Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Movie Review: Beautiful Creatures
I was lucky enough to see an early screening of Beautiful Creatures last week. And when I say "lucky", I
mean I got in line three hours before a promotional event at the end of January in order to secure a ticket for myself. That's how bad I wanted to see this movie. I've been reading the series since the first book came out way back in December of 2009. Let's just say I'm emotionally bound to this world and these characters. It also helps that the story is set in South Carolina, which is where I live, so I could easily just picture myself in Gatlin alongside these characters. Every year since, I would look forward to the next book in the series. I begged friends to borrow their ARCs. I ate them up as soon as I got my hands on them. So know that you know my background with the book series, we can get on with this.
I don't remember when I first heard that they were actually going into production for the movie. I knew for a while that it had sold film rights pretty early on, but the probability of books picked up by studios and books actually made into movies is a pretty low ratio. But when I heard there was a director and the cast was slowly being announced, I could finally get unbridled in my enthusiasm for the movie. It made it through the cutting room! The studios think they have a winner! I get to see my favorite YA world come to life on the big screen! Slowly, production images came out, then teasers, then full trailers. I was in it all the way, following every step of production. Fast-forward to last Thursday. I was sitting in a movie theater in Atlanta with a full house of fans of the series, press, and other lucky individuals. I was giddy with excitement. The lights in the room dimmed to black. I was ready.
As soon as the first scene came onto the screen, I was in the world of Gatlin County. The set decorations, locations, score, editing-- everything came together flawlessly to make this world that I have been imagining inn my head for years come to life. It's like the director Richard LaGravenese knew what I wanted and made it just for me. The world was so real juxtaposed with the supernatural world of the Casters. It felt like there could really be a place in South Carolina like this. Like I could drive a few hours east and find Ethan and Lena and Amma and Macon and Link all in one place.
Richard LaGravenese, who also wrote the screenplay, adapted Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel so well! It had the same feeling of reading the book again. It was funny, the relationship between Ethan and Lena was adorable, and Macon was perfect. While he changed a few things from the book, they make sense for this movie. Maybe it helped that I didn't go in expecting all 563 pages of material from the book to be there. Though I probably would've sat there for a few more hours to get a bit more world building and character development, but he did a pretty good job for condensing so much down to 124 minutes. He had to rely on locations and sets to do some of the world building for him. You don't get as much detail as you want, but you get enough to make it real.
Like I said before, the relationship between Ethan and Lena was absolutely adorable. The chemistry the actors have with each other is something I haven't seen in a teen romance movie in a while. There's one scene in particular that made me melt into a puddle on the floor. THEY'RE JUST TO CUTE!! If you have doubts that either Alden isn't what you pictured as Ethan or Alice isn't what you pictured as Lena, then you will walk out of the theater feeling differently. They convinced me. And it's coming out on Valentine's Day, so I think it would be a perfect movie to take a girl to see. Both guys and girls will love all the action and won't be completely disgusted by the romance. *coughs* every Nicolas Sparks movie ever *coughs*
Emmy Rossum's portrayal of Ridley was so deliciously evil. She exuded it. She was sexy and flawless. Jeremy Irons IS Macon Ravenwood. I never doubted it for a moment. Viola Davis made a really great Amma. Emma Thompson was so different and great! I hated her character when she was Mrs. Lincoln, but that's what we're supposed to do. She's a religious nut turned vessel for evil. It's the perfect disguise and she played into it brilliantly. Thomas Mann is Link incarnate. He was hysterical when we see him around Ethan and he added so much humor to the film.
As for the visual and special effects in the film, I thought they were really well done! From the individual Caster powers to the natural occurrences of lightning and rain. Each effect was detailed and helped make the world that much more believable.
No, it's not the strictest adaptation of a book ever. If it were, it'd be seven hours long. So don't go into it thinking every one of your favorite scenes will make it into the movie. I plan on getting the multi-disk blu-ray to watch all the special features anyways! I believe the director did an excellent job with adapting this book into a movie. I think fans will enjoy being a part of the world and I think those who haven't read the books will be drawn in by the beautiful world he brought to the big screen. Let's just hope they go out and read the books after they fall in love with the characters!
As a fan of the series for the past four years, I was very satisfied after walking out of the theater! It was everything I wanted from it and a few things I didn't expect. It stands on its own as a great film. Go see it as soon as you can this week or next!
Come back later today and I will have a giveaway ready for you! It'll be the perfect Valentine's present, I promise! :)