By Jesus Figueroa
Although being called the new “Twilight” for having many similarities, “Beautiful Creatures” has its own identity and tells a dramatic coming-of-age story.
The plot is complete with supernatural elements, but still keeps a very human feel. Bringing together a comical approach to a complex romantic storyline, the film progresses with a steady pace keeping audiences interested in the story.
Screenplay writer and director Richard LaGravenese told Campus News that the visual effects are beautiful, but he personally believes that doing as much of what can be done on an actual set gives the audience a stronger feel of the world the movie creates. He personally wanted to take the audience as deep as he could into the “Beautiful Creature” world so they could feel as much as possible.
Although this is a supernatural story with “casters,” or witches, the director made a choice to not use many visual effects. “About ten percent of the movie is visual effects,” Lagravenese said.
Small town 16-year-old Ethan White, played by newcomer Alden Erenreich, yearns for something bigger than a small town life as he dreams about a mysterious girl he doesn’t know.
Ethan’s life gets thrown in a whole different direction when new girl Lena Duchannes, played by another relatively new actress Alice Englert, transfers into his class.
Lena is a forbidden fruit ridiculed by the town people for being different. She scares people because she lives in Ravenwood Manor, where her uncle Macon Ravenwood has kept to himself away from the town.
The story balanced the supernatural and romantic aspect with well-placed comedy. It kept the movie light-hearted and riveting at the same time.
Despite the super power element, the storyline feels quite human. It sheds light into teenage insecurities and inner battles of finding one’s true identity.
Lena is 15 years old and close to her 16th birthday. On their 16th birthdays, female “casters” have their fates decided by their true nature having their abilities claimed for either the light or the dark.
Both Erenreich and Englert carry the movie forward in a steady pace.
“To me this film has its own very distinct identity, voice and signature. It has such an incredible cast,” Erenreich said.
“What made the supernatural quality of this film stand out to me was that it was still based in a human world that felt real to me. The magic seemed to not just be there for spectacle. It seemed to be an extension of these people and their lives and who they were and it just made sense to me,” Englert said
Jeremy Irons, who portrayed Macon Ravenwood, thought being a protagonist was a good change of pace. He decided to portray Ravenwood with a sense of pompous arrogance. It gave his character a conflicting feel and kept the story exciting.
The film adaptation to the popular book by the same name does stay true to the story and incorporates all the major story elements effectively.
“Beautiful Creatures,” opens nationwide this Friday. It’s rated PG-13 and runs for two hours and four minutes.