While the trailers focused more on the epic Light vs. Dark magical world, appealing to genre fans, the clips provide a rawer look at the performances. The first features the evil Ridley (Emmy Rossum) conducting an inappropriate first encounter with Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), and it looks to be a star-making turn for Rossum, who has been softly blinking on the radar for years. Here, she combines the Southern pushiness of Bryce Dallas Howard in “The Help”with the sexual charisma of Joan Holloway. The second clip reveals Lena (Alice Englert) and Ethan having what appears to be an early intimate conversation, and they both bring a believable candor to the moment. Unfortunately for Englert, there’s just no way her moody, dark-haired, small-town alter ego won’t garner comparisons to Bella Swan.
Come Valentine’s Day, it’ll be interesting to see whether these two relatively unknown young actors can bring the crowds. But with a supporting cast including Emma Thompson, Viola Davis and Jeremy Irons, they should be able to hold their own against Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation “Safe Haven.”