Movie Review: Beautiful Creatures

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: Warner Bros Pictures)

Summary: A family of sort-of-kind-of witches settle in South Carolina so their teenage girl can transition into “light” or “dark” on her 16th birthday.  But a boy comes along and the two fall in love, which is a n0-no in witch land. Their fate is at risk because teenage love and witchcraft don’t mix.

Review: Teen love fantasy flicks are all the rage. From Twilight to Hunger Games, these movies pull at the heartstrings of young girls and annoy the eyeballs of everyone else outside of the demographic. That said, the first Twilight and last year’s Hunger Games were somewhat enjoyable. Twilight was an accidental phenomenon and Hunger Games‘ commentary on media, fame and class was surprisingly interesting. Based on the book by the same name, Beautiful Creatures clearly wants to be the next teen franchise epic, which makes the Richard LaGravenese-directed film calculated and terribly predictable.

Beautiful Creatures is not the fault of the actors (although the majority of the southern accents are embarrassing) or the cartoon-like special effects, it’s a terrible screenplay that is a toxic mix of Beetlejuice and Mean Girls. From the yawnfest build up to laughable one-liners — “Love is a risk for anybody!” — even if you lower your standards to teen-dream melodrama (similar to Twilight), Beautiful Creatures is far from spellbinding.

The only saving grace is the female lead, Lena (Alice Englert), is not the powerless damsel in distress like Bella Swan from Twilight. She is not giving up her soul for Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich). The message of independence is a bit more palatable. Unfortunately, the film and the actors’ bland chemistry need movie-making magic to create the next Edward and Bella. Of course fans might balk at the Twilight and Beautiful Creatures comparisons, but it’s impossible to not notice the goal for a cash cow.

Acting giants Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson give Beautiful Creatures some thespian creditability. Nonetheless, even this trio of screen perfection can’t save a calculated, snooze-inducing and unoriginal heap of film-making. Don’t be surprised if the film doesn’t resonate with its target demographic.

Beautiful Creatures is in theaters today.

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