Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

I read half of the Beautiful Creatures series last year and really enjoyed it.  My friend Keenan would disagree as she's been having trouble even getting through the first book.  Anywhoodle, I was excited when I read that they had cast some heavy hitters like Emma Thompson, Viola Davis and Jeremy Irons in movie adaptation.  I was fine with the two relative unknowns that were cast for the two main roles of Lena and Ethan.  I was less happy with the casting of one other character, Ridley, but I'll get to that.  I was truly angsty about this adaptation when I saw the trailer and sadly, the movie didn't prove me wrong.

So overall the movie was fine.  I really, truly tried not to sit there the whole time comparing it to the book but then that's just impossible.  The story is this: a girl, Lena, with powers moves to a small-minded, small town in S.C. and becomes outcast, undesirable #1.  The good news is there's a cute, smart, boy, Ethan, with (early)Ginsberg glasses that's hot for outcast witch girls.  Lena is about to turn 16 and when she does, she and her powers will be claimed for either the light or the dark (supposedly based on her true nature). There's a lot more to it but I think the movie didn't really do a great job of getting it all across.  Instead they picked the main plot and stuck with the basics.  But then I guess that's what they have to do when adapting a book for the big screen.

There were problems.  One problem was the accent used by a few characters.  Actually the aforementioned heavy hitters did just fine (it's been proven time and again that the Brits have no trouble with a southern accent).  The kids?  Well actually the girl who played Lena, Alice Englert, did fine but then she's from New Zealand.  The actor who had the most trouble was the guy who played Ethan, Alden Ehrenreich...an American.  His accent was soooo thick and comical that it was distracting.  Plus he tended to get a bit high-pitched and screechy at times, which didn't help.  The actor himself is utterly adorable (he's 23 so it's legal for me to swoon) and pretty much embodied who I thought Ethan was so that's good. 
What did I like? Um, well, uh, mostly the movie worked on the whole but when it's broken up into parts then I get a bit stabby about it.  Some of the choices made by director Richard LaGravenese were a little head-scratchy but most of those were because I wanted it to be truer to the book (like keeping it filmed in SC instead of New Orleans-but I'm sure it was a tax thing).  My biggest issue was the casting of the aforementioned Ridley:
Ridley is supposed to be more teen Lolita than a vampy, slutty 20-something.  Emmy Rossum is a fine actress and was ok in the film but I can't figure out why they went in such a different direction with only one character.  Everyone else looked pretty much the same as the characters were written.  Sometimes I'd really love to know exactly how decisions were made and the motivations behind them but I won't so I'll have to learn to live with that disappointment.

Anywhoodle, see the movie, don't see the movie.  I just don't care.  It's making no money so it's not like there's hope for the sequels to make it to the big screen.  So I'll just keep my fingers crossed that the Hollywood powers-that-be don't hold it against Ehrenreich.  I'd love to see him screech his way through some more movies.

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