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Beautiful Creatures Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by on May 20, 2013
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Check out Kidzworld’s take on the home entertainment release of “Beautiful Creatures”.

By: Lynn Barker

Beautiful Creatures is now available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and Digital Download!

Lena Duchannes, 15-year-old “Caster”, will go dark or light on her 16th birthday. With a hot mortal boyfriend she doesn’t want to harm, Lena is rooting for some days in the sun!

Story Goes:

In Gatlin, South Carolina, teen Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) has recurring dreams of a dark-haired beauty. We learn that he can’t wait to leave his boring small town for college. When Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) hits town, she is the image of the girl in his dreams. Since her reclusive uncle Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons) is thought to be a Satanist by the local church-goers, she is shunned to the point of using her powers to break all the windows in a classroom.

Ethan (Alden) and Lena (Alice) in loveEthan (Alden) and Lena (Alice) in love

Driving home, Ethan encounters Lena on the road, her old car having broken down. The two semi-bond over the loss of their mothers and some love of reading. Later, Ethan finds an old locket and gives it to Lena as a gift. When they both touch it, bam! They are transported back to the Civil War, watching two of their ancestors who were evidently a couple. Macon and Ethan’s family friend Amma (Viola Davis), a “seer” and the town librarian, struggle to keep the two apart to no avail.

Uncle Macon (Jeremy Irons) warns the coupleUncle Macon (Jeremy Irons) warns the couple

Lena finally tells Ethan her truth. She’s a witch (or caster) and on her 16th birthday, she will be claimed by dark or light magic depending on her “true nature”. Ethan is sure that nature is “light”. Lena’s hot cousin 27881 (Emmy Rossum) comes to town. In league with Lena’s very dark mother Serafine, she wants to urge Lena to turn dark. We learn of the family curse on Duchannes women. Lena’s Civil War ancestor revived her love after death, a spell punishable by turning dark.

Ridley (Emmy) is Caster modeRidley (Emmy) in Caster mode

With Amma’s help, Lena consults the spellcasters’ Book of Moons and learns that the only way for the curse to be broken is for someone Lena loves to die. Unwilling for it to be Ethan, she erases his memories of her. During a Civil War battle reenactment, Macon transforms himself into Ethan who is shot for real by his best friend Link (Thomas Mann) whom Ridley is controlling with her siren’s spell. Finally Lena sees that the person she loved who died was really Macon. His last words to Lena are to “claim yourself”.

Amma (Viola Davis) Lena and Ethan with the Book of MoonsAmma (Viola Davis) Lena and Ethan with the Book of Moons

Using her great magic, Lena causes the moon to disappear temporarily, thus preventing her claiming. She allows Ridley to run away but pulls her evil mom Serafine’s spirit out of town bible-thumper Mrs. Lincoln (Emma Thompson) and seals her to a tree forever.

Later, Ethan still doesn’t remember his love for Lena and is on his way to tour the campus of NYU. He stops by the town library to say goodbye to Amma and Lena is there. One of her eyes is green, the other gold, indicating she is between a light and dark caster. Link is about to hit the highway when his memories of Lena return and he jumps out and screams her name.

Lena arrives at her claiming ceremonyLena arrives at her claiming ceremony

Special Features:

A series of short featurettes are presented separately:

Behind the Scenes: Book to Screen – The actors explain their characters and the book’s authors talk about approving of their director who says that he had to streamline the story for film by re-working it yet keeping the “heart”.

Viola and Alden on set with their directorViola and Alden on set with their director

Behind the Scenes: The Casters – more of the same with the actors and filmmakers concentrating on the characters and explaining their powers. Add Jeremy Irons on Macon.

Behind the Scenes: Between Two Worlds – More with the director and Emma Thompson on her role as Mrs. Lincoln.

Emma Thompson as evil Mrs. LincolnEmma Thompson as evil Mrs. Lincoln

Behind the Scenes: Forbidden Romance -  same with the actors focusing on the love story between Lena and Ethan.

Behind the Scenes: Alternate Worlds – A much more interesting featurette focusing on creating the special visual effects for the magic in the film. Effects Supervisors and Production Designer discuss the look and how effects were achieved: combining live action on set with computer effects. The spinning dining room table scene is taken apart and we see Emmy Rossum being yanked out of the room on a wire against green screen. Very worth watching.

Hot Ridley (Emmy) with Ethan (Alden)Hot Ridley (Emmy) with Ethan (Alden)

Behind the Scenes: Designing the Costumes – The actors on their clothes in the film. The costume designer on the big difference in clothes for the Caster and Mortal worlds. We see more close-up details on the costumes and Emmy talks about Ridley’s hot looks. Lena’s grey and black dress was supposed to indicate that she was between light and dark worlds. Cool.

Ridley's hot outfitRidley's hot outfit

Deleted Scenes – Some pretty good ones. We see more with Ridley and Link, a hot scene in which Ridley, stirring up the pot and in Link’s “body” visits Emily and kisses her and we glimpse the caster party at Lena’s claiming just to see more of the weird costumes.

Wrapping Up:

Although many fans of the novel were disappointed that the movie didn’t follow the book well enough, the film did have a cool “look”, effects were fun and with great actors like Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons onboard, this one is well-worth a rental if not a buy.

Lena's claiming dressLena's claiming dress

Would have been nice if a true behind-the-scenes featurette in which we saw actual filming were included and a voice-over commentary by Alden and Alice as the two lead characters would have been welcomed as well as a blooper reel.

Combo pack cover artCombo pack cover art

The featurettes included are just short “selling” clips except for those on Costumes and Effects creation which are informative and fun.  For the film and this DVD/Blu-ray set, we’ll go three out of five stars.

Beautiful Creatures Blu-ray Rating: 3