Beautiful Creatures: Dark Secrets Will Come to Light (2013)

Posted: September 3, 2013 in Drama, Fantasy, Romance

BEAUTIFUL-CREATURES-poster2Ethan Wate feels like he is trapped in a town going nowhere. Tempted by the opportunity to travel the world, his plans begin to change when he comes across Lena Duchannes, niece of the shut-in Macon Ravenwood. He feels like he is drawn to her, though she completely resists his initial advances. As the only person to show her any kindness, he wears down her harsh exterior and begins to start a friendship with the misunderstood teenager. Eventually, he learns that she is actually a Caster, a person who has control of mystical abilities. He learns that she is destined to be taken for the light or the dark on her 16th birthday. Just as he begins to come to terms with her situation, he learns that he will play a much bigger part in the process and that her family will not make the experience an easy one for either of them.

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan Wate), Alice Englert (Lena Duchannes), Jeremy Irons (Macon Ravenwood), Viola Davis (Amma), Emmy Rossum (Ridley Duchannes), Thomas Mann (Link), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Lincoln/Sarafine), Eileen Atkins (Gramma), Margo Martindale (Aunt Del), Zoey Deutch (Emily Asher), Tiffany Boone (Savannah Snow)

With a cast balanced with some veterans and some unknown, this group had potential to bring to light a few new acting discoveries. For Ehrenreich, he played his character in a way that made him extremely likable but not particularly remarkable. He had moments of emotion but the writing seemed to make the his character somewhat dismissible with his extreme obsession of Lena. Englert was erratic, which may have been necessary with her character’s struggles, but she was never truly a likable character. Irons was interesting, but Viola Davis was definitely the easiest to connect to. Rossum and Thompson had the evil side down but their performances were also minimized by the writing.

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Richard LaGravenese attempted to take the work by Kami Garcia and turn it into a feature film. Unfortunately, the story’s adaptation and high budget did not make it a box office success. The story essentially followed the lives of Ethan and Lena. As a couple, they were essentially star-crossed, with Ethan being a mortal and Lena being a Caster. Their love was shaping up to be just like the pattern that started the curse on her family. In order to learn more about how to break the curse, Lena had to discover the truth about her need to lose someone she loved in order to account for the magic used by her ancestor that returned her love’s soul to his body. With her cousin and her mother working to pull her into the darkness, Ethan seemed to be the final link between her choosing one side or the other.

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The problem with the transition from the book to the film was that it seemed to lack the heart that appears apparent in the storytelling. The entire movie was meant to highlight the idea that people, or mortals, are beautiful creatures and that beauty lies in their emotions and their concept of love. The dark Casters lacked the ability to love. Though this theme ran throughout the film, it appeared to be avoided at certain moments and overdone at others. Ethan was constantly feigning over Lena, even while she pushed him away. In some ways, Ethan’s actions felt somewhat sickening, whereas Lena’s personality was conflicted but lacking of engagement. The story was mostly from Ethan’s perspective and quickly lost its flare when it switched to Lena’s narration.

Beautiful Creatures had many decent moments and seemed to fit the mold of other similar films but lacked the heart and lacked the consistency to make it a true success.

Dan’s Rating: 2.0/5


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