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Beautiful Creatures

Like most current teenage-skewed films, ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is based on a fantasy book series.  Experiencing a recent genre resurgence it appears anything having a mystical and romantic element is quickly turned into a movie.  Some like the ‘Twilight’ series have made a fortune whilst others have faded from view.  ‘Beautiful Creatures’ gamely attempts to rake in the cash for its producers although it eventually turns into a very bland product.  It has some spark although not enough to break free of the formulaic shackles commercial cinema insists on enforcing.

 

Lena (Alice Englert) is a new arrival in the town of Gatlin.  Hiding a dark secret, she becomes friends with Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich).  An easily bored soul, Ethan is quickly bewitched by Lena’s charms.  Little does he know her magical allure is real as she possesses special powers.  Forced to participate in The Claiming – sending her into the realms of dark or light – their relationship takes a turn none could foresee.

 

‘Beautiful Creatures’ is a production of two halves.  Its first pokes knowing fun at the conventions set by ‘Twilight’ with some deliciously over the top performances.  Unfortunately these are dragged down by a slow second act indulging in the very conventions it initially mocked.  This robs it of its uniqueness with an increasingly complicated back-story ruining the simple premise.  Its’ derivative nature also spoils its coming of age angle further drawing-out events.

 

Despite the disappointing quality distortion, director Richard LaGravenese successfully captures the strange atmosphere enveloping his characters.  Their attempts in escaping the confines of the small religiously-fuelled township effectively reveal the motivations for their actions.  Even if its story plods to a limp conclusion the cast, including Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson, capture the sinister charm of their roles with ease.

 

More fun than most of its type ‘Beautiful Creatures’ ultimately amounts to very little.  Decent CGI and acting can only go so far with its overall generic nature changing it from being a potential innovator to another imitator.

 

Rating out of 10:  6

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