Beautiful Creatures

17 Feb

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Synopsis: “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.” (Rated PG-13; 2 hours 12 minutes)

Marketing. Stupid, stupid marketing. As a movie-lover, it really makes me angry when a movie doesn’t get a fair shake thanks to lousy marketing decisions. This happened notably with John Carter, a movie which I ranted all over Facebook was a heck of a lot better than the Star Wars prequels, but was marketed as if it was a kid’s movie, with the title sounding like it was a Denzel Washington drama. The author of the novel was Edgar Rice Burroughs (who had also written Tarzan), and the book was part of the original inspiration for George Lucas to create Star Wars, but yet none of that was included in the marketing…and the movie bombed of course. It was like, what???

Beautiful Creatures is the latest casualty to be absolutely mis-marketed, and I really hope more people take a chance on it, because guess what? It’s good!

You’d think from watching the previews that it’s trying to cash in on the Twilight crowds running to see another piece of dreck about teenage love with the backdrop of fantasy and danger; and you see all of these over-the-top melodramatic moments that make you think it’ll be another movie to see and make fun of afterwards. But from the opening scene of the movie I knew it was actually a fun, witty, cleverly written movie, which just happens to be in the teenage setting of fantastical love. Did the movie simply focus on the monotonously bland expressions of the awful Twilight actors (I can not STAND the one-note acting performances of Kristen Stewart nor Robert Pattinson), where there was literally nothing to watch in the movies other than a tone and vibe of teenage longing and love? No, here in Beautiful Creatures the main character is an intelligent and hilarious protagonist who actually reads books and quotes Charles Bukowski and Kurt Vonnegut, and doesn’t talk down to the adults in the audience. It’s like watching a Pixar movie where the kids can love it but the adults should just as much, except this time it’s made for both tweens as well as adults; and thank you Richard LaGravenese for adapting and directing the book into this really fun film. Adi, Josh, Elizabeth and myself all laughed out loud at various witty lines, were impressed by some of the inventive directions the plot takes the magical story, and got to appreciate some darn good actors working the nifty dialogue.

That’s one sign that a script must have been pretty good; if a few quality actors sign onto a movie it’s either because tons of money is thrown at them,or because the script was appealing, and I have to assume it was the latter here. Emma Thompson was great at hamming it up as two different sorts of characters that I won’t give away here. But it was the most fun I’ve had watching her for years. Jeremy Irons did his usual solid work as the non-evil version of himself that he occasionally portrays (e.g. Eragon). Both are English actors putting on Southern accents, and they do a fine enough job with that. Emmy Rossum who I always enjoy seeing in the Showtime TV show Shameless was fun to watch playing against type as an evil, seductive witch (or as they prefer being called, “Casters”). But I have to admit, the lead actor Alden Ehrenreich, mostly unknown until now, gave one of these great little performances that really makes you hope that he’ll be around for a long time; he was just so likable in a nontraditional way. And not to be forgotten, Viola Davis gave her usual good performance, and was involved in a scene which stood out as a brilliant decision by either the director or the editor. This one late scene in the movie involves the main character (played by Ehrenreich) speaking to Viola Davis’s character and after a big reveal, instead of going back and forth with the cameras to each one as you’d normally see, the camera stayed on Viola Davis for an uncomfortably long time. It was actually an emotionally powerful moment that gave me the chills; it really impressed me, both because of her performance itself, and the decision to show it that way. (Yes I’m being vague so I don’t give away any awful spoilers!)

Did I see some of the main plot twists coming in a typically predictable way? Sure, I’m not saying the movie was a revelation, or the next Princess Bride, but I can see a wide range of audiences being just as surprised as we were and simply enjoying themselves with this one, and rooting for the main characters in their love against the odds. But alas, this blog isn’t read by nearly enough people to undo the damage already done by the marketing strategy discussed earlier, and the movie already bombed in its opening weekend, so my advice will likely come too little, too late.

