“Beautiful Creatures” tries to be a Romeo and Juliet romance film with a supernatural twist, with the key word being “tries.”
Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) spends his time reading banned books and counting down the days until he can run away to college and escape his small, Bible belt town in South Carolina. Lena (Alice Englert), the niece of a wealth hermit whose family founded the town, moves to town and Ethan’s life is suddenly exciting.
Everyone but Ethan is weary of Lena because her family is rumored to be a bunch of devil worshippers. Ethan is unfazed by these rumors and quickly befriends and just as quickly sweeps Lena off her feet. Lena admits to Ethan that her family has magical powers and that when she turns 16 she will either be claimed by dark or light magic. Ethan takes the news with a shockingly cavalier attitude, but the situation quickly takes a turn for the worst.
‘Beautiful Creatures’ tries too hard to be Romeo and Juliet and Gothic without any type of balance. The sap of the romantic scenes paired with Lena’s magic comes across as tacky.
There is this almost fascinating gawky gaudiness reminiscent of “Twilight” about the film’s entire feel that makes it difficult to take seriously.
The film’s dialogue struggles to steer clear of cheesy lines that are awkward and unbelievable even in the world of magic. There is an awkward mesh of romantic and quirky with lines exchanged between Ethan and Lena, and any other lines are boring and lack any creative flare.
Ehrenreich and Englert perform marginally better than mediocre, but supporting actors do nothing but add to the film’s already gleaming tackiness. Emma Thompson’s performance is especially disappointing. Having starred in several highly rated films such as the “Harry Potter” series, Thompson tarnishes her career a little with mediocre acting. Emmy Rossum overacts and puts too much sass into her already overwhelmingly sassy character.
‘Beautiful Creatures’ is a sad attempt at putting a magic twist on two star-crossed lovers that is fit for teenybopper eyes only.
‘Beautiful Creatures’ is rated PG-13 for violence, scary images and some sexual material.