I went into this movie not expecting much. I've never read the series, but I heard it was an awful adaptation. Even without having read the books, the movie disappointed me on so many levels. I can't even begin to imagine how fans of the books felt while watching this movie. I hope to someday read the books, at which point, I will completely block this movie out of my mind.
First, there's the insta-love that is so incredibly not convincing. Insta-love rarely works, both in books and in movies, and this was no exception. I don't know how the relationship evolved in the books, but it seems as if Ethan is in one moment wary of Lena and the next moment, utterly in love with her. I couldn't feel any real spark or connection between the two. Sure, Ethan was curious about Lena, but he was far from loving her. Besides, the whole star-crossed lovers thing wasn't appealing. Their love just felt rushed and fake, and I couldn't find it in myself to root for their relationship, at least until the very end.
On a similar note, it took me a long time to become invested in any of the characters and to the story in general. While there was insta-love, the world building was next to none. They barely explained the world of the Casters and the characters/people involved. It was minimal and rushed when it was actually present. The characters lacked depth, save for one or two, and I couldn't root for most of them. I didn't feel anything towards the characters, and I think almost all of the characters could have been explored more. There's so much complexity that could be involved, and this movie just fell flat on that front.
In a similar manner, many characters were simply plot-devices that didn't offer much else to the story. I hate when that happens! Just like in books when you cut out scenes that don't move the story forward, why include a character if you're just going to use them and then discard them? This bothers me to no end, and this was very clear in this movie, more-so than in most movies I've watched.
So what saved this from being a complete wreck? Well, somehow, the movie was enough to allow me to watch it to the end. By the end, I was starting to feel invested in the story and in the characters. I finally felt as if something was happening, and I felt like there was finally some character growth and deep emotion. All in all though, this movie fell extremely flat, and I definitely won't be bothering to watch the other movies if there are any.
Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
Written by: Richard LaGravenese, based on Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Viola Davis, Thomas Mann, Emma Thompson, and more
Release Date: February 14th, 2013