I will always, always, read a book before I see a movie.
Most of the time, I either love the book more or find the movie to be a complement to the novel.
Rarely do I enjoy a movie better than the book.
But it so happened this time.
Up for today’s book-to-movie discussion is:
Story Summary: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen. She struggles to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. Ethan Wate finally meets the girl who haunts his dreams. On her birthday, she must choose good or evil. In a town with no surprises, this secret could change everything.
Beautiful Creatures| Book
I had a really, really hard time reading this book. There was a time in sixth grade when I was all into the paranormal: ghosts, witches, werewolves, vampires. Give me R. L. Stine or anything creepy and I’d read it. Then Harry Potter came into my life and magical fantasy was 100% changed for me.
Since I’ve immersed myself in YA, I honestly, really, have had no desire to jump into this series. 1. It wasn’t my usual liking, and 2. I’m already deep into a million series. So I’ve ultimately avoided Beautiful Creatures. But with it’s movie premier this year I had to read it.
It was a struggle. Chocking in at 563 pages meant a doozie for me. Time. Something I didn’t have when I was reading it last spring. But I chugged through it, interested by not immersed in the story. I loved the idea of a Caster library, but I think I skimmed a good part of the book.
I felt as it I was waiting for this huge revelation at the end of the story when Lena chooses good or evil. After all, the entire first part leads up to this huge decision. But then–nothing happened. Well, something happened but I don’t want to spoil it for you. It’s just the something that happened wasn’t the big scene I was waiting for. I was disappointed. Let down. And frustrated that I’d have to go through all of this again with three more books.
The one thing that got me with the book though was the narrator-Ethan. I liked having a YA story from a male’s perspective. But if I’m admitting truths here, it took me about the first chapter to realize the narrator was a boy. I went into the story picturing a girl talking to me for the first few pages.
Beautiful Creatures | Movie
Since I really didn’t like the story, I was nervous about the movie–especially since we rented it for a date night and the hubster was willing to watch it with me. I prepared myself for comments from the peanut gallery all night–simply because with him being an Ender’s Game fan, I’m always hearing about what “good YA” should have. I digress. (And yes, Ender’s Game will be up in the feature in November! Just for him.)
But you know what, we were both hooked. Beautiful Creatures just happened to be one of those rare cases where the movie turned out better than the book for me. I think it’s because the book is so long that I often felt lost in the story. I was confused, frustrated, and really just wanted to know why there was so much in the book that didn’t necessarily need to be there. But the movie was straight to the point. There were definitely changes (like with the Caster library & part of Lena’s family) but it didn’t bother me because the movie was a completely different entity in my book, and the pacing–through repetitive (boy likes girl, girl says it won’t work, bot stil likes girl, girl refuses him, etc) was much better than the novel.
With this screen adaptation, I felt as if I could visualize the story much better, too. Usually, my imagination takes the story from me but I just felt so lost in the book–confused at the narrator, too many details to think about, etc–that my mind just had trouble picturing the characters and each scene. However, I absolutely loved what the story did with Lena and Ethan’s flashbacks through the locket, AND the entrance to eh Caster library. It came across exactly as I hoped for.
What really sealed the movie for me though was that my husband actually liked it. I told him about the story before it started so he sort of knew what was going on, but he was intrigued the whole time we were watching. After the movie was over, he asked me questions about the differences and even let me talk through my movie over book feelings. That’s a win for me.
Final Verdict: If you’re up for a Friday night viewing, I say go for the movie but definitely skip the book. You’ll get everything you need to know from the screen version, and save yourself time. But maybe wait until Halloween time, just so the whole paranormal theme fits the mood.
Another View: If you want more opinions of Beautiful Creatures book to movie, check out Alise’s thoughts over at Picture Me Reading. Angela has a positive spin to the movie, Nerdy Book Reviews gives a different point of view to the review, as does Books, Writing, and Tea!
Book to Movie Talk: Have you seen Beautiful Creatures yet? What do you think? A case of movie over book this time?