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Beautifully Campy “Creatures”

beautiful-creatures-cover castThe 12-year-old girl in me was instantly intrigued by “Beautiful Creatures.” The skeptic in me instantly said, “Oh great, ‘Twilight’ with a witch.”

The movie, based on a young adult series based on supernatural beings and high-school love, will of course draw comparisons to that other series. But “Twilight” wishes it was as good at “Beautiful Creatures.”

“Creatures” is about Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) and Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich). Lena just moved into the small southern town of Gatlin and Ethan is instantly enamored by her. Lena tries to keep her distance but the two are bound by destiny and their love is just too strong to ignore.

Even Lena’s over-protective uncle Macon (Jeremy Irons) can’t keep them apart.

The problem: Lena and her family are witches .. I mean castors. On their sixteenth birthday a castors true nature is revealed and their powers are claimed for either the light or the dark. Because of a curse, all the female castors have gone dark for the past century and as her birthday draws near, Lean is worried about Ethan and what she may do to him.

OMG! What will they do? Can they break the curse? Will true love conquer all?

Alright, so you can probably imagine how this story is going to go. This movie doesn’t get my recommendation because of its originality and creativity.

Unlike “Twilight,” this movie is self-aware and wants you to laugh with it, not at it. Another big plus is the performances from the cast.

The romance between Ethan and Lena is kind of blah but the actors are likable. Iron’s is great even if he can’t deliver a convincing southern accent. Viola Davis is solid as a seer trying to help Lena break the curse. And Emmy Rossum gives a really fun performance as Lena’s devilish cousin Ridley.

The real star is Emma Thompson, as Ms. Lincoln, a bible-thumping Gatlin citizen trying to get Lena expelled and also just happens to be possessed by the spirit of Lena’s mom Sarafine. Thompson steals every scene she’s in. She embodies both characters completely and switches back and forth between the two effortlessly.

I enjoyed the style of film and the upbeat tone. None of it is taken too seriously and you’re invited to laugh along. Everything moves along at a brisk pace, and you don’t notice the 2+ hour runtime.

“Beautiful Creatures” pleasantly surprised me. If I was still a 12 or 13 year old I probably would have enjoyed it more, but it still had charming qualities. This is what “Twilight” should have been … good campy fun.

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