I cannot even begin to explain just how disappointed I am in the Valentine’s Day opening of Beautiful Creatures. Some how Safe Haven and It’s a Good Day to Die Hard managed to pull almost $9 million at the box office but Beautiful Creatures? It got the same $2.5 million in ticket sales that Warm Bodies did and Warm Bodies has been open for a couple weeks now. While Warm Bodies is a fantastic film Beautiful Creatures deserved better. It still does deserve better though if this is how it fared on Valentime’s Day I’m a little scared at what the end box office numbers might be after this weekend. (UPDATE: The weekend earnings added to the VD box office puts Die Hard and Safe Haven both above $30 million while Beautiful Creatures barely raked in $10 million.)
Honestly, I’m most disappointed in the Twilight crowd. C’mon. You guys support half a dozen crappy movies but you won’t even give this one a shot? For shame.
February is a great month for YA supernatural/paranormal romances and you should go see Beautiful Creatures if you haven’t already. I know what you are thinking. But, please, do not think that this is just a Twilight clone. Beautiful Creatures is not Twilight. I want to make that quite clear right now. Maybe it could have been. Rather, maybe Twilight could have been Beautiful Creatures if it were actually, you know, a decent movie. The two series have a lot in common as paranormal romances written by women. But they are very different beasts and the actors in this film? They are actually allowed to act!
The books? They are okay. Better than Twilight but that’s not saying much. The best part about that series, actually, is how it was made. It was written by two friends – one of whom was a school teacher – for their children and younger siblings. This was a series written with love and on a dare to prove that there could actually be decent teenage paranormal romances. And so the source material? Already way better than Twilight.
Also, the movie didn’t feel bound to just repeat what happened in the books. The events of the movie actually span several of the books and pick and choose the best parts of the plot to really bring people a quality film. I read the first book (and wiki’d the others) shortly after watching the movie. I tried to read it before the movie but I got pre-screening passes and went to see the film on very short notice back in October. A lot of the stuff in the books? It makes for an interesting read but it would not translate to film.
What you see in the film is actually a great adaptation of a much larger story. A different telling, if you will, that could really becoming a great teen romance series. One that could maybe let us finally leave Twilight behind us all.
Because I really, really liked Beautiful Creatures. I didn’t intend to and I didn’t go into the movie thinking I would. (Obviously, I mean, look at how much I’ve bashed Twilight.) But this film really won me over. It’s kind of adorable. The cast is great and all of them – from Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis to Thomas Mann and Alden Ehrenreich – pretty much nail their characters. Yeah, it’s cheesy as hell but that’s fine. It’s supposed to be super cheesy.
Let’s have a basic plot breakdown.
Ethan Wate is a high school junior whose always felt a bit different. Sure he’s always seemed to hang out with the popular crowd but he cares less abut girlfriends and sports and more about escaping his small town of Gatlin. He’s ready to hit the road like Jack Kerouac and go to college as far from town as he could possibly get. And then Lena Duchannes comes to down. She’s different, too. Lena moves in with her shut in uncle Macon Ravenwood and things never seem quite the same. Strange things happen at school and it becomes quite clear that Lena isn’t just a quiet, brooding, gothic girl. Ethan becomes determined to be friend her and in doing so finds that they have a history together that transcends decades and – perhaps if he could get her to see him the way he sees her – would transcend decades more. But it’s not easy for a human boy to love a Caster girl. Especially when this particular girl has a dark secret. On her sixteenth birthday which is coming up quickly she will either be claimed for the ‘light’ or the ‘dark’ side of magic. She has no power to decide which and there are darker forces in her family hoping for the latter.
It’s a dangerous game the two teenagers are playing but Ethan believes that love can conquer all. Unfortunately, Lena isn’t too sure.
Teenage paranormal romances seem like they are dime a dozen. I get it. The YA market is flooded with them each month – published and unpublished, professionally printed and self-published. The same can be said about their film adaptations. I get that there is a stereotype associated with the genre and I don’t dispute that it’s quite often earned.
But that doesn’t mean that a film adaptation of such a story can’t be a great film.
Nor does it mean that people should automatically discredit them. Trust me, when it’s worth calling a YA adaptation for it’s shit we’ll do it. We really will. And we honestly I like this movie. Enough that I went to the pre-screening in October and to another pre-screening about a week before it came out. They made a few minor changes from the first cut that I didn’t like (such as cutting out Ethan’s dad entirely) but over all it’s still a pretty solid film. A teen film? Yeah. Worth of an Oscar? Hell no.
Worth taking your girlfriend to see on Valentine’s Day? I sure as hell thought so.
I give this one a solid B rating. One day I’ll come up with a better rating system. But for now? It’s worth seeing. It’s worth giving a chance. And if you’re up for a corny teenage romp through romance then look no further. As long as you go into this film hoping for something more than just a Twilight knock off you’ll be quite pleased, I think.
So, don’t take this so much as a glowing recommendation but instead as a “C’mon, if you’re looking for corny and romantic why pick another cookie cutter Nicholas Sparks flick over this?”
Want to see it for yourself? Check out our Beautiful Creatures Giveaway here to get tickets of your very own!