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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Beautiful Creatures (2013)


Beautiful Creatures is a fantasy romance set in the remote town of Gatlin in South Carolina, where teenager Ethan Wate wakes up every night from a recurring dream of a beautiful young girl standing alone in the middle of a stormy field.

The Plot

One day, a new girl named Lena Duchannes joins school and Ethan realizes that she resembles the girl in his dreams. He falls for her, not knowing that she is a witch belonging to the family of Casters, a generation of powerful wizards and witches, whose women are "claimed" by the light or the dark powers on their sixteenth birthday, depending on her true nature.



Lena is mocked and shunned at school by her bitchy classmates who spreads malicious gossip about her, claiming that Lena's family are devil worshippers. However, that doesn't prevent Ethan from pursuing the mysterious Lena.

Ethan finds an old locket near the town's Civil War site and gifts it to Lena. But when both of them touch the locket together, they get a flashback of the American Civil War after which Ethan mysteriously ends up in his home on his bed.

As Lena and Ethan's bond grows, Lena's uncle Macon Duchannes strongly disapproves of their friendship and plots with Ethan's family friend and mother-figure Amma to keep the two separated. Lena eventually reveals to Ethan about the truth of her family and how she fears that she might be claimed by the dark side on her approaching sixteenth birthday.

The plot gets complicated when two villains arrive on the scene with a common objective - to ensure that Lena gets claimed by the dark.
  • One is, Lena's beautiful cousin Ridley, a temptress who had got claimed by the dark side herself. 
  • The other one is Lena's dead mother Sarafine, an evil witch who starts possessing the body of Mrs. Lincoln, Ethan's friend's mother.

Meanwhile, Lena and Ethan decide to investigate the flashbacks induced by the old locket, which unravels a deadly secret about their ancestors. Genevieve Duchannes, a Caster and Ethan Carter Wate, a soldier were in love. Ethan got killed in a battle and Genevieve, in her desperation, cast a forbidden spell to bring Ethan back from the dead, as a result cursing all future Caster women.

To stop Ridley and Sarafine's conspiracy to have Lena claimed by the dark powers, Amma discloses that she is the keeper of a secret Caster library and leads Lena to the Book of Moons. After several days of study, Lena deciphers that the only way to break the curse is to let someone she loves die. Not wanting Ethan to get hurt, she distances away from him and erases his memory of her.

How the evil witches Sarafina and Ridley are defeated and how the curse gets broken forms the climax of the story.

Verdict

The movie is based on the fantasy novel named Beautiful Creatures and has a striking similarity to the base theme of the Twilight series - romance between a supernatural being and a mortal.

Now I haven't read the book but I was hoping that the movie would justify the title. But even by the end of the movie, I did not quite catch why the story is titled as "Beautiful Creatures" and not Beautiful Witches, or Magical Creatures?

Every movie deserves to be judged on its own merit, therefore I won't compare Beautiful Creatures to Twilight, it would be unfair. Nevertheless, one thing is very obvious, though the acting of the lead actors is not that bad, the chemistry between Ethan and Lena simply doesn't get the time to develop. Everything happens in a tremendous hurry and the magical intensity expected in a supernatural romance is completely missing.

The movie spends a lot of time in trying to make the audience wonder - will Lena become light or dark? However, there is no proper suspense build-up. Of course, everyone knows that good will always triumph over evil (unless you are watching Game of Thrones). But it is the dark forces in a good fantasy movie that is supposed to challenge the normally expected outcome and induce doubt that maybe, just for once, evil might get victory over the good. 

But no, the movie simply rushes to make Sarafine and Ridley look like super-villains with no reason or explanation, while Lena is in perpetual self-doubt and Ethan is the exceptionally tolerant and patient supporting-role of a boyfriend.

The only plus point of the movie is its scenic landscapes, especially the storm-stricken field with a lone tree standing in the middle of it. Overall, I would rate this movie a 5 or 6 out of 10.

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