“Beautiful Creatures ” available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and Digital Download 5/21
“Claim yourself!” is the cry that goes out to all teens in the supernatural romance, “Beautiful Creatures.” Don’t listen to your mother. Don’t listen to the others. Just follow your instincts. It is the best advice that the lead character, Lena Duchannes (played by Alice Englert) could ask for.
What is a supernatural romance without some romance? Well, the chemistry between Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert is utterly unmistakable. It happens naturally, sweetly and quickly. And we have an interesting twist to young adult tales. This one is told with a nod to the boy’s point of view. We begin with an intriguing scene that establishes Ethan Wate (played by Alden Ehrenreich) as not only the young man with big dreams of becoming a writer but with a possible supernatural connection. He has this recurring dream of a mysterious beautiful young woman but strands of her hair keep blocking her face from view. There are hints of the Civil War. A violent death, his own, always ends the dream.
Life in Gatlin, South Carolina will never be the same when, at the start of his junior year in high school, Ethan Wate first meets the new girl in town, Lena Duchannes. For Lena, it is nonstop torment from the other girls who suspect the worst about Lena. They’re convinced that she’s some kind of witch. Everyone in town knows, or thinks they know, about Ravenwood mansion and the strange goings-on surrounded with that place and the reclusive Macon Ravenwood (played by Jeremy Irons) who owns most of the town. No one can understand why his niece would suddenly show up and start going to the local high school. Only Ethan takes the time to be friendly to Lena and it’s not long before he’s smitten. It’s that book she’s reading that triggers the connection: “You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense,” by Charles Bukowski. Ethan asks if it’s any good. Lena asks him to define “good.” Ethan, once he starts in on a copy of his own, concludes that Bukowski is a god.
And what is a supernatural romance without the supernatural? There’s plenty to find here and it creeps up on you. Primarily, it’s all about the characters. Lena is in a major crisis. On her 16th birthday, Lena will learn her true fate. As for her being a witch, that’s yes and no. As she corrects Ethan, the preferred term is “caster.” If Ethan was ignorant to the supernatural before, he quickly picks up on it. There is no end to what people in his life can teach him: Amma, (played by Viola Davis) who has raised him; Mrs. Lincoln, (played by Emma Thompson) who is determined to control him; and Ridley Duchannes, (played by Emmy Rossum) who is determined to destroy him. Only Macon Ravenwood means the boy well by keeping him as far away from Lena as possible. It’s up to Ethan and Lena to find another way.
“Beautiful Creatures” has a texture and authenticity about it that raises it high amongst the rising crop of supernatural young adult movies. It’s as if it is working in its own world on its own terms not concerned with trends. Of course, people pick up on that and they love it. Screenwriter and director Richard LaGravenese (“Water for Elephants,” “P.S. I Love You”) has captured the spirit and essential details of the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The stage is certainly set to move forward with a franchise and bring to the screen the rest of the series. That can surely happen. There’s such a sturdy foundation to work from with strong characters and a thrilling story.
“Beautiful Creatures” is available on DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and digital download starting on May 21 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. And keep in mind that the Blu-ray Combo Pack includes 30 minutes of Bonus Features: Book to Screen, The Casters, Between Two Worlds, Forbidden Romance, Alternate Worlds, Beautiful Creatures: Designing the Costumes, ICONS by Margaret Stohl (Book Trailer), Deleted Scenes, and Theatrical Trailers. The Bonus Features are well worth it as you get some in-depth observations from the cast as well as the director and the authors of the novel. Plus, there is a healthy amount of behind-the-scenes discussion on special effects and costume design. Also, on specially marked Blu-ray discs, DVDs and Digital Downloads, you will find UltraViolet, which allows you to create a digital collection of movies and TV shows on a wide spectrum of devices.