in the novel were, no matter how powerful or well made they were. By the end of the film, I was frustrated with the entire set up, the change in plot direction and set up and the taking out and putting in of scenes in the film that it seriously didn't need. To say I was angry is an understatement and a huge one at that.

When it came down the characters and the romance, the film was both good and bad. The relationship had the same set up as the novel did, very brute, very quick and slightly unbelievable but it was the actual actors they had playing the characters I couldn't relate to. Alden Ehrenreich I felt wasn't a good choice for Ethan's character, Ethan in the novel felt much less toned and less sharp in the humour and face, and while I appreciated the sarcasm and humour that film Ethan had, it wasn't the Ethan I remembered from Beautiful Creatures. Add this to Alice Englert as Lena and I felt the whole dynamics of their characters and the relationship they portrayed was so forced, so unnatural and took over the entire film and premise. I found myself smiling once or twice, but there was too much kissing, too much 'love' thrown about and too much of, well, them. It's such a shame because Emma Thompson, one of my favourite actresses had an amazing part of playing Sarafine and she was overshadowed completely. She had this fantastic raw talent of taking Mrs Lincoln and going from 'Mother who needs a damn slap' to 'holy shoot she's a damn nasty little so and so isn't she' and it was so good when she was on screen, so much so, her screen time was some of my favourite time. Now, don't get me wrong, although the scene between her and Macon wasn't involved in the novel whatsoever, I actually quite enjoyed it, I enjoyed the perspective it gave on Sarafine and how Thompson took the character and created such a depth and pure hatred towards her that is so rare in young adult films these days. I really think her acting talent was a waste on this film entirely. I don't want to go too in depth with the other characters and actors, but Emmy Rossum made such a good Ridley, while Thomas Mann was not a good Link choice I think and their relationship with one another was so, not novel like it wasn't nice whatsoever and I couldn't take to it at all.

I didn't like the direction Richard LaGravenese took with the plot either. I felt important scenes such as the swapping of Ethan and Macon was one of the biggest to set up for the second book and her totally dismissed and re-arranged it all, not to mention the fact that Ethan's Father was entirely not involved whatsoever also highly annoyed me; don't involved a character I don't get to learn anything about or even so at all. Missing scenes from the meal at Ethans, the randomly placed table spinning scene at Lena's, the random shoot out between Link and Ethan, the scenes to do with the past and the curse that were so badly put together and had no real seperation from Lena and Ethan, damn I could go on about how much changed and how much was done terribly, but I shan't. Oh, I will mention how utterly cliche the 6 months later part was; no grieving of Lena over Macon whatsoever which is so vital to Beautiful Darkness and the whole 'changing Ethan's memory' was just, no, I wasn't impressed whatsoever.

As a whole and from a film point of view, it had the standard makings of a good film with beautiful scenes; the dining room in Lena's house, the final scenes between Lena and Sarafine and even the detail on Lena's interior house design was just beautiful, the so utterly predictable, cliche relationship and making sure the viewers knew something Ethan didn't, but for me, as someone who as read the novel, it lacked a lot of the features that even with time I've still stood by and enjoyed. I would watch it again with other people in the future, but I don't think I could consciously enjoy much at all, and for this reason, I think it's safer for the director and producers to not produce a sequel and leave this film as a lonesome flop.


  1. YAY! Movie reviews :) :) :) I actually saw this in the cinema because I had liked the look of the advert. Before I went to see it I decided to read the book and have to admit to not being the biggest fan. I just felt like the book was unnecessarily long and didn't have enough going on to warrant the length of it. I didn't come to love any of the characters in the book either which made it easier when I went to see the film. I thought the film was enjoyable enough but nothing very special. It was also very different from the book so definitely wasn't a great adaptation in my opinion. I probably would have given it two out of five as well.

    1. About time right? :D It's going to be nice to bring this feature out more, especially with the current 'getting out of slump'. I have to admit, the trailer didn't look all that bad, but 2 hours worth of film wasn't good. Think I'm with the crowd on this one and I'm glad I'm not alone, so it's good to know :)

  2. Thanks for this movie review, hon! :) Usually I don't mind certain detains to be left out in a book-to-film adaptation, but when you don't recognize it anymore due to the large amount of changes, it does indeed get aggravating. That's how I felt when I watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! I was so pissed they butchered it that I ranted to a friend of mine who was actually a HUGE HP fan that she lashed at me for being so nitpicky lol. In any case, I never talked about HP with her again! :P

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    1. You're welcome Faye! I can so understand when people get angry that things are taken away, that's how I felt with this, so I've very glad I'm not alone on that front. Thank you for taking the time to visit :)

  3. i read the book not long before seeing the film so the open scene didn't feel to much out of place, although I agree it was confusing at times. The accents annoyed me, I don;t know why but they just didn't sit right. I agree about the music though, it did complement the movie really well.

    The casting didn't feel right to me either, although I do think that Emmy Rossum was the right choice for Ridley, maybe I'm just biased though as I've loved her ever since she was in The Phantom of the Opera, also I think Jeremy Irons as Macon was perfect, but yet again I could be biased as I don't think you can ever go wrong with Jeremy haha

    Like you said, the romance was quick and unbelievable, but I thought that of the book too (although I was slightly less annoyed by it because of the whole 'curse and meant to be together thing')

    completely agree with you, it would be far better for them not to make another film. Sadly if they did, despite how much I disliked the first one, I would still have to watch it because I have an OCD about unfinished book and film series haha (which actually reminds me that I need to finish the books haha)

    Great review Amanda, as expected. Can't wait to see what you review next :)

    1. Oh Jeremy Irons was the perfect Macon, the right snark and feel, harsh vibe in the face but caring nature for Lena, he was well cast. I think I would have to agree though, if they did make another, I would feel weirdly obliged to watch it, even though I haven't read Beautiful Darkness yet, dang. Thank you Stacie! :)

    2. Haha glad to see another Jeremy Irons fan :P.

      I don't think they will bother making one because the box office didn't make a lot and they've cancelled films for less.

      You are welcome as ever Amanda, you know that :)

  4. Honestly, I have never thought this book should have had a live action adaptation. Beautiful Creatures was always one book were I thought the series was better left to the imagination then to see it produce in a film.

    I thought the movie could have done
    a better job. However, I did not entirely hate it either. I actually really enjoyed it the second time I watched it.

    Maura (http://yaadict.com)

    1. I do have to agree, it's not something I'd really had high hopes for when it was out that it would be made. It's difficult because I didn't hate it either, I just think there were very few actual good, entertaining parts that weren't all love orientated.. :)

  5. I have to admit, that I didn't like this movie at all. I felt okay about the book, there were things I liked and disliked, but the movie covers little to none of the important elements in the story. I've been meaning to write my own review on this movie, but I wouldn't have too many good things to say. Thanks for your honest review!


    1. Bad reviews are still good Lisa! I'd love to hear your thoughts, negative or not, it's good to have not-so-positive reviews on something, it gives a broader picture :)


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