What if angels walk among us today? How are they supposed to look like?
In a movie called Fallen, Australian director Scott Hicks depicts angels as gorgeous beings: they are tall, sexy, blue-eyed and golden-haired. Think of the English actor Jeremy Irvine only with blonde locks and translucent wings that appeared only twice in the movie.
The 26-year-old actor is one of the fallen angels in the romantic-fantasy film that begins with giving the audience a quick overview of what fallen angels are and how they end up on earth after an epic celestial war between them and their creator. Fallen angels are described as the ones who chose love instead of choosing sides.
Fallen is the first installment in Lauren Kate’s book series, a romance-fantasy novel that follows the story of a 17-year-old girl named Luce Price (Addison Timlin).
In the big screen adaptation, Luce is sent to Sword & Cross reform school following a crime she didn’t commit. On her first day at the boarding school, she meets Cam Briel (Harrison Gilbertson) and Daniel Grigori (Irvine), to whom she feels mysteriously drawn. Both men are fallen angels, and that explains it. Cam and Daniel have been fighting for the love of Luce for centuries. As a mortal, Luce is cursed to die whenever she falls in love and kisses Daniel and reincarnated seventeen years later.
In her latest reincarnation, Luce is a present-day teenager who feels different because of her strange visions. While she is smart and pretty and very much likable by many, Lucy is considered psycho by most people especially when her ex-boyfriend died during a fire. She’s being blamed for the latter’s death, reason she is sent to a reform school.
While Daniel and Luce are the couple in love for centuries, this time, the former tries to avoid (but secretly protects) the latter to defy the cycle that gives him eternal heartbreak. Cam sees this opportunity to take advantage to win Luce’s love. However, in the universe where love always wins, Daniel and Luce end up being together after a revelation that gives the latter a clearer picture of her past, which explains the strange yet familiar visions that have been haunting her for years.
A battle between Cam and Daniel commences then it ends up with Daniel hovering above the clouds with Luce in his arms. This of course signifies that an installment is in the offing.
There are a few comparisons made between Fallen and Twilight because both series center on a love triangle and a girl who is defenseless and must be protected by her male counterpart, who happens to be an immortal. But in a broad sense, Luce is an entirely different protagonist, and that reaffirms that Fallen is not Twilight with fallen angels.
Like the way she is depicted in the story, Timlin makes Luce even more likable. She makes the character, a troubled teen-ager, appealing in a sense that it makes the screen heroine relevant amid the story’s theme.
The trouble with this kind of genre though, especially a story based on a novel that has already been read by millions, there’s a level of expectation that the screen version has to meet. While the actors and stunning location perfectly match what people may already have in mind, the love story that the Fallen movie wants to sell lacks the intensity that would make one go crazy about falling in love with fallen angels. It also raises the question as to why it takes centuries for a great love that recurs every 17 years to defy the laws of angels.
With high level of expectation, Fallen fails to meet even half of what it had to accomplish as a screen version. The absence of stunning visuals (the first requirement of a fantasy film) and the intense connection between the two main characters make this supernatural romantic movie just another love story that audience will forget once a new one of the same theme arrives. The open-ended conclusion does not even attract excitement to see what is going to happen next between Luce and Daniel, at least of course in the movie version.