From the promotional posters and the angle of the presented storyline in the trailer, one would think that Beautiful Creatures was similar to the likes of Twilight. In a way, yes it was. I remember rolling my eyes as I passed by its stand-off poster in the cinemas saying, “Oh, here we go again.” It seemed like it was yet another addition to the plague of unhealthy romance novels, mostly supernatural, in the young adult section of bookstores.
The story was your typical cliche in most supernatural romance novels: mortal falls in love with an immortal, their love is forbidden, couple faces a fate that would separate them from each other and a past that would haunt them forever, but their love is so strong and powerful and epic it would defy all evil forces of the world. The protagonist is your stereotypical outcast, all gloomy, dark and mysterious, and her love interest is adorable, charming, good-looking and perfect. He would do anything for you and would even go to lengths in defying your evil, scary, spell-casting family, because he loves you so much even though all you did so far was ride in his car in the pouring rain.
(This is not often the case in reality, though. I think if I were with someone and they belong to a family of witches with a haunted past and has tried to wipe my entire existence dozens of times, I would most likely run to the opposite ends of the earth. Screaming.)
However, it was a film that I underestimated completely. It wasn’t exceptionally good, but it wasn’t thoroughly bad either. I will definitely watch it again if given the chance, just so I could ogle at the beautiful costumes: garbs of lace, tulle, satin and intricate details, and flail over Emmy Rossum, who, despite the evil nature of her character, was still lovable. Its natural dialogues of witty sarcastic remarks (“I won’t go straight to hell, Emily. I want to stop off to New York first.” was fantastic enough to deserve a tweet) and lines (“That is such a mortal thing to say.”) made the story line steer away from your usual cliche of narcissistic lovers who only sputter cheesiness all over the place. Aside from the dash of Tim Burton-ness in the costumes and cinematography, it was the touch of brilliant comedic relievers that made it enjoyable to watch.
Emmy Rossum plays Ridley Duchannes, Lena's cousin, who turned Dark on her 16th birthday. Upon turning she became a Siren, a Seductress who could easily make men infatuated with her and entrap human minds and control them at will.
There was a huge thing that made it entirely different or yet, even better from what Twilight has offered. While one of the major plot themes may be romance, it wasn’t about a girl who’s only sole purpose and importance in the story is choosing between two lovers. Rather, it was about a girl’s journey towards a decision to claim herself as her own: the case of moral ambiguity in which someone is in an imbalance on her entire aspect. Was she good or bad? Immortal or not, everyone questions themselves at one point in their lives. To what extent does an action make someone entirely evil? Are bad actions justifiable with reasonable intentions? Is there a fine line between good and evil? Is the world separated between light and dark? Most importantly: could we choose which side we’re on or do they choose us? So thus this spews a whole lot of other things: self righteousness, religion persecution, superiority complex. It’s a coming of age story that had the potential to tackle major themes; however, the richness and complexity of it wasn’t fully grasped.
Perhaps in the sequel. Maybe.