The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 124 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Thomas Mann
Written & Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
Music by: The Newno2
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 21, 2013
When newcomer Lena Duchannes arrives in the small town of Gatlin she quickly captures the attention of Ethan Wate, who only wants to escape what he views as a boring and dead end town. He quickly gets more than he bargained for, as Lena possesses strange powers that have long kept her at a distance from others in her life. Lena and Ethan are drawn together, but their budding romance is threatened by the dangers posed by Lena's being a Caster and her family's Dark powers, for upon her sixteenth birthday Lena must undergo the Claiming, a process that will decide her fate forever: Light or Dark.
Beautiful creatures is based on the book of the same name by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia and is a teen romance/young adult story that revolves around a small southern town, light and dark supernatural forces and forbidden love. The primary focus is two teenagers, Ethan and Lena, who share a bond that predates there first meeting. Ethan is the school athlete dying to shed his small town roots byt going away to college. Lena is the new girl, related to the Ravenwood’s, the town’s oldest, founding and eerily legendary family. This puts her on the outs with her new classmates as well as being the target of various rumors surrounding the family’s affiliation with the occult. In reality there is some truth to the rumors as the Ravenwood’s come for a long line of “Casters” who possess magical abilities allowing them to cast spells and control the elements. Casters can be either light or dark depending on which side they are “chosen/claimed” by on their 16th birthday. Lena is closing in on her 16th birthday and her powers are growing stronger each day. Dark Casters run in the women in her family and she seems predestined for it although her hope (and that of her uncle Macon who has raised her) is that she breaks the Dark Caster line.
Caster’s falling in love with mortals has historically resulted in tragedy and is deeply frowned upon. This brings us to the problem of Lena and Ethan who are immediately drawn to one another. The two have déjà vu like feelings of having met before and despite the best efforts of those around them fall in love. The problem is that with Lena’s claiming on the horizon she has the potential to be the most powerful Caster ever but her love for Ethan could stand in the way. Hoping to shift the cards in their favor is a pair of dark Casters that will stop at nothing to ensure Lena’s claiming goes their way. Caught between their forbidden romance, Lena’s dread over her impending claiming, and small town fears/gossip, the teen lovers greatest challenge still lays ahead as dark secrets will come to light…
I am a sucker for films with elements of the supernatural especially those with a contemporary flavor. Beautiful Creatures teeters more toward teen romance than I would like however it builds a solid narrative foundation and features likeable lead characters supported by a decent script. Based upon its target demographic I was concerned that this would be closely related to Twilight but luckily eschews much of its mawkishness and buttery romanticism. Having said that, it is based on a young adult book series so there is a bit of camp and corn but for me it never rose to diverting levels. I enjoyed the story, liked the characters and found the cast/production elements to be quite good. As I alluded to earlier I tend to like these types of films. Those with a lower threshold for the sort of romantic fluff that generally accompanies them may want to knock a point or so off of my rating while deciding if Beautiful Creatures is their cup of tea.
The rating is for violence, scary images and some sexual material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Beautiful Creatures comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.
This is a dark film both in tone and visual design and this video presentation capably conveys that. The use of muted secondary colors gives the film a stark visual aesthetic that coincides with the subject matter. When brighter elements such as shades of red, or blue are present, they have a vivid and pleasing quality. More often than not fleshtones lean toward lighter/pale looking complexions however I noticed livelier tonality during several sequences that utilized warmer accent lighting and deeper color emphasis. Detail in dark areas and low lighting is above average which provides discernible but limited visibility within backgrounds. Blacks are respectable but not definitively rich in contrast. High definition resolution is satisfying as close ups are well delineated and long range visuals are reasonably sharp. While not among the best high definition offerings on Blu-ray I found little to complain about with the overall quality of this video presentation.
I think this is a well designed lossless audio presentation that plays well to the film’s thematic components. It effectively uses the entire sound field to elicit reaction to sounds emanating from differing vantage points based on the camera’s perspective (meaning the subject onscreen). A great example of this occurs during the dinner sequence where Lena and Ridley “get into it” over Ethan. The soundtrack is enhanced by rich clarity, punchy dynamics and robust bass that appropriately support the film’s supernatural elements. Dialogue through the center channel is crystal clear and maintains a position of prominence within the front soundstage. The beautifully crafted music permeates the listening area with its light instrumentation and superlative tonal balance. This surround mix capably handles the subtle intricacies thrown at by this sneaky good soundtrack as it augments the enjoyment of this film.
- (HD) Book to screen – 4 minute featurette
- (HD) The Casters – 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Between two worlds – 4 minute featurette
- (HD) Forbidden romance – 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Alternate worlds – 5 minute featurette
- (HD) Beautiful creatures: Designing the costumes – 3 minute featurette
- (HD) 4 deleted scenes
- (HD) Trailers – Includes two theatrical, Comicon, and TV spot,
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Beautiful creatures is based on the book of the same name by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia and is a teen romance/young adult story that revolves around a small southern town, light and dark supernatural forces and forbidden love. It’s not a perfect film but I enjoyed the story, liked the characters and found the cast/production elements to be quite good. Beautiful Creatures comes to Blu-ray from Warner Home Video featuring excellent high definition audio/video and a sum over substance supplemental package that provides a glimpse behind the scenes and cast/crew insights. This isn’t a film for everyone however those that enjoy a bit of romanticism coupled with a supernatural twist should definitely give Beautiful Creatures a spin on Blu-ray.
Here is the trailer:
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