Beatiful Creatures

“Beautiful Creatures” Beautiful_Creatures_One,4D_low_res

It’s the spooky month of October, which of course means Halloween.  To those of you whom have been reading, you are by now familiar with my slant on Horror films.  I enjoy them…but they have to be true Horror films.  Slasher/gore flicks do NOT qualify in my opinion.  It’s about atmosphere and in today’s cinema, apparently no studio cares enough about the quality of films they are putting out to give a squat about something as trivial as atmosphere.

Alright, so before I digress into that debate once more…allow me to get back on track.

I recently watched “Beautiful Creatures“.  It’s a film about a teenage witch in South Carolina, which sounded a lot like Georgia or Louisiana to me.  It’s about a love story.  It’s based on a book.  It was filled with some cool special effects.  Blah, blah, blah.  You know the drill, right?

In most cases where I am only so-so interested in a film, I tend to expect very little.  I figure this way there is less room for disappointment.  I haven’t the read the book that the film was based upon, so I had even less expectations than some other viewers.  I just thought it looked kind of cool.

What I walked away from this film with was and golf-clap kind of appreciation.  You see, they actually created interesting characters.  The characters were all enjoyable to watch, and I found myself saying aloud “I want to know more about those characters”.  It was as if the movie just teased you with these compelling characters.  And that is a great “problem” to have.

It starts with the main characters: Ethan (played by Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena (played by Alice Englert).  Ethan is charming, but not some pretty-boy model wanna-be dressed to the nines.  Lena is pretty and complicated, but again not a model wanna-be dressed in some absurd fashion or dressed like a hooker.  I’m sorry, but the older I get the more ridiculous I think some of these kids in movies look.  And yet, we the audience are supposed to forgive these lapses in judgement and just move on.  I say HELL NO.  The relationship between these two teens really is believable and sincere.  I thought it looked pretty effortless, like the way it should be.  The actors were great choices for their parts, because they looked …well, normal.  There was a kind of retro look to Ethan that worked because it fit his character.  It was subtle and not too over-the-top.  And Lena could have been portrayed as some sort of hateful boo-hoo angst-ridden outsider than is horribly misunderstood.  Instead, she comes off as a real person, complicated and unsure of herself.  Like I said, these characters were really well-written.  The actors did a fine job at their craft and truly brought the characters to life.

Okay, so it was well-written and it had a lot of other great actors in well-done roles.  Jeremy Irons as Macon Ravenwood, Lena’s Uncle, and Emma Thompson as the real villain of the story, Lena’s mother Sarafine, were superb additions to the cast and story.  But Emmy Rossum as Lena’s cousin Ridley was the real head-turning role.  I didn’t even know it was her until my wife told me!  Now THAT ladies & gents is acting!  Once I knew I could see her through the makeup and costumes, but it was her acting that really disguised her.  Wow – nice job!

The whole story made me think of Anne Rice‘s 1st book of the Mayfair Witches Trilogy, The Witching Hour.  Awesome book!  Remember what I said at the beginning of this about atmosphere?  Well, I used to read that book in my basement bedroom growing up on stormy nights, huddled in a blanket in my high wingback chair by my heater and lamp.  It was a an awesome experience and one that helped to create a real connection between myself as a a reader and the material of the book.  I really got into that book as a result – still one of my all-time favorites.  My point is, “Beautiful Creatures” harkened back to haunting tale of the Mayfair Witches, and that is a good connection for me.

It was nice to watch a film where the story was compelling and interesting from start to finish, and the characters were the heart of the story – not an afterthought.  The film brought to me a sense of “I wonder if this will become a series of movies?” – mostly because I would interested to see more of the story.  Wasn’t that the goal of this film?  If so, it worked!  Heck, I even like the way it ended!

So, as the first of what I hope will be more Halloween-inspired reviews this season, I highly recommend “Beautiful Creatures” – not so much as a Horror movie (because it’s NOT), but more because it might help get you mind started on thinking of ghost, ghouls, and – of course- witches.


…that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.


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