The movie was better than every single movie in the Twilight series combined. It also was far better than all of Richard LaGravenese’s previous attempts at directing movies, including P.S. I Love You, an awful chick flick that Adi actually loves for some inexplicable reason. It was however not as good as a movie that LaGravenese WROTE years ago, The Fisher King, which was one of Robin William’s more clever movies.

Quality Rating: A-

Boaz Rating: A (Thought about giving an A+ here, since I genuinely enjoyed it all the way through for all of the right reasons, but can’t say I LOVED it like I do a few movies a year since it was really enjoyable, but still somewhat predictable)

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10 Responses to “Beautiful Creatures”

  1. Josh February 18, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Oh boaz, on a quality rating I don’t see how you get above 7. The quality of the acting and the unoriginal plot (though the setting and interactions were more original, or at least atypical) can’t make this movie an 8. also, there were numerous plot holes (e.g., how person A gets into a given situation). it was definitely an enjoyable movie, but I don’t see how a better-than-average B movie gets an 8 in quality…

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  2. boazconstrictor February 18, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    An 8/10 is 80%, you think that a better than average movie should get under a B? Confused Josh, not saying it was an A movie but a very very solid B I stand by in its quality thanks to its strong pedigree of good actors, its fun storyline, and its surprisingly clever script.

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  3. blackshirt13 April 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    Honestly, I did not read your post. Yet. As I am still reading the book, I’ll withhold judgment for the meantime. That, and I’m afraid of reading spoilers. Lol. Will hit back after after I finish the book. Thanks for visiting my blog too! 😀

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    • boazconstrictor April 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      I don’t blame you, I prefer waiting to read/see things for myself before reading reviews, especially because there are too many spoilers out there.
      But I will tell you one thing, I say time and again on my blog that I will NOT give spoilers, I just hate them so I’m very careful about that. 🙂

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      • blackshirt13 April 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

        Okay, I gave in and read your post after all, thanks to the spoiler-free guarantee. 😀 Seems I missed out on this one. Too bad since I was actually considering watching this, but just sort of dilly-dallied too long that it was replaced in the cinema before I could properly make up my mind. Tsk. Oh well. Will just finish the book first, see if it would interest me enough to find a copy of the movie.

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      • boazconstrictor April 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

        My friend Elizabeth read the book AFTER seeing the movie with me and she actually said it was a terrible book and that the movie was FAR better. Wonder if you’ll agree when you finally see it. It was SO much fun.
        Thanks for putting faith in me, I really do hate spoilers, if for some reason I ever choose to do it, and I don’t think that’ll happen, then I’ll give a HUGE SPOILER ALERT WARNING before it happens. lol

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      • blackshirt13 April 12, 2013 at 1:15 am #

        I’m actually reading the book right now, that’s why I got interested in this post. 😀 I’m 26% into it and so far, not really liking or hating anything though I’m curious what happens next.

        Re: spoilers, I do put in spoilers in my reviews (mostly books though) just because I can’t help it. 😛 I mean, I can be a stickler for details when I’m pleased or irked so it all just comes out in my writing. I do put a spoiler warning first thing though.

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      • boazconstrictor April 12, 2013 at 3:03 am #

        That’s funny, at least you’re honest about putting them in, means I’ll be sure not to read your posts if they’re things I haven’t read (or seen) yet. 🙂

        Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Stoker | Boaz's Movie Obsession - March 19, 2013

    […] up.  I was excited to see  Alden Ehrenreich again, the main actor who I spoke highly of in my Beautiful Creatures review. However, between the short nature of his role, and his bizarre character development which […]

    Like

  2. The 2013 Boaz Movie Tally (Where Have I Been?!) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - March 25, 2014

    […] Elizabeth – 6 (Had a lot of fun seeing movies with Josh’s better half, but possibly the most underrated movie I saw last year: the extremely witty Beautiful Creatures.) […]

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