Based on the first of five books from Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, "Beautiful Creatures" stars Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan Wate, a bored South Carolina teenager whose life is shaken up when the mysterious Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) moves to town to live with her equally mysterious uncle. And as the two grow closer, they discover why they're destined to be together, and why Lena's family is so dead-set on keeping them apart. (Spoiler alert: it has to do with witches, curses, and world-obliterating prophesies.)
So to recap, there's a pair of star-crossed young lovers, forbidden supernatural romance and glowing eyes, all based on a series of young adult novels. OK, so admittedly that sounds a little familiar. But "Beautiful Creatures" is more than just "Twilight" with southern accents. And to prove it, here are some of the key differences between the two:
1. The genders are reversed. In "Beautiful Creatures," it's the girl who's the supernatural being afraid she's going to hurt the one she loves, and the guy who's the ordinary one refusing to take "Go away" for an answer. See? Big difference.
2. "Twilight" is set in the small town of Forks, Washington, where it's always cloudy and rainy. "Beautiful Creatures" is set in the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina, where it's always bright and sunny. Again, huge difference.
3. Both movies cast two relative unknowns in the lead roles. But in "Beautiful Creatures," Alden and Alice not only have good chemistry, but are also capable of approximating the full range of human emotions.
4. "Beautiful Creatures"' supporting cast boasts a pair of Oscar-winners (Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson), a two-time Oscar nominee (Viola Davis), and Emmy Rossum.
5. Dialogue isn't butchered. Instead, Southern accents are.
6. Instead of vampires and werewolves, we get seers and witches -- who apparently prefer to be called "casters," because the "w" word is derogatory. Good to know.
7. But whatever you call them, humans aren't supposed to be brought into their secret supernatural world. And there are serious consequences for doing so. (OK, nevermind. That one's the same.)
8. Let's try this again: "Beautiful Creatures" isn't about a boyfriend trying to prevent his high school girlfriend from turning into a vampire, it's about a boyfriend trying to prevent his high school girlfriend from turning "dark." Or in other words, becoming just as mean and nasty as the rest of Gatlin's 16-year-old girls.
9. Instead of Edward and Jacob, Lena's uncle and aunt are the ones fighting over her, with both trying to claim her for their side.
10. Aside from a lengthy third-act montage of Lena reading a book, the central conflict is explored through a plot with actual dramatic events, compelling obstacles, and satisfying resolution. While "Twilight" had none of the above, it did feature significantly more meaningful eye contact and wistful stares.
11. Lena's family is just as "unconventional" as the Cullens, though they aren't quite as instantly accepting of her new significant other. Again, obstacles.
12. Everyone looks their age, although Lena's grandmother's hair is dyed pink. I'm not sure whether this is from the book, or to draw in "The Hunger Games" crowd.
13. There's no super-powered baseball played at a caster family gathering. Instead, they satisfy their competitive streak by spinning the dining room table around in circles.
14. Nobody is covered in sparkly glitter. Instead, some unnamed man in a bowler hat and vest is covered head-to-toe in body paint. This goes entirely unexplained, and it's kind of great.
15. "Beautiful Creatures" is surprisingly funny, and the laughs are intentional. Well, with a few minor exceptions. (See #13.)
16. But most importantly: "Beautiful Creatures" is actually entertaining.
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