Twilight: A Love Story To Sink Your Teeth Into
December 1, 2008 12:54 am
Each generation has fallen in love with their special breed of vampires, and over the years, they have grown from frightening monsters, to erotic sex symbols. From the classic Dracula—the deadly black-cape-wearing older man with fangs...to Anne Rice's terrifying yet lustfully sensuous, Lestat...to Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer's sexy vampire-with-a-soul, Angel...to our current generation's vampire coven, birthed from the creative mind of Stephenie Meyer, and her Twlight Saga novels, featuring heartthrob vampire, Edward Cullen.
A special note: If you have never read Stephenie Meyer's vampire series, and are going into the movie complex thinking you will be viewing a film packed with guttