Supernatural teenage love has been a Hollywood staple for the last several years. The most successful of these ventures pitted a vampire and a werewolf against one another in a love triangle with their precious Bella. Now, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel-turned-romantic-fantasy-film "Beautiful Creatures" is poised to pick up where they left off.
Ethan, played by Alden Ehrenreich in his first major lead role, has never left his small town of Gatlin, South Carolina. But when the girl he's been dreaming about for months shows up at his school, his days of reading only the books banned by the local church regime has new focus. It seems that Lena, played by Alice Englert (also in her first major lead role), is a special kind of girl. She's what they like to call a "caster." We might call her a witch but, like Lena says, "That would be like calling all smart people nerds."
Ethan's small-town ignorance and a supernatural attraction has him pursuing Lena even after seeing the truth about her family - the town's gossiped-about, rarely seen shut-ins - and learning that on her birthday she is going to be either claimed by the dark or the light side of the supernatural realm.
All in all, director Richard LaGravenese, best known for "The Fisher King" and "P.S., I Love You," has made a well-rounded and entertaining film that does a really good job of keeping us engaged with fun storytelling and great character development.
The rookie actors are a huge compliment to the otherwise experienced cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson. As a matter of fact, the decision to go with relativity unknowns for the lead roles was brilliant. That way we could get to know them purely from what we experience alongside them here, instead of comparing them to past roles.
Beautiful Creatures has been compared to both Twilight and the Hunger Games. Truth be told, this film is more of a mixed evolution of the two due to the small town, mystic-filled teen love element we found enjoyable in series such as Twilight, interwoven with the more realistic nature and action of the female lead-driven Hunger Games.
Regardless, it is recommended you see this in the theater. It's filled with great special effects and is an enjoyable movie-going experience. I'm giving this one three out of four miners.