Trailer Tuesday: Beautiful Creatures
A Valentine's Day opening in the US. Marketing material plastered all over the cinemas. A South African press screening with security so tight that mobile phones are banned... If the fuss is to be believed, Beautiful Creatures is being positioned by Warner Bros as the next Twilight Saga.
The parallels between Twilight and Beautiful Creatures are many and obvious. Like Twilight, Beautiful Creatures is based on a supposedly hit (although I've never heard of it!) Young Adult novel with a supernatural romance focus. Instead of vampires though, this time we're dealing with reclusive witches. In a role-reversal regarding the "teenage lovers drawn together from different, warring worlds," HE's the ordinary human while SHE's the "gifted" one. Oh, and Beautiful Creatures utilises the verdant, gothic South as its setting as opposed to the chilly, grey Pacific Coast.
Judging by the trailer above - as well as the plot-heavy feature trailer - Beautiful Creatures features better special effects than Twilight. And it definitely has a better cast. Although the star-crossed lovers are played by unknowns Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert, they're supported by big names like Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum and Emma Thompson. Not bad, not bad at all.
Anyway, in terms of plot, Beautiful Creatures doesn't seem short on eye-rolling, cheesily named components. Sixteen year old Ethan has his dull small-town life shaken up when moody outsider Lena enrolls at his high school. Weird events shadow Lena but that's because she's a "Caster," and on her 16th birthday she will be chosen - via a coming-of-age ritual known as the "Claiming" - for either the "Light" or the "Dark." Ethan and Lena find themselves drawn together (he's already seen her in his dreams) despite the disapproval of their communities, and the threat of powerful Dark Casters intent on claiming Lena for their ranks.
If Beautiful Creatures finds an audience, expect 3 more movies, as The Caster Chronicles - which is how the book series is better known - forms a quadrilogy.
Beautiful Creatures opened on North America last week, on 14 February. It scored an aggregated review score of 46% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes - which is actually around the same score that the majority of Twilight films achieved on the site. In other words, the movie is not terrible, but certain audience members will warm to it more than others. According to critics, Beautiful Creatures is far from perfect - it's definitely too long and bland for the most part - but it's helped by the credible performances of its 2 young leads, who actually make their relationship believable, while their acclaimed acting seniors ham it up around them.
Beautiful Creatures releases in South Africa this Friday, 22 February.