When you’re a fan of a particular book series–or, in my case, hundreds of them–you get excited whenever you hear that they will be adapted into a movie; that people will get a chance to see what made that book so great that you couldn’t stop gushing about it…even if what the movie adaptation was going to show you–and everyone who’s bound to watch it–only a fraction of what made you fall in love with it in the first place. After all, the movie incarnations of these books can never really compare to the actual book, especially since you can’t really fit everything in the span of two hours.
Of course, you are also dreading it. What if the movie ends up ruining what made you love the book in the first place?
When I learned that the first book of the Caster Chronicles was going to hit big screen, I was so excited and I tuned in to every news, every tweet, Facebook status from the book’s fan page, and every bit of Caster news that I could find–and find a lot of them I did, from pre-production to post-production. I’ve marked my calendar as soon as it was announced that it when it would hit theaters (which, if memory serves, was supposed to be on an earlier date than the one it got) and fervently prayed that the movie won’t be delayed here in the Philippines (which is mostly the case, unless your movie happened to be a Harry Potter or Twilight movie). The Caster Girl in me couldn’t keep the excitement at bay with every behind-the-scene footage, movie still, and cast interview that made its way to the internet.
As much as I prayed and hoped and wished that Beautiful Creatures would be shown at the cinemas here at the same time it does in the US, I also hoped and prayed with just as much fervor that it won’t turn into a disaster of a movie adaptation as what the abomination known as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief movie became. Because, honestly (and I don’t think my feelings about this would change in this–or any lifetime) that movie has got to be the worst movie adaptation I have ever watched! Well, right there next to sad excuse of an Avatar: The Last Airbender movie. Nothing could ever compare to how disappointed I was with those two movies whose books and television series (respectively) I am a big fan of.
Sure, the movie adaptation of Beautiful Creatures was different–oh, so very different–from how the book turned out, especially the ending. Sure, there were a lot of characters that weren’t given a lot (I’m talking about Ridley and Link here, heck even Emily and her crew of mean girls) or even a minuscule (Ethan’s dad as well as Marian, the Librarian didn’t even make an appearance) amount of screen time. Heck, we didn’t hear the “Sixteen Moons” song (or the “Seventeenth Moon”) or heard the line which explained why the movie/book was called “Beautiful Creatures” (read further down to find out the answer to this if you haven’t the slightest clue why). We didn’t even see the Christmas Ball/Dance, Link’s concert, or saw Ridley sucking on her trademark lollipop and calling Ethan and Link by the nicknames she had given them.
To someone who want the movie to be exactly like the book (down to the itsy-bitsy little details), this movie might be a downer. They might even find the ending a bit (or maybe, a lot) scandalous. But, as a stand-alone–if you watched the movie for what it is–simply as a movie and not think about the book–you will find that Beautiful Creatures actually did a decent–no, a good–job than others who had tried to make a film out of a book.
I honestly found it hard not to compare the book and the movie, though. Like with every movie adaptation, I found the book superior than the movie. The book was more intense, funnier, more intriguing, emotional, suspenseful and I enjoyed the book more. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoyed the movie. I did.
The actors were superb and gave nothing like pain-inducing, face-palming acting that the PJatO cast put me through. The dialogue had funny moments, heart-breaking moments, and even enlightening moments that many may find hard to follow, especially if one is not familiar to the twang of the southern accent that the characters have…although, I always thought Lena didn’t have the southern accent and, if I remembered the book correctly, always made fun of Ethan’s accent.
Emma Thompson was by far my favorite in the movie, even though she is portraying the darkest Caster the world has ever seen. To say that she was amazing would be an understatement. Spectacular is more like it. And I enjoyed watching her as she acted out her character, Serafine. Of course, the rest of the cast were just as great even though I thought Alden’s version of Ethan was a bit goofy (yet lovable anyways) and Alice’s Lena was a bit darker, I still fell in love with the characters in the movie just like I did with them in the books. The actors did their characters justice and I was happy that.
The CGI in the movie was great. It was well-put-together and that storm that comes right near the end was really frightening and looked every bit as sinister as how it was intended to be. The lightning and other flashes of Lena’s power during the times that she’s angry added a bit comedy to otherwise serious scenes, which were a good touch. And, really, you shouldn’t expect any less from Hollywood movies when it comes to their special effects.
