Beautiful Creatures PART II: The Film

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Film Review of Beautiful Creatures by the Stupendous Katherine @katjc (she who knows all the lyrics to Les Miserables). You can view PART I: The Novel here.
Katherine: Full disclaimer, I had JUST finished the book a week before watching the movie, so all of the little details were still in my brain, so bear with me while I pick apart how COMPLETELY DIFFERENT the movie is from the book.

First of all, props to the poster/title people for keeping the theme from the book cover. The writing is very pretty. And now, whenever I see it, I think of Beautiful Creatures (the novel). So good marketing there.

Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert play the romantic leads, Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes, respectively, I have to say, these two actors are the best part of the movie. They’re both adorable and they have pretty good chemistry together. I think I could just watch these two talk to each other in their little southern accents for hours, which is actually, I guess, what I did. [Axie: Alice Englert is the daughter of British director, Jane Campion and Alden Ehrenreich is American. He was discovered by Steven Spielberg at a Bar Mitzvah, no lie]

The novel starts out with Ethan having a weird dream about an unknown girl who he's trying to save from drowning, but in the movie, it begins with Ethan and the girl just standing around and gazing at each other while lightning strikes in the distance. [Hence commences the beginning of major changes from novel to film]
Ethan goes to school where we meet the Mean Girls, Savannah (Tiffany Boone) and Emily (Zoey Deutch). We also meet Link Lincoln (Thomas Mann), Ethans BFF, and Mrs. Lincoln (Emma Thompson). [Axie: Before we go into @katjc's massive amounts of SPOILERS on how the book differs from the film, I'm going to give a short plot summary mentioning the rest of the major cast players]  Axie: When the new girl, Lena Duchannes, comes to school, the girl of Ethan's literal and figurative dreams, she's tormented by Savannah and Georgia, for they believe she's a devil worshipper, as she's the niece of the local eccentric, Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons). Like Macon, Lena is a "caster", a paranormal being who has magical powers. Ethan, after falling in love with Lena, finds out, that on her upcoming sixteenth birthday, her powers will be claimed for either the Light or the Dark. And she believes, that like her cousin Ridley (Emmy Rossum) before her, she will be claimed for the Dark. Ethan and Lena, with the help of Ethan's voodoo practicing aunt Amma (Viola Davis), must find a way to break the curse, preferably through TRUE LOVE. [See how I managed to IMDB link all the major actors in the film? Win!]

ONTO THE SPOILERS (Read with caution. This is best reserved for those who've already seen the movie and/or are fans of the original novels and wish to commiserate with Katherine on major plot changes). 

Katherine: First of all, if you've seen the trailer AT ALL, you know from the start that Emma Thompson is obviously the bad guy. Remember, I read the book BECAUSE I wanted to watch the film. So, while I was reading the book, I assumed Mrs. Lincoln was just plain old Sarafine. HOWEVER, the big-ending-twist of the novel is that Sarafine has been masquerading as Mrs. Lincoln (the stuffy, religious, fanatical southern lady who hates Lena) the whole time! And when we find out in the last 50 or so pages of the book, we are shocked. So, that’s why, when I watched the trailer again, immediately after finishing the book, I was majorly pissed off! That twist was pretty good, and while I should have maybe seen it coming, it was worth it to wait until the end to experience the shock at how evil Sarafine was to Lena the whole freaking time as Mrs. Lincoln. The trailer totally ruins that. I get that Emma Thompson is the bees knees in actresses and that it would be a waste to not have her be revealed as evil early on in the movie, but it was still slightly upsetting to me. 

ANOTHER THING they changed from book to movie, is that Macon is revealed as an incubus in the book. (This is one of the side mysteries that we don't know for a really long time). This makes him technically evil, as incubi feed off of humans. But he did not choose to be evil, since he was born this way. In the movie, he chose to be a dark caster. I don't like this because it implies that Macon is kind of a flip-flopper. It makes more sense for him to be tortured by his dark nature, but be redeemed by his love for Lena, like he is in the novel. 

The movie also says that only girls are claimed for the Dark or the Light against their wills (sexist!) and that it's true for all casters (racist!). This is dumb. It should only be the Duchannes/Ravenwood family that is cursed because it was THEIR ANCESTOR who did the stupid spell!!! 

