I never expected to have to acknowledge “Supernatural Teen-Romance” as a common genre in the media, but since Twilight hit it big, this genre is quickly becoming overcrowded. There is certainly a fanbase for these films, but my complaint is generally with the quality of the films. These films tend to be short on talent and plot, but drowning in angst. Of course, it’s become popular to bash on this genre of books and films. Now, I may be a big, bearded man, but don’t think I won’t give a movie a fair chance. With that said, let’s hop into
True Blood Twilight Beautiful Creatures.
Beautiful Creatures opens on the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina. Ethan Wates (Alden Ehrenreich) is starting his Junior year of High School and spends most of his time reading “Banned Books” from the library. When a mysterious, young girl named Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) begins attending his High School, Ethan finds himself drawn to her and repeatedly attempts to befriend her. After meeting her reclusive Uncle, Macon (Jeremy Irons), he finds out that she is a Caster (or witch). As he and Lena fall for each other, Ethan gets drug deeper and deeper into the magical world of Casters. Lena is headed for her Claiming, which means she will either become a Dark Caster or Light Caster on the night of her Sixteenth Birthday.
Generally speaking, any movies involving teens or child actors tend to be cringe worthy. Surprisingly, Beautiful Creatures found a good cast for the characters. The two leads, Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich, have a fair amount of chemistry, but are mostly saved due to Ehrenreich’s buckets of charm. Most actors that try to pull off “Charming” tend to come off as being snotty, but Ehrenreich is able to provide some genuine charm in his role. Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson both play their roles well, bringing their much needed experience into the film. Emmy Rossum, who plays Lena’s Succubus cousin, does a decent enough job. Mostly, she struts around and seductively eats fruit. While none of the cast particularly shine, they all set a high bar for the quality of acting in movies aimed at teens.
Beautiful Creatures isn’t exactly subtle with most of their morals, whether it’s the idea of destiny or religion. You are constantly slapped in the face with what you’re supposed to be feeling from particular scenes. I understand that this film is aiming at a younger audience, but I’m sure they could have instilled the desired meaning without being so blunt. Also, this film is filled with hateful, ignorant Christians, led by Emma Thompson. The church bans books from the local schools and libraries, the classmates of Lena all scream that she’s a, “Devil Worshiper”, and all blindly follow the orders of the corrupted church heads. While these portrayals are obviously exaggerated stereotypes, some people may take offense to some of the more overbearing moments. Personally, I didn’t mind it too much, but it was a topic I overheard plenty about from the other audience members leaving.
The soundtrack to Beautiful Creatures was entirely composed by the band, thenewno2. Surprisingly, thenewno2 pulled off a pretty good score that blended well with the film, instead of just being in the background. I’m always happy to hear a soundtrack that isn’t simply noise for you to ignore while watching the movie. Avoiding making the entire film sound like an album by thenewno2, they actually composed an orchestra score. The score blends vocals, guitars, and an orchestra, with an electronic twist.
It’s hard to critique Beautiful Creatures without bringing up the big, Twilight-y Elephant in the room. Beautiful Creatures is another venture into the beaten-to-death genre of “Supernatural Teen Romance”. Thankfully, Beautiful Creatures is able to take itself a little less serious, than their bloodsucking competition. Honestly, it’s not hard to be better than the Twilight films, but I think that Beautiful Creatures is just that. They both may be filled with teen angst and sappy romance, but Beautiful Creatures didn’t make me want to kill myself.
To tell you the truth, I was really expecting to hate this movie. It seemed like another cheap knockoff of the Twilight Saga, attempting to cash in on Teens’ hard-borrowed money. Shockingly enough, Beautiful Creatures supplied a good cast of actors, some humor, and a decent story. It’s not without its share of problems, but Beautiful Creatures delivers on a watchable experience. If you’re forced to sit through a supernatural teen-romance movie this Valentine’s Day, let’s hope it’s Beautiful Creatures and not Twilight.
I give Beautiful Creatures 3 “Small Town Christians” out of 5
By Blake Edwards