Beautiful Creatures
1 Waffles!

I can feel the pain of millions of teen boys across the world as they hear their teen girlfriends say this is the movie they want to see this Valentine's Day. And, that is the moment these boys become men, because, like generations of men before them, they realize they are willing to do lots of stupid, crazy, painful, embarrassing stuff to woo the women in their lives. We are all brothers in that way.

Alden Ehrenreich stars as Ethan - a high school junior who more than anything in the world wants to get out of his small little southern town. All summer long, he has been dreaming of a mysterious, unknown young lady, especially after finding some strange locket-type necklace that dates all the way back to 1864.

Once school starts, he meets that young lady, Lena (Alice Englert). She's a bit strange, doesn't quite fit in, and lives in what many in this small town think is a haunted mansion. Of course, Ethan falls madly for Lena (the forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest), but this puts them both in danger, because Lena is some sort of supernatural being known as a Caster (think cooler, more powerful, more emo witch), and, on her upcoming 16th birthday, she will either become good or evil depending on her true nature.

Can puppy love prevail?

Will Lena be good or evil?

Beautiful Creatures is another in the long line of books, movies and TV shows so desperately trying to capitalize on the Twilight phenomenon. Plus, it throws in a heaping helping of teen angst, growing pains and other supposedly meaningful themes that end up lost in the shuffle of endless, pointless dialogue and attempts to use some mysterious supernatural elements to excite our imaginations. I just hope your imagination comes up with something better than Beautiful Creatures.

The only reason I know Beautiful Creatures is all about female empowerment, dealing with your crazy family and not letting your past dictate your future is because I have seen all of the movie’s actors telling me this during interviews. If you don’t pick up on this while watching the movie (and you won’t), doesn’t this make these story themes into marketing ploys and talking points instead?

Writer/director Richard LaGravenese (based on the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl) has created a movie severely lacking in maturity. Sure, it is supposed to appeal to teen fantasies, but it doesn’t need to feel like it was written by a teen. Dialogue ends up becoming babble as they try to build this world and explain all of the elements (maybe this is how people feel when I talk about Star Trek or Fantasy Football) and the love story is the kind you have seen over and over and over again, but feels completely new to each 12-year old as they think they have discovered it.

And, what the heck are Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson doing in this movie? Beautiful Creatures has a campiness that doesn’t fit with the supposedly weightier story and character arcs, while it drags and gets duller by the scene. All three of these actors have an Oscar nomination. They don’t need to desperately grab onto this thing with the hope it might become popular and lucrative for them in the future. Every Oscar nominee should be shown this movie to scare them into avoiding the temptation of starring in some movie because they think it will make them famous, cool, hip and more appealing to a “younger audience.” Would 40-year old you ever think you must do everything possible to impress 14-year old you? See what I mean?

Beautiful Creatures is rated PG-13 for violence, scary images and some sexual material