Review – Beautiful Creatures (2013)

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This is my second film reviewed using my 2017 rating model, for more information about that, check out my page for How I Review.

beautiful-creatures-52c9454ec275eI vaguely remember seeing trailers and promotions for the 2013 film, Beautiful Creatures, but for the most part, it slipped right through my fingers, and four years later, I’m finally watching it for the first time, without any real expectations going in, other than to maybe see some…well…beautiful creatures? So, let’s get into it and unlock the mysteries that I had about this film.

This epic romantic fantasy tells the story of Ethan, a young man who falls for Lena, a new girl in his small town, only to discover she comes from a mysterious family, all of whom all possess supernatural powers. Together, they team up to break a curse. – IMDb

PEOPLE
★★★★★★★★☆☆

 

  1. Good Acting: ★☆
    • Does this movie have good acting? Yes and no. While I think the acting was alright for the most part, I pretty much hated the southern accents that mostly felt entirely forced from the actors. I’ve heard fake southern accents before, usually used in films making fun of southern accents. Weirdly, that’s what I felt was happening here…so it was a weird experience to watch people going all out and sounding silly at the same time.  One star.
  2. Good Characters: ★★
    • Questionable acting aside, I did like the characters. They all seemed somewhat unique, and I was rather busy trying to figure them all out I watched the movie – in a good way. When thinking back to this movie years from now, I’ll have no problem whatsoever recalling at least five of the many characters, which is definitely a plus.  Two stars.
  3. Good Casting: ★☆
    • Is the entire cast doing a good job? Acting-wise, yes, but I really do believe they could have benefitted off of having a different lead for Ethan. Yes, yes, we know he has been cast as a young Han Solo in a future Star Wars film, but Alden Ehrenreich kind of annoyed me in the role, specifically. I think everyone else felt as if they were spot on, but Alden…I really don’t know. I wasn’t really feeling it.  One star.
  4. Good Importance: ★★
    • Do all of the characters have their own path that they are following that is important to the overall story? Absolutely. Ethan is out there in the middle of destiny calling him to prove that love conquers all, Lena is trying to live her life without recalling how doomed she might be, Macon is going above and beyond to discover different ways to keep Lena safe, and Amma and Ridley are constantly trying to do the opposite of Macon. They all have paths, and they all contribute to this story. Two stars.
  5. Good Chemistry: ★★
    • Now, even though I wasn’t the absolute biggest fan of Alden in the role, I did indeed find their chemistry to be quite believable. Not only their chemistry but Lena’s chemistry with Macon, her chemistry with her sister Ridley, even Ethan’s chemistry with her family is worth noting. Everyone seemed to work very well together. Two stars.

WRITING
★★★★★★★★☆☆

 

  1. Good Dialogue: ★★
    • For the most part, I didn’t really notice anything worthwhile as far as dialogue goes, but once and a while, a good and extremely memorable one-liner would pop up. So two stars here.
  2. Good Balance: ★☆
    • Here’s where book-to-screen adaptations can get a little funky. I didn’t read the actual book, but as I watched the film…I did feel as if certain moments felt rushed and I was missing something, hinting at something possibly convoluted or edited for runtime. Not the best here. One star.
  3. Good Story: ★★
    • As an overall consensus, I did actually like the story.  Unraveling the past, discovering Lena’s family’s history and what that means for the future – as well as it coinciding with the blossoming love story, was all pretty decent. Even somewhat memorable. Two stars.
  4. Original: ★☆
    • As for originality, I’m not even saying because this is based on a book. This isn’t super original because of the theme itself. This is a supernatural romance young adult book made into a movie through-and-through – there was a ton of predictability and tropes shooting at us left and right. HOWEVER, a lot of the movie I considered to be original in the sense that I’d never really seen something like this, too. Something about it’s unique approach to telling us a familiar tale got to me. One star.
  5. Interesting: ★★
    • Again, back to the uniqueness. This story is indeed unique and interesting. Everything from the characters, to the setting, to the random lightning bults hitting the dang tree. There was an overall atmosphere that we’re introduced to early on that acts as a hook, drawing us in enough to commit to watching it. Two stars.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

 

  1. Visuals: ★★
    • This film draws a lot of its strength from its visuals because this is quite the stunning film most of the time. There are quite a bit of interesting visuals that are either done through technical effects, visual effects or just the right scene shot at the right time with the sun.  So call me crazy, but the visuals worked for me. Two stars.
  2. Directing: ★★
    • The director had a book to work off as the source material before getting into the script side of things. He needed to make a story become a reality of sorts, and I believe he was clear with the direction he wanted the film to go. He definitely did a good job making written word transform into real living human beings. Two stars.
  3. Editing: ★☆
    • Now, the editing really has to come down to what I said earlier about the balance. The movie sometimes feels rushed or convoluted, and a part of that has to do with editing as well. There were certainly moments where I just sat there, watching intently, before feeling like I just missed something. The editing could have used a little help here and there. One star.
  4. Advertisement: ★☆
    • For the most part, I saw the promotional stuff for this movie years ago, so I can’t really tell you whether or not they were all that great or if there was false advertisement as well. For now, I’ll just give it a single star, because I’m sure it was fine.  One star.
  5. Music: ★☆
    • Once again, I paid close attention to the music in order to determine if it was a good soundtrack/score. It was okay, once again meeting the requirements for the scenes, but other than that…nothing worthwhile to listen to again. One star.

