Movie Review: “Beautiful Creatures” – Ugly On The Inside

Written by Travis Pulchinski February 27, 2013

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First it was Vampires, then Zombies, and next week, I’ll probably be reviewing “Embalmed: A Mummy Romance”.  But today, it’s witches who are falling in love.  “Beautiful Creatures” is a tween-targeted fantasy-romance film based on a novel written for people who thought “Twilight” had too many big words. He’s a charming human country boy and she’s a mystical caster who has the ability to summon crappy CGI at will.  Together, they will overcome the thinly-veiled abstinence metaphors and prevail over puberty with the power of predestined love.

There are three more of these movies coming.

Ethan Wate is just a simple 25-year old High School Senior living in a small southern town populated by illiterates and hate-mongering Catholics, until he meets Lena, the new girl in town.  Unlike his superstitious classmates, who cruelly bully Lena after she explodes glass windows all over them, Ethan is drawn to Lena and soon discovers she is a witch, or rather, a “caster”.  Lena is only a few months away from her 16th birthday, in which she will be claimed by either the light side or dark side of the force.  Ethan must help her combat the convergent forces within her own feudal family and confront the imminent personality-altering, sexually awakening transformation that all young women must face at a certain age.  Marvel in the subtlety.

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Can’t blame them for Twying

It’s unfair to shovel blame for the spectacular mess that is “Beautiful Creatures” onto the actors or even the director, as the main culprit of the calamity is the source material itself.  The story is so forced and flawed it seems like something written by a ninth grade English student.  As soon as the story progresses beyond simple character introduction, plot canyons begin to split open that even the story’s contrived “magical rules” can’t fill up.  From the second act onward, every action taken by the characters makes less and less sense, at times even contradicting their own natures and goals.

Here's a book that solves all your problems. You're allowed to look at it now because it's the end of the second act.

Here’s a book that solves all your problems. You’re allowed to look at it now because it’s the end of the second act.

Fateful attraction

One pitfall of the Twilight series that “Beautiful Creatures” avoids is to at least cast two charismatic and talented leads in the main roles. Of course, with stories like this it’s never enough that Lena and Ethan just like each other.  It has to have some higher meaning.  So naturally, it’s established that they are “destined” to be together.  On top of this, Lena’s upcoming birthday marks the 200th anniversary of Ethan’s ancestor, who was in love with Lena’s ancestor, being killed in the civil war.  The date also marks the most powerful solstice in 5000 years, because it wasn’t special enough already. Despite the seemingly all-important nature of their romance, the climax ends up literally forgetting Ethan completely and making him insignificant to the final outcome.  Lena ends up vanquishing evil all by herself (oh, spoilers or whatever) just because she is really, really powerful.  But power was the whole lure of the dark side wasn’t it? Oh, and why do the witches refer to humans as “mortals”? Wouldn’t that imply that the witches are therefore immortal? But they’re not because they get old and can die…
But I’m getting sidetracked. Moving on.

The only thing more confused than the plot is Jeremy Irons' accent

The only thing more confused than the plot is Jeremy Irons’ accent

“Beautiful Creatures” is a terribly written, painfully overt metaphor for the evils of puberty and promiscuity in young women.  It masquerades as a fantastical love story, but winds up preaching a message of sexual suppression and borderline dogmatic Christian values.  Ironically, the movie completely lacks any kind of restraint with its cheap looking visual effects, which are spewed out from the onset, destroying any sense of immersion or realism.  Massive plot holes and aside, the intent of this movie is enough to offend any even moderately competent viewer.  So yes, I loved it.  I actually laughed my ass off, much to the annoyance of the teenaged girls making up the rest of the audience.  So if you think clumsy theistic attempts at brainwashing are as funny as I do, go see “Beautiful Creatures” as soon as possible.

My Rating: 6/10

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