So this is a bit of a Book V Movie: FIGHT! post as much as a review of the book. Or whatever these things I write up are. Reviews seem much more…thoughtful, than what I do. Anyway.
I went to see the movie Beautiful Creatures primarily because I like Emmy Rossum (whose part wasn’t large, but who chewed scenery when she had the chance). To my surprise and delight, I found the young man who played the lead quite charming, and unlike certain other films made from YA novels, I rather thought the leads had chemistry. So I was happy with it. (Apparently no one else was. It was a huge flop.)
There was, however, one major problem. In a nutshell, the movie’s plot is “Boy meets magic girl who must choose between good and evil on her 16th birthday.” The entire movie she clearly wants nothing more than to be good, so I spent the whole movie going, “…so what’s the problem here…?”
The book makes it clear that she is *chosen*, rather than gets to choose, which is a rather significant difference.
More behind the cut, because this goes into spoiler territory for both book and film.
Except it turns out in the end of the book she gets to choose after all, but at great cost–if she chooses good, all the evil people in her family (including her uncle who has raised her and is her father figure and who has Denounced His Dark Heritage) will die. And if she chooses evil, all the good people will die. So that’s kind of a problem. And honestly, it’s not particularly well done. I found the whole end of the book something of a muddle.
In fact, the resolution of that storyline is done better in the film than in the book. Unfortunately, the film also pulls in a completely different ending to hang on Our Young Hero, an ending which is so different it causes me to wonder if they slammed the end of the 2nd or 3rd book onto the end of the movie, for…completely inexplicable reasons, as far as I can tell.
Beyond that, I found Ethan, the hero, a bit wish-fulfilly: a handsome, basketball-playing teenage boy who sneaks reading the classics on the side, dislikes it when his friends discuss girls as nothing more than sex objects, and in time becomes confident enough in himself (or in love enough with the girl) to stand up for the little guy.
If I had been the target audience age, I probably would have been profoundly in love with him. :)
Despite the book’s flaws, though, I’ll be reading the next one, because hey, it kept me to the end, and I do want to find out what happens with Ethan and Lena, so there you go. :)