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Don't let Emma Thompson's and Alan Rickman's above-the-line marquee presence fool you - this one's a Twilight-knockoff nightmare...
Warner / 124 Minutes / 2013 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: May 21, 2013
Don’t call them witches – well, maybe not to their faces. In Beautiful Creatures, the latest attempt to turn the heads of Twi-hards still in mourning over the lack of new sparkly vampire adventures in the movie universe, the supernatural and the barely pubescent collide in blockheadedly obvious ways: I bet even Bella herself would turn off the movie after a half-hour or so, preferring to pout in front of an open window instead.
Within Beautiful Creatures’ first reel, we know that Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) has become entranced with the young beauty Lena (Alice Englert), but it’s not just puppy love. Lena comes to this poor sucker in visions, in the night, as though she has possessed him in goth Anne Rice fashion. It turns out that these intuitions have base – Lena isn’t a witch, she’s a ‘caster’, a woman with deep otherworldly power, and all ‘casters’ choose at their sixteenth birthdays whether they’re going light or dark, whether they choose a life of positivity, or if they become witches.
Beautiful Creatures is a terrible movie, of course, but blame can be pretty squarely affixed on its source material. With a couple more drafts of this limp adaptation of Kami Garcia’s and Margaret Stohl’s young adult novel, folks like Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and Viola Davis (who are all completely wasted) might have had a chance to breathe some emotive life into the film’s been-there-done-that angst-filled ennui. But no, in keeping with the novel’s pedantic narrative arc, everything about Beautiful Creatures goes down with the ship.
A cultural phenomenon like Twilight can’t be ignored – it should come as no surprise that a bunch of the movies and novels released in its aftermath look and sound exactly like it – but Beautiful Creatures is particularly unwatchable. Movie audiences are always ready and willing to experience a good on-screen romance (even one that plays just like the others), but this one’s worth tossing. Even Twi-hards will have trouble defending its Teflon-sheen emptiness.