Beautiful Creatures opened this past weekend. From the box office numbers (a mere $8.9M), it seems it should be considered a flop.
And I think I might have to agree with that assumption.
For those who saw the movie without reading the book, you may have liked it. A few critics claim it was just another movie trying to catch some of the Twilight fans and dollars. But not so. This movie actually had some acting (fairly decent, too), and a strong-ish storyline, and some stinking good graphics and cinematography.
For those of us who read (and enjoyed) the book, we noticed the movie missed the mark–and by a wide margin, in my opinion. The novel is long. Over 400 pages. And there’s a lot of story that goes into those 400 pages. A lot of detail. A lot of back story. A lot character development. But, most of that story was lacking. Important parts that were integral to the book. But, when you only have two hours, some things have to be cut.
A few obvious ones that slam into you in the first twenty minutes of the movie:
- Savannah Snow and Emily Asher are described in the book as practically being twins. Not so much in the film
- Amma’s character is a big one in the book. I mean, huge. She’s almost a second mother to Ethan. In the movie, she’s important, but not the presence she was supposed to, or needed to, be. She’s obsessed with crosswords, is always cooking food for Ethan and his dad, and a constant presence in the Wate household. So, imagine my surprise when one of the first scenes is Ethan cooking breakfast for himself as Amma walks through the door. And she most certainly isn’t a librarian. It was just….wrong
- The dad was nonexisten, so we didn’t get that story arc, which would have been beneficial to the insta-love that swathed the two main characters. Gag
- Lena is supposed to be driving her uncle’s black hearse, not a yellow, vintage Mercedes
- The dog. In the book, Macon keeps an eye on Lena and the town through the eyes of a big, shaggy dog. Nope. Not one hint of a dog in this movie
- The ending was completely wrong and off and horrible
Like I said, these are just a few points of interest that differed from the book, and they may be small, but they add up. Individually they may not make a difference, but for those of us who have read the book, they may just end the world.
One of the bigger items that unsettled me was the insta-love factor between Ethan and Lena. Usually, in YA books, it’s hard to build up a realistic connection between two characters so that when they do fall in love, it’s believable. And usually, in movies, it’s a lot easier to build that connection because you can visually show them drawing closer together, etc. In the book, Beautiful Creatures actually did a pretty decent job building a believable romance between Ethan and Lena. In the movie, they were making out in what seemed like a day (the passage of time wasn’t shown very well in the beginning of the movie), so I felt like the whole thing was strongly forced.
Overall, as a standalone movie & having no prior knowledge of the book, it passed. Compared to the book, though, it was a fail.