In centuries past, there was a certain glory and honor in death. Men dreamt of dying either in battle, during sex with a woman the same age as their daughter, or immediately following a particularly satisfying bowel movement (also known as the “Vincent Vega”). Today, we are no longer afforded the luxury of dying in our prime, and are instead left to pointlessly wander the earth during our elder years, impotently shaking our fists at a world that has long since passed us by. Our only solace is found in the fact that our pathetic existence is witnessed by merely a select few; however, in Hollywood, one’s slide into irrelevance and oblivion is witnessed by millions. Unable to obtain the types of roles they once performed with ease, the dying Hollywood actor must degrade him or herself by acting opposite thespians well beneath their station. The Hollywood death is a slow death. It is a personal and public torment, collectively experienced by all those who witness one’s degradation projected at 24 frames per second, 90 to 120 minutes at a time.
All of this raises the question: What the fuck happened to Jeremy Irons?
It is a sad day when Simon Gruber must demean himself by appearing in a ripoff of a more popular film. It is an even sadder day when one realizes that this isn’t the first time, and that one actually watched Eragon in its entirety. However, it must be said that Beautiful Creatures is, in fact, better than Twilight, and perhaps better than all 5 Twilight films combined. And if that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is!
Ever the consummate professional, Mr. Irons commands every moment he appears onscreen. His Macon is the South as we always wanted it to be: wise, pragmatic, and content to keep to itself. Macon would not fight a war to keep black people enslaved; he is quintessentially American, and uses his warlock spellcasting skills to live an independent life. Who knew that all the Bible Belt needed to become one with the American Dream was witchcraft?
Beautiful Creatures is the age old tale of boy meets girl, girl’s
dad uncle dislikes boy, boy shows persistence, girl turns out to be a witch, girl’s family turns out to have a curse in the maternal line which potentially turns females to pure evil, boy gets turned on, girl’s family shields girl with lightning, boy attempts coitus, girl erases his memory, girl gives him his memory back after she kills her own mother. It’s a heartwarming story.
Our main characters are Ethan and Lena, who are completely different from Bella and Edward. See, in Twilight, Bella is a normal human and Edward is a vampire. In this film, Ethan is a normal human and Lena is a witch. Whenever I see creativity on this scale, I applaud the DMCA for protecting the profits of the conglomerates that own the major studios today. Without sufficient funds, how could they hope to pioneer such radical twists on existing stories? (Nerd point: They didn’t even pioneer the twist. The twist came from a book, which they then adapted for the screen).
Lena is actually a “Caster”, not a witch. I’m not sure why that matters, but they take the time to explain it during some lines of dialogue. Personally, it just meant that I spent my time watching this film waiting for someone to say “Troy” after “Caster”, at which point Cage and Travolta would kill every other character as collateral damage in yet another gunfight. Why wasn’t Cage in this film, anyway? It may have actually been a step up from Stolen.
There is also a black woman in the film, who plays a “Seer”, which is apparently different from a “Caster”, due to reasons I missed because I wasn’t paying attention. At one point, the woman removes her cloak as part of some ritual, and her bare back gave me a brief flashback to the sex scene between Roger Moore and Grace Jones in A View to a Kill. It was terrifying. The point of this paragraph is that, at one point, she responds to Ethan’s questioning of her presence at church by saying “God created all things, didn’t He? It’s only Man that decided which ones were mistakes”. In the South, pagans have found the One True God.
The curse that afflicts Lena is placed on all females in her family. On their 16th birthday, they are “claimed” by either Light or Darkness. As we all know that women have no agency, this is not offensive in any way. But essentially, when they turn 16, they either become a good witch, like Sandra Bullock in Practical Magic, or a bad witch, like Megyn Kelly. Lena even has a magical countdown tattoo on her hand that reminds her of the number of days until her birthday. We all know that girls don’t like math, so it’s quite handy.
During a flashback, Lena’s older cousin is shown turning to the dark on her 16th birthday. She walks alone at night, stops suddenly under the full moon, and becomes evil. Immediately thereafter, she lures a nearby guy towards her by swaying seductively, all with the purpose of letting him get hit by an oncoming train. You’re doing it wrong, sweetie. You’re supposed to do that after you marry him and there is a sizable life insurance policy involved.
Ethan knows that the curse is ridiculous, because he is the only guy in his small town in the South that reads books. He’s heard of free will because he is a teenager and he reads books! However, he can’t read every book; the special book in the hidden spell library, which describes how to remove the curse, can only be read by Lena. Oh, the emasculation.
The librarian of the spell library is actually the “Seer” woman, by the way. I did enjoy the line where she remarks that there used to be a spell library under Washington D.C., but it was moved because the witches and warlocks were afraid of Nancy Reagan. In the sequel to this film, the witches should fight Ronald’s prophesized alien invasion. If you think that’s ridiculous, remember that Percy Jackson is apparently getting a sequel. Yes, this film will be a saga. In the third film, Lena and Ethan’s child will pull a Splice, change genders at will, and sodomize Stephanie Meyer.
Why won’t Hollywood call me?
To add conflict to this non-story, Lena’s mother, who is actually the most powerful dark Caster of all time, arrives to try and pull her daughter to the dark side. She is accompanied by Lena’s cousin, who is the only “siren” in history who does not sing. Macon tries to keep Lena secluded in his manor, but Ethan’s love turns out to be just the protection she needs! Awww.
As an aside, the manor is called “Ravenwood”. Why didn’t they name Macon “Marion”? So many missed opportunities in this film.
As another aside, the author of the book that this film is based on has read the works of an obscure author named Bukowski. It’s Beautiful Creatures‘ “Wuthering Heights”.
At some point, Lena learns that someone she loves must die to lift the curse, so she erases Ethan’s memory of her to protect him. I’m pretty sure one can still die after a partial erasure of memories, but I’m not a biologist.
Anyway, the curse is lifted after Jeremy Irons dies (spoiler), and the evil dark witch mother is killed, or her soul is sent away, or something. All in a day’s work for Lena, who finally remembers to remove the memory erasure spell from Ethan just before the credits roll.
In reality, though, she really didn’t need to remove the spell, because they had a reenactment of their initial meet-cute right before she removed it. See, it was destined that they would be together, because love is the most powerful spell of all!
The layers of subtlety and nuance in this story are truly mind-bending. If Lena was played by Patricia Arquette, this could have been a sequel to Lost Highway.
I have some questions before we conclude:
Can Lena cast a spell to make her breasts and/or Ethan’s penis larger?
Ok, it was actually just that one question. We’re done here, folks. Humans may be mortal, but terrible movies will last forever.