Director: Richard LaGravenese
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Current Location: In Theaters
Ethan longs to escape his small Southern town. He meets a mysterious new girl, Lena. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town.
I have been eagerly awaiting this film ever since it was announced. I wasn't a huge fan of the book, but I thought that the movie could spice up the slow parts that made the book a very arduous read. In short, I was optimistic and hopeful that this movie could be even better than the novel, which I awarded three generous stars.
Well, the unthinkable happened. The movie actually made a slow and boring book, even more slow and boring. I honestly didn't think it could be done. But Beautiful Creatures succeeded on crushing my hopes in many ways.
Let's dive in. I think the main problem of this adaptation was that there literally was no action. All the action scenes in the book (the dance, the great climactic ending) we're either spoken in narrative in the film or edited down to be dull and well...again talking. So what we got was basically a cool visual audiobook (but less cool and more dull).
The special effects were laughable, and played out more like a cheesy version of The Labyrinth than a fun action or dark, haunting movie. The Southern Gothic setting was my favorite part of the book but in the movie it didn't resonate well. Mostly, I was just frustrated at all the horrible and distracting southern accents.
It wasn't a complete failure. There was one bright side. Emmy Rossum who plays Ridley is fantastic. Ridley was my favorite character in the novel, and whenever Emmy came on screen it was like energy finally poured through the scenes.
The romance was cute. Don't get me wrong. Alden Ehrenreich plays a great Ethan Wate. But the romance failed to liven up the plot. It's insta-love (like the book) so unless you truly believe they fall in love in 2 weeks, it'll be a hard sell.
The biggest failure will always be the end climactic scene where Lena faces off against her mother the night she's supposed to be claimed. The setting is completely re-worked from Lena's birthday party to a civil war reenactment scene. The change is fatal. It removes all the tension and suspense and literally leaves one of the best events of the book to be a stale, boring wasteland of blah. A terrible choice.
I'm not upset that they diverged from the book. I was hoping that they would. The problem was that the changes actually made the movie worse than the book. It was like they chose to take out all the action scenes and keep all the boring ones. What?! Sorry, I'm still dumbfounded.
ROBOT VERDICT: A boring book made into even a more boring movie. Emmy Rossum plays a great Ridley, but it's not enough to salvage one of the worst adaptations I've ever seen.