The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 opens in theaters today (read our review) and it arrives carrying trailers for numerous impending films based on best-selling young adult fiction. That includes a full-length theatrical promo for The Host (based on Twilight author Stephenie Meyer's sci-fi book) and a teaser trailer for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which is the film treatment of the first installment in author Cassandra Clare's supernatural fantasy/adventure series.
We can add one more: a preview for Warner Bros.' Beautiful Creatures, which is based on the first entry in the Caster Chronicles literary franchise (created by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl). The film stars relative newcomer Alice Englert - who is the daughter of writer-director Jane Campion (The Piano, Bright Star) - and Alden Ehrenreich, an up-and-comer currently shortlisted for Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Beautiful Creatures revolves around teenager Lena (Englert), a Southern belle with a mysterious past who soon catches the eye of her new schoolmate Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich). However, it turns out that these star-crossed lovers are in for a rough ride, as Lena is descended from a long line of 'casters' (which is a term they prefer to witches and warlocks, as Lena tells her new boyfriend in the trailer). Moreover, as Lena comes of age - and is able to fully access her inherited powers - she must choose whether to become a force for good or evil, even as members of her family vie to influence her (giving rise to a power struggle with dangerous consequences).
The supporting cast for Beautiful Creatures is composed of youthful faces such as Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Kyle Gallner (Nightmare on Elm Street) and Thomas Mann (Project X); not to mention, seasoned thespians like Oscar-winners Jeremy Irons (Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Borgias) and Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, the Harry Potter series), Oscar-nominee Viola Davis (Doubt, The Help) and Emmy-winner Margo Martindale (Million Dollar Baby, Justified).
Truth be told, out of the aforementioned young adult adaptations that are arriving next year, Beautiful Creatures is the one that seems most interested in becoming a successor to Twilight. The two share similarities in terms of narrative elements (soapy teen romance with a supernatural twist), as well as less-welcome qualities - such as special effects with a 'budget look'. To be fair, Beautiful Creatures seems more action-driven, better-acted, and aware of its own souped-up nature than the weaker Twilight films, which could help it stand apart from that franchise.
Both writing and directing duties on Beautiful Creatures were handled by Richard LaGravenese, an Oscar-nominee who's previously penned such literary adaptations as Alfonso Cuarón's A Little Princess, Clint Eastwood's Bridges of Madison County, and Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer. He's also scripted and helmed titles like Freedom Writers and P.S. I Love You. That's to say: Creatures should, at the very least, be a competent adaptation of the source material (for what that's worth).
For more on Beautiful Creatures, be sure to check out our set visit reports:
Beautiful Creatures opens in U.S. theaters on February 13th, 2013.