The main mystery in the movie of how to break the curse is not the same as it is in the book. In the book, they need to find the Book of Moons, but they can't. In the movie, they don't know know which book holds the information on how to break the spell, so they go down to the underground caster library with Amma to look for it. (This is where the movie really seems to call it in). They go down to the library, which is ginormous, and Amma goes something like this: "Oh, Macon already looked for the spellbook, but couldn't figure out which one it is." Okay, so no biggie, maybe Lena can find it because she's mega powerful. So, Lena closes her eyes and imagines finding it, and these HUGE ornate double doors open up behind her, revealing a room with ONE BOOK in it, on a special book reading stand. Now, if I were Macon Ravenwood, I would be all: "Hey, Amma, do you have a key for these really important looking doors? Oh, look, there's only one super special caster book in here. Maybe that particular book will have the answer." (Axie: Fail)
Lena: I'm trapped in the room with the ONE BOOK!!!
There's some logic holes at the end of the movie. Lena discovers that in order to break the curse, the one she loves must die. So she casts a spell to make Ethan forget her...
This is where her logic has holes. Even if Ethan forgets her, it doesn’t mean he’s not the one she loves. So he could definitely still die. Anyway, she is having the ceremony for her claiming on the same day that Ethan is participating in a civil war reenactment (dun dun dun!) and Ethan gets shot with a REAL bullet! The bullet was planted by Ridley and Sarafine so that Lena would turn Dark. Again, holes in the plot, since Ethan dying would break the curse that would turn Lena Dark… 

The end,-end is also changed from the novel, but I'll let that one slide, cause I kind of liked it. 

Anyway, the movie is fine, they have really beautiful scenery and fun period costumes during the reenactment, and AWESOME caster costumes. But they don’t have a lot of the side characters, which kind of made the book seem more real and authentic. It also doesn’t have some of the twists that made the book more interesting. 

So I would say, read the book first, because it gives a lot of the lore and background to fill in the blanks that the movie leaves out.  I worry that the filmmakers did not read books two through four (and neither did I) so they may have left out crucial background facts/characters that may play a more important role later on, but I also think that this film may not do well enough to get a sequel…I guess we shall see! 

UPDATE: So the movie did not do well in theaters. It cost $60 million to make and only grossed $20 million domestically (It got just over $60 million worldwide). Obviously I don't work in the film industry, but I've obsessively read enough movie news to know that this is not desirable to the movie executives and the possibility of a sequel is pretty slim based on these stats alone. But who knows, maybe the DVD sales will do phenomenally. 

(Axie: Hey, Katherine, remember when Jeremy Irons/Macon Ravenwood made sweet Google-themed jokes? Those were the best additions from book to film.)

And now, because I'm nice:

10 comments:

  1. This was a novel about a novel. It's novel inception.

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    1. Novel "INTERCEPTION" If you saw the movie, you would get this joke.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. (So, I deleted the previous reply because I found some grammatical errors, so, here I go again)
      I laughed so hard at that part and FinalE Destination 6, LOL. I algso would have liked the dog/ wolf creature, I thought it was a great character in the book. But I did prefer the ending in the movie to the one in the book, although it did have the holes... It was pretty cool. And I agree, the side characters, such as the Mean Girls should've had more presence in the plot, but all and all it was a funny cheesy movie.

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  2. alguien sabe si van a hacer la segunda parte?

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    1. Ni idea, por buscar esa información vine a parar aquí también. Vamos a ver, porque no fue la mejor película que pudieron haber hecho, pero en mi opinión los libros tampoco fueron TAN super buenos como para seguirlos muy de cerca. Aún así, a la vez no me molestaría que hicieran la secuela, para ver cómo les sale el segundo intento.

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  3. I too had just finished the book, like, the week or so before i went to see the film. I went with my friend who had read (i think) all four books. She hated how many Changes were in it. Like, Savannah was the head girl of the mean girls, not Emily. in the movie, it's mainly just Emily being the big-bad-bitch. and i didn't even know that was Savannah until i read it here. i don't remember them naming here through the film...
    and my friend made a great point. Macon says something about how he and Ethan's mother had a special (wink) relationship. that is NOT mention in the first book. i remember this specifically because my mate was giving out about how that's not mentioned until the second book and i had to agree because it is a spoiler for book 2.
    In my opinion, compared to the book (along with my mate) i was outraged at this film. speaking as a purest, the adaptation was extremely poor. so much left out and changed and ugh!
    But as a film itself, set aside from the book, it was a really good film. i could appreciate that much.
    i just finished Beautiful Darkness (i know, im so up-to-date with my reading) and i did like it. as much as the first one? not really, no. but i would like to see it adapted. however, listening to my friends reviews of it and seeing how it did at the box office, i would be surprised if it did get made. :(

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  4. komt er een deel 2 ?? ik hoop het wel het is een super film en een super boek

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  5. So, a lot of people see to wonder if Lena choses dark or light at the end. If you don't want to know don't read the rest of this comment. SPOILER ALERT. SPOILER ALERT:


    At the end of the book (as well as the movie) Lena is neither light or dark. She was not forced to choose because the moon was covered and could not choose for her. She is a very powerful caster and this is explored more in later books (probably won't be explored in later movies since the first did not do well).
    So there you go.

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  6. I love the movie it is one of the four best love stories I have seen Twilight, Titanic,the notebook, & beautiful creature are my most favorite and the man in the moon is a good movie as well, I don't care what any one else thinks I thought it was amazing and can't wait for part 2 to come out at least I hope they make a part 2.

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