A little less than a week ago, I finally succeeded in dragging M to see “Beautiful Creatures.” I read the book last year (along with two of the three sequels) and I enjoyed it, so I was anxious to see the adaptation.
My first problem: there were teenagers behind us talking though the entire movie. Onto bigger and better problems.
This movie was absolutely nothing like the book. The jacket description was more true to the plot than this screenplay. It is as if the filmmakers took the characters (most of them) and the setting (more or less) and added their own plot to it. The movie was not so much “adapted from” as “inspired by.”
If I had put that aside, this was still a terrible movie. The acting (with the exception of one scene) was atrocious, the writing was clearly hurried, and the special effects were laughable. The costumes and sets, I’ll admit, were beautiful, but they were nothing like those in the book.
There are two parts of this that really upset me. First, this movie was so bad that it ruined the books I’ve already read, and it erased any desire I had to read the fourth and final book of the series. Second, and more importantly, this movie has made me deathly afraid of adaptations. As an avid bookworm, I’ve always been cautious about adaptations, but the stakes have been raised. Assuming that my resolve does not falter (and it may) I will give adaptations – at least those of bestsellers – just one more shot with “Catching Fire,” from the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy.
I would like to point out that there are good adaptations out there. The “Harry Potter” series, while not my favorite, was passable. “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men,” both from the books by Cormac McCarthy, are excellent. “The Hunger Games” was reasonably good. The BBC miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice is the gold standard, although it didn’t have the time constraints of a film and was more or less word-for-word from the novel. I am firmly decided, though, that the book is absolutely always better.