Beautiful Creatures: Gorgeous film should draw Twihards

By Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comFebruary 14, 2013 

Beautiful Creatures is a potential cure for Twihards going through Bella and Edward withdrawal. It's the tale of the torrid and forbidden love affair of Ethan and Lena. He's a mere mortal guy doing his last year of high school, and she's a powerful witch pushing birthday 16.

That date is when fate decides whether she'll spend her life on the light side or the dark side. Lena can go either way and has an evil mom performing plenty of parlor tricks to get the poor girl there. There's also the family curse. It may negate anything fate has planned, anyway.

The teen love is opposed by her powerful uncle who discourages poor Ethan at every turn. Undeterred, Ethan believes she'll end up on the light side of life, the two fall in love and await the birthday date.

Beautiful Creatures is beautifully done and written by Richard LaGravenese who wrote The Horse Whisperer and The Bridges of Madison County. His screenplay is based on a popular novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. LaGravenese doesn't direct many films. His last two were Hilary Swank projects, P.S. I Love You and Freedom Writers in 2007. This one is gorgeous and has outstanding special effects.

Early on, LaGravenese's screenplay lets relative newcomers Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert, who do Ethan and Lena, and their old pro supporting cast Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson and Viola Davis have some fun. The dialogue is terrific and features gobs of good humor.

And then it gets to the third act. Things get very serious and very slow.

It's also where Beautiful Creatures crumbles into territory already trampled on by Twilight. While not as contrived, the relationship of Ethan and Lena is doomed. It also dooms the movie. The smart dialogue and clever story idea eventually fade into teen angst territory loved so much by Twihards.

Beautiful Creatures

Director: Richard LaGravenese

Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, Emmy Rossum

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It is playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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