The story, although altered, was–like I have mentioned–good in its own right and the screenplay writer, Richard LaGravenese should be commended for it. In an ordinary-not-a-fan-but-simply-someone-interested-in-the-movie point of view, I really loved everything the movie. As a fan of the book, a Caster Girl, I was left a little bit saddened by the altered ending (yep, this is the part where I share my grievances, as a fan, about the movie).
It–the altered ending–wasn’t like what they did with Breaking Dawn, Part 2. If it was, I would still be shaking with disbelief and grinning like an idiot at the brilliance of how the people behind such a stunt had pulled it off–made everyone in the theater scream, cry, look dumbfounded, and wanting to slap themselves awake, disbelieving that they had just witnessed the demise of their favorite (and not-so-favorite) characters only to find that they had been fooled and that everything they had witnessed was, simply, a vision of the future. Nope, the Beautiful Creatures‘ altered ending wasn’t like that.
I’m not going to spoil the movie though, and I’m not saying the ending was bad that it would make you want to watch another movie–a feel-good one–after watching it. It just feels a little bit…sad…to me–someone who has read the whole Caster Chronicles series and who cried at the very end of Beautiful Redemption. It left me wondering just how in the world they were going to make a sequel for it…and the fan-girl in me also wondered why on earth they would decide that that was the best ending for this movie.
Although some people–particularly critics–found the first part of the movie to be dragging and the second part rushed, I didn’t have any qualms with its pacing…though I did wish they showed us more of Emmy’s character, Ridley (which I have to say is what I imagined a mature Ridley to be like), and Thomas’ Link (their interaction with other characters and with each other apart from all the making-out they did) and showed us the stuff I had listed near the top of this post.
So, did I wallow in grief as I watched one of my super-duper-mega-ultimate-hyper-favorite book’s movie adaptation? Was I so utterly disappointed and crushed and regretted wasting money and time watching the movie? Did I pray that Hollywood (For the love of God Almighty!) stop making movie adaptations of perfectly great books?
The answer to those three questions are: No. Not really. Not like how I did after seeing how much the Last Airbender and Percy Jackson was butchered. I mean, nothing could really compare to how much I wanted to throw my popcorn (or anything I could throw, really) in frustration to how they depicted Percy, Annabeth, and Grover–how out of character these three were and how very, very wrong the screenplay of the Percy Jackson movie was (For one, Percy doesn’t abandon his friends–his way too loyal for that–which is also what the book had dubbed was his mortal flaw; which also means that there was no way in hell that he would leave Grover, or anyone, behind to save himself or exchange the life of his friends to that of his mother, no matter how much he love his mother.).
Beautiful Creatures was a good movie. Different from the books but still worth watching. I’d give it a 4 out 5 rating if I’m rating it not as a fan but as an ordinary moviegoer, a 3.5 out of 5 if I’m rating it as a Caster Girl. If you’re interested in watching the movie, watch it. If you’re a fan, don’t expect a lot of events from the book to match with the movie. Just watch it as it is, don’t think about the book, and you’ll find that it’s a good one.
Now, for those who haven’t read the book (but watched the movie) and are wondering why it’s called “Beautiful Creatures”, the answer lies in the book (of course it does!) at the part where Macon was in Ethan’s room.
In the book, Ethan tells Macon that he knew Macon wouldn’t do anything to hurt Lena but, at the same time, he really wasn’t doing anything to help her. This made Macon angry but, in a true Macon Ravenwood fashion, simply told Ethan that he was doing what he thinks is best and was actually protecting him (Ethan) and Lena. Macon also tells Ethan that he and Lena can’t be together because he is a mortal and she’s a Caster and that they were just too different. Ethan, however, didn’t believe Macon’s words and told him that he and Lena weren’t all that different. To which Macon said the following: “Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came long. You are such beautiful creatures.”
So…yeah, there you have it. The line where it explained who the beautiful creatures truly are and why. And, I have to say, I always did like that line (and the other lines in the other books where Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl–the authors of the books–used their title as a phrase, part of a sentence or a paragraph within the book.
Anyways, this review has gone long enough. I think I’d leave it here and hope that you guys find this post useful for what it is. Remember, these are just my views–personal opinions. :)
Until the next post, dream on; fly on!