NARRATIVE ARC
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

 

  1. Introduction: ★☆
    • Okay. Here we go, not all narrative arcs are intact as well as they should be, and one fine example comes down to Beautiful Creatures, because this movie has what I consider a poor foundation as the film begins. There is an introduction to this movie, but I guess you could say it was rushed through because it jumped into the main story, really before the movie even began, and I’ll explain more in the next part.  One star.
  2. Inciting Incident/Crossing the Threshold: ★☆
    • This movie has no inciting incident, okay? None, because the inciting incident that the movie uses as a gateway to get past the threshold and into the obstacles…happens before the movie even began. The inciting incident in question is when Lena moves to the town and strange things begin to happen. She moved there before the film began and the strange things began to happen before the movie began as well…so you definitely feel like you’re missing something major.
    • You might be able to say that the inciting incident is when Ethan nearly runs Lena over with the car, beginning their relationship (in a way), but that is really more about crossing the threshold than anything. Once they are in a relationship, he’s willing to do anything for her….and there’s no going back from there…which indeed is crossing the threshold. One star, and that’s being nice.
  3. Obstacles: ★☆
    • The obstacles in this movie are both there…and aren’t there at the same time. This film focused on two main storylines, the relationship angle and the supernatural doomsday angle. The main villains were only truly waiting to come out at the climax, which meant they were hanging back letting things go for MOST of the movie.  The real obstacles came from normal relationship stuff, which is kind of boring. One star.
  4. Epiphany/Climax: ★★
    • I wouldn’t be exaggerating by telling you that, as far as the narrative arc is considered, this movie pulled its greatest punches at the end, which is what they were gearing up for throughout the film as well. There is a pretty decent climax here that was both exciting and unpredictable. Two stars.
  5. Falling Action: ★★
    • There was a completely acceptable falling action moment here as well. Sometimes movies like this like to just…stop…after the climax and leave you hanging (like a cliffhanger, for example), but this took a breather and let things settle down, like it should, meanwhile giving you hope that maybe a sequel could potentially happen…although most likely not. Two stars.

OVERALL ENTERTAINMENT
★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

 

  1. Rewatchability: ★☆
    • Alright, so I seem to have a problem in the actual entertainment section. Both movies I’ve reviewed using this model have lacked severely in this section…maybe it’s my subcategories. Who knows!? But, as far as rewatchability is concerned, I wouldn’t put it past me to watch it again, but at the same time, I don’t see myself seeking it out, either. One star.
  2. Fun: ★☆
    • Truly, Beautiful Creatures had its moments when it came down to how fun it was. There was interesting moments and interesting visuals throughout, but there were also boring moments towards the last quarter that lasted a little longer than maybe it should have. One star.
  3. Impulse to buy it: ☆☆
    • As I don’t think I”ll really seek this movie out again to even watch again, I don’t think I’ll have any impulse to buy it, either. No stars.
  4. Impulse to talk to someone about it: ★☆
    • Now, I wouldn’t mind having a conversation about this movie to someone, since I did think it fit somewhat well in the otherwise overpopulated young adult supernatural films. Then again, if I don’t talk about it to someone, I’m not going to lose my mind and go crazy. One star.
  5. Sucks the audience in:
    • No, I wasn’t really sucked in in this film. No stars.

 

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Magical World
★★★★★★★★★★

 

Now, we’re onto our specialty categories specifically geared towards Beautiful Creatures. First up is my presumption that the film would take place in some kind of magical world, be it like Narnia or Oz, or a hidden magical portion of the world we currently live in. In this case, Beautiful Creatures takes place in a hidden magical portion of our own world, which is exactly what I was looking for. 10 stars.

Actually “Beautiful Creatures”?
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

 

Now, for a movie called Beautiful Creatures, I’m somewhat expecting there to actually be…well…beautiful creatures. In a way, the film definitely provides us with them, but more in a way where we’re all like…ahh, I see what you did there. So not in quite the literall form that I was expecting, so…five stars here.

Feels like Y.A.
★★★★★★★★★★

 

Next up comes down to the fact that it felt like YA watching the trailers, and it is indeed a young-adult-worthy film. This was a movie that those pre-teens and probably regular teens would enjoy more than any other audience. I don’t see anyone buying the wall calendars or whatever quite yet, but I’m not putting that off, either. Ten stars.

Romance
★★★★★★★★★★

 

Being a young adult story, and in general, the movie was promoted as a romance tale, quite obviously. So this is more of a genre-specific specialized category. How was the romance? How was the chemistry? How were the two characters together? Etc. The romance was cute, it featured characters that had good chemistry and you wouldn’t mind seeing in other movies, sequels or whatnot. Ten stars.

Halfway Decent
★★★★★★★★★★

 

And finally, the category I’ll probably be including in most, if not all, of my specialized categories. As I’m a strange critic, I also include the mere idea that the movie is halfway decent, because if it is, it should be recognized as such. In the case of Beautiful Creatures, this movie was certainly decent, therefore – ten stars are awarded to it.

 

RATING: 78/100

 

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