First and foremost, I was extremely impressed and pleased by the storyline of "Beautiful Creatures" provided by the novels from writers, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl mixed with the superb adaptation for the screen, which was written and directed by Richard LaGravenese (P.S. I Love You, Freedom Writers, Water For Elephants.) However one major mistake stopped this film from being classical material.
From the very first spoken word of the narrative dialogue by Ethan White (Alden Ehrenreich) I actually cringed and was severely disappointed in the poor kid's inability to adapt to anything resembling an authentic South Carolinian accent. I don't exaggerate when I tell my readers that I was on the fence with chalking this one up as a loss during the first five minutes of "Beautiful Creatures" simply for the fact that it was a hideous display and failed attempt of an accent that viewers have to hear for the remaining two hours and four minutes.
I guess I blame the casting team for that, because Ethan's character wasn't the only one with a terrible execution on using the accent. On the flip side of the coin, hearing it so much in the initial sequence worked out as the only advantage that could be had, and that was for viewers to get used to it enough to brace up for the rest of the film.
"Poor Thing" is what I heard from a few southern ladies in front of me in the theater, directed toward Ehrenreich's undying faithful attempt at carrying out the Southern draw, in which I totally agree, yet he stills fails at.
After 30 minutes into the film I started to feel a terrible guilt for primarily passing judgment on his speech execution, because the young man has remarkable acting talents and a charisma that is magnetizing all viewers, a true saving grace for Ehrenreich. A good old Southern "Bless your heart" goes out to Alden and his efforts, while a major "Shame on you" goes to his vocal coaches.
Getting past that, "Beautiful Creatures" was far superior to most, if not all of the supernatural romance type films of the past five years and was released at a time where the super popular "Warm Bodies" will steal much of the limelight, leaving it pushed to the side for quite sometime, which is also a shame.
LaGravenese's directing was as immaculate as the locations, with the only downfall being some of the computer generated effects being overkill, but not many at all. The overall aesthetics that the characters and the town of Gatlin housed, in particular the Ravenwood home, which elegantly changed appearance throughout the film was a visual masterpiece.
The supporting cast was nothing shy of amazing, highlighted by both the delightful Emma Thompson (Mrs. Lincoln/Sarafine) and the powerful and savvy Jeremy Irons (Macon Ravenwood.) The main character, Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) took a while to get used to, but once that happened, she was perfect for that role.
The score and soundtrack were both also equally amazing and effective, meshing with the transitions and sequences for proper execution with the story. As mentioned before, the only true downfall was the irritation of the fabricated southern accents, which could have easily been fixed with the proper vocal coach, a little more dedication and time or even though I hate to say this, a totally different actor. Any of the other characters might not have truly needed it, but most definitely, Ethan (one half of the main characters) needed to be as authentic as possible.
All in all, give "Beautiful Creatures" a shot for sure. Just get used to the ridiculous accent in the first ten minutes and you will be just fine. It truly is an incredible film after that, which peaked my interest and sparked my curiosity on the novels, which are now on my must read list.