This fairy tale re-imagining from Twilight director Catherine Harwicke tries so damn hard to capture that supernatural-teen-angst-love audience that it loses every shred of credibility along the way. This cliche-fest tries to take the Twilight mold and re-shape the story so that our lovely young female lead (in this case, Amanda Seyfried) again gets involved in a supernatural relationship but this time, instead of sparkly vamps, it’s with a talking werewolf (yes, talking). Let the brooding begin…
The film opens with some breathtaking shots of the forests, streams and mountains of it’s British Columbia location and then it all goes downhill from there… We enter the expertly designed set pieces of a village tucked into the wilderness where our story will take place BUT the camera work, the compositions and the crisp colours make the whole setting feel inauthentic (almost as inauthentic as the story, acting and dialogue… but more on that later).
Director Catherine Hardwicke again brings us a film with so many tonal inconsistencies and distracting camera movements that it’s hard to imagine why she still gets work after being ‘replaced’ after only one Twilight film (to her credit, it’s still the best Twilight of the series but that’s not saying much). She makes even the most seasoned and talented actors come across as laughable…
Speaking of the cast. Seyfried plays the big-eyed beauty well, even if she’s forced to spit out some ridiculous lines (and play it completely straight… something tells me this script read a little more tongue-in-cheek but that’s not the way it was shot). Academy Award winners Julie Christie and Gary Oldman ham it up on screen (if I heard Oldman scream about killing his wife one more time, I would have sacrificed myself to the wolf). The two leading men, Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons, were little more than eye-candy for young girls… Not sure if they can play anything other than smoldering (lack of) intensity.
Lastly, the story played out as ridiculous as everything else. More interested in throwing us red herrings than actual developing any kind of story arch or characters makes the whole affair sit there like a clunky log and leaves the audience uninterested (at best). Oh, and like I said, the dialogue was atrocious. This is one of the worst films I’ve seen in some time… and I saw Beastly last week.
Official Synopsis: “Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie’s older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village.
As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. As panic grips the town, Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast-one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect… and bait.”