Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friday Flicks - Beautiful Creatures

Every Friday, or perhaps weekend, I plan on discussing a movie, or show, I watched in the last week.  It may be based on a novel, or just something I want to recommend.  To start things off, I'm going to talk about Beautiful Creatures which is based on the book Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.


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I originally read the book back in January of 2012, so I already knew what to expect when I borrowed the dvd from the library.  I must admit my expectations were a little on the low side, from my reaction to the source material, and from the reviews I'd already read.  I didn't really love the book and I didn't hate it either.  I'm somewhere in the middle and I don't know if I'll revisit the series anytime soon.

I enjoyed the movie about as much as I did the book.  There are a few changes from book to screen which I think the movie benefited from such as Amma and Marian being combined into one character, removal of Ethan and Lena's telepathic link, the musical sixteen moons element being removed from the film, and the ending change.  As much as I liked Marian  as presented in the book, I'm glad that they combined the two characters to streamline the story a little more. The Kelting connection wouldn't have come across well on screen so I'm glad it was omitted.  The ending of the novel primarily sets up the sequel, which personally I thought was a total cop out.  I mean, after all that she gets a deferral?!  Anyway, the ending of the movie sets up a sequel, but in more subtly, well, as subtle as the movie really gets.  

There were also quite a few things changed that seemed pretty needless down to character appearance (I'm looking at Lena) to major things like the details of the curse and the showdown with Sarafine.  To the point where I'm not sure why exactly they were changed or omitted completely, particularly Ethan's fate and Lena's claiming/the curse's connection to the Dark and Light Casters of her family.    

The visuals were good and have a very Tim Burton-esque style which fits the Gothic tone when it comes to the Caster family.  The special effects were alright, but nothing to really brag about, however, these aren't the focus of the story.  The focus of the story is on the Romeo & Juliet-style romance brewing between Ethan and Lena.  Since their relationship is the core of the story, of course, I was concerned about the way they were to be portrayed.  For the most part, though, I would say the actors made the most of their roles in the short time they had to them and that the two leads had good chemistry together.  

When I initially heard the cast list for this movie, I was shocked that the adult cast would be fleshed out by Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and  Viola Davis.  I had to wonder why they agreed to sign on to a movie like this, but then again these actors gave the story the boost in caliber it needed.  Viola's Amma was much less of a stereotype being combined with Marian and I enjoyed watching Jeremy Irons and  Emma Thompson chew the scenery with each other as Macon and Sarafine.

Overall, I liked the movie, but at times it just came across as too formulaic at points and too hurried to really get me invested.  I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy the dvd anytime soon.  If you've read the book, you probably won't want to miss this adaptation.  If you like love stories of the Romeo & Juliet variety or your Southern Gothic Romances with a dash of supernatural, you may want to watch Beautiful Creatures.

If anyone else has watched the movie, feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments.  

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