Blu-ray Review: Strong Ensemble Propels Surprisingly Entertaining ‘Beautiful Creatures’

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CHICAGO – It may not be a beautiful film but the latest attempt at cashing in on the “Twilight” craze, Richard LaGravenese’s “Beautiful Creatures,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is surprisingly good-looking. The young leads show a lot more life than typical YA fare, the supporting cast is truly stellar, and the script from the author of “The Fisher King” and this weekend’s “Behind the Candleabra” has some interesting ideas about religion, fate, and maturity. It’s too long by some stretch and too many of the same ideas are hit repeatedly but when the supporting cast, including three Oscar winners, is allowed to do what they do best, it’s damn pretty to watch. Blu-ray rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

I’ll have to admit to a bit of dread when approaching “Beautiful Creatures.” I hated most of “The Twilight Saga” and the films that it spawned have been arguably even worse than their ancestor. From the very beginning of “Beautiful Creatures,” the tone feels a bit different. This is more Southern Gothic than soap opera with ancient battles between good and evil, Romeo & Juliet-esque doomed love, and strong production values. The lead roles are a bit thin but they’ll appeal to the younger viewers while older ones will just enjoy watching great actors like Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and Viola Davis play in this exagerrated world. Thompson, in particular, is having an absolute blast with her villain role (one of her final bits about how no mother really loves their child is priceless). Just go with it. Avoid the natural inclination to just lump it in with other “Twilight” rip-offs. It may not exist without Edward Cullen and Bella Swan but it’s a Hell of a lot more entertaining than most of their story.

The Blu-ray release of “Beautiful Creatures” certainly doesn’t reveal the fact that the film was a relative bomb in theaters. The transfer is strong and the special features extensive. This movie will find fans at home. They’ll be as surprised as I was.

“Beautiful Creatures” available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and Digital Download 5/21
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

A strange recurring dream haunts Ethan Wate in his sleep, but he prefers anything to his waking life. Trapped in a small, conservative Southern town with his withdrawn father, Ethan desperately wants to escape. Then the beautiful Lena Duchannes arrives at his school, and mysterious events begin to occur. Lena has a secret: she is a Caster with powers beyond her control. Worse, when she reaches her 16th birthday, she will be claimed by either the Light or the Dark… and there is no escaping her fate in this supernatural love story based on the best-selling book series.

Special Features:
o Book To Screen: Learn How The Filmmakers Adapted This Widly Popular Book Series Into a Film
o The Casters: Find Out Who Is Light And Dark, Who Has Control Over The Elements And Who Has The Power Of Manipulation
o Between Two Worlds: See Why The Sleepy Southern Town Of Gatlin Is the Perfect Backdrop For This Supernatural Love Story
o Forbidden Romance: Explore Lena And Ethan’s Romance And How Outside Forces Threaten To Separate Them
o Alternate Worlds: Director Richard LaGravenese And The UFX Team Show How The Casters Live Alongside Humans But In Their Own World
o Beautiful Creatures: Designing The Costumes: Costume Designer Jeffrey Kurland And The Cast Explain How Wardrobe Influenced The Tone Of The Film
o Icons By Margaret Stohl
o Deleted Scenes
o Theatrical Trailers

“Beautiful Creatures” stars Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, Margo Martindale, and Emma Thompson. It was written and directed by Richard LaGravenese. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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