These two were movies that I bought for Ed for Christmas (if that seems weird for you, just assume Beautiful Creatures was part of some sick torture game we play). It seemed appropriate to review them together since, to me, they’re very similar movies. If you take a good hard look at them in the cold light of day, neither are very good. Lots of parts don’t make sense if you take thirty seconds to think about them (though to its credit, Beautiful Creatures makes substantially more sense than the book). But both films succeed because they appeal to a primal inner part of you that never grows up; the nine year old boy and fifteen year old girl that lurk inside everyone.
Pacific Rim pits giant monsters against giant robots, with lots and lots of destruction. The robots are so complicated that they have to be operated by two people who must be specially picked to work together, which features lots of manly men, and two ultra-cool women, facing off against each other and learning to respect each other’s awesomeness. Now, perhaps unsurprisingly, I have more inner teenage girl than little boy, and so, while it was fun, I wasn’t completely sold. But they had an ace up their sleeve. The scientist characters bicker, try to save the world, and in the end use the robot operating equipment to go into a monster’s brain. Because it turns out, you don’t need to be a specially picked if you’re a scientist. You just do it. Oh yeah. We are just that awesome.
Beautiful Creatures has a teenage boy, who in the book reads just like a teenage girl, falling in love with a mysterious girl who has a strange family. Everyone wears fabulous, if completely inappropriate, clothes. Jeremy Irons is a southern gentleman, and faces off against Emma Thompson, who is evil (and very good at it). As so often happens, the adult actors run rings around the younger ones, and provide most of the entertainment. Not only did the costumes appeal to the teenager in me who feels everything should just be a bit more fabulous, but the idea of being special and having to make a choice that everyone else depends on has a very fundamental appeal. It’s just a shame that they cut the part that would have given us an evil Jeremy Irons. That would have made it perfect.