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Beautiful Creatures: Exceeding Expectations and Then Some

I. Loved. This. Movie.

I honestly didn’t expect it to be this good. Having not read any of the books in this series and only knowing that it existed as a movie because it was kinda similar to Twilight, my expectations were really, really low, except that I knew going in that if nothing else, everyone was putting on a fake Southern accent for me to laugh at.

But this movie blew my mind. The main leads had chemistry not unlike Mr. and Mrs. Smith or Star Wars Episode V, the villains were actually relatable in terms of their philosophy and they were able to show real weakness. The inherent mythology and world building was carried off so seamlessly that there was absolutely nothing about it that didn’t make sense to me while I was watching it (even when they for absolutely no reason at all dropped the name of one of the most influential first ladies of the late 20th century).

The story revolves around Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) who starts the movie as a very boring kind of guy. He reads and he runs. He lives in one of the most stereotypical middle-of-nowhere towns you expect to find in the Carolinas. For the first few minutes, that’s pretty much all there is to his character. The only interesting bit is his battle with insomnia due to mysterious dreams about a girl who keeps her face hidden who he may or may not have seen before.

This girl turns out to be Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), new girl in town and relative of the town shut-in and rumored Satanist Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons). She’s been shunted from family to family throughout the deep South and Macon has finally decided that the only way to keep her safe is to keep her as close to him as possible. What is he keeping her safe from?

Well, the Ravenwoods are not, have never been, a normal family. They are a family of magic-users called “Casters” (and if you call them witches they’re likely to skin you alive). Each Caster has a pre-determined alignment toward good or evil and Lena’s is yet to be determined. Macon, previously a Dark Caster now turned Light for Lena’s sake, believes it is his role to keep Lena from turning into her mother Sarafine (Emma Thompson), a powerful Dark Caster bent on the destruction of “mortals”, a.k.a the human race.

This turns out to be a big problem for Ethan and Lena’s burgeoning romance, as Caster alignments work apparently the same way the division between Jedi and Sith does. Emotion leads to Dark Caster, control over emotion leads to Light Caster. Meaning Ethan and Lena can’t actually be together because her love (and lust) for Ethan could potentially turn her into a mindless ball of evil that destroys everything in its path.

Ultimately the couple devote themselves to curing Lena’s family curse, which makes females in her branch of the Ravenwood family more predisposed towards becoming Dark Casters regardless of their actual alignment. This stems from an ancestor of Lena’s from the Civil War era (played in flashbacks by Rachel Brosnahan) who used forbidden magic to revive a Confederate soldier she’d fallen in love with. Due to the fact that some law of nature needs to prohibit reviving the dead, her alignment automatically reverses and she promptly loses her mind.

When the way to stop the curse is revealed, everything starts to hit the fan. Someone will pay for their choices. Someone will lose someone else. Someone’s relationship will never be the same.

And if you want to know how, go see this movie.

Posted by on February 22, 2013. Filed under Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.