I stumbled across Beautiful Creatures in audio a couple years ago. The narrator was amazing (he has clearly actually MET a Southerner) and I really loved the Southern Gothic atmosphere the authors create. I got halfway through the series and no further because I’ve been waiting on the library to get the third book (somehow now they have the fourth but still not the third?). But anyway, when I saw that they were making it into a movie, I was excited. Great cast. Great story potential.
I didn’t HATE this movie. But I didn’t love it either.
First off, if you’ve read the books, you absolutely cannot go into it expecting to see a proper page to screen translation. It’s just not the same animal. They took the basic concept of the first book and made some kind of weird left turn on their way out of Albuquerque. I spent the entire second half of the movie saying to my friend who went with (who hadn’t read the book) “That’s not how it happened.” Accept that it won’t be the same or don’t bother going. You’ll just get mad.
Second. The accents. HELLACIOUS. Unlike the audiobook narrator, these folks haven’t actually ever met a Southerner or been to the South. The actual action dialogue wasn’t quite as bad as the narrated bits. Ethan was charming enough that I didn’t want to stab him with a spork for butchering the accent. Can’t say the same for Lena’s family.
Third, and this gets into spoilerville, so if you don’t wanna know, stop reading.
The number one thing that pissed me off was that they combined Amma and Marion into one character. No. NO. Don’t do this. They are two VERY different characters, with two very different roles to play in Ethan’s life. Not cool.
They left out a TON. All the stuff that actually explained Lila’s relationship with Macon was entirely left out, such that Ethan just apparently miraculously came to this conclusion while hanging out waiting on Lena to finish reading the Book of Moons. They showed the yellow eyes of the dark casters but not the green eyes of the light casters, so at the end when she has one yellow eye…there’s no green eye to balance it and it is wholly unclear to the non book reading audience what the heck it means. There’s simply a LOT that’s entirely unexplained.
The final action sequence wasn’t ANYTHING like the book. The sacrifice that was made wasn’t the same caliber as what happened in the book and clearly doesn’t set up properly for a sequel. Macon didn’t behave as reclusively as he’s meant to be. Lena was way more accepted by Amma than she’s supposed to be. And it’s been a while since I read the first one, but I’m pretty sure they butchered the story of Genevieve and the original Ethan.
Also, there’s this whole thing with the countdown to Lena’s birthday, with the number written on her hand. I’m almost positive that in all the cutting and splicing of the footage, that they screwed up the order of days.
They left out the song entirely, which is where they were supposed to get so many of their clues. The song is actually my favorite addition to the audiobook version…because they really recorded a real song, real music and inserted it in just like it would be IRL.
Overall, not the worst book to movie translation I’ve ever seen, but still not what I had hoped. It was better than Twilight just because the story concept was better than Twilight. Lena has a spine and Ethan, despite being powerless, is still charming and stubborn and supportive of her (the book is, IMO, actually a nice example of a kick ass strong heroine and a normal mortal hero boy who isn’t threatened by that and doesn’t come across as a milksop).
If you’re looking for a good story, just go read the book. It’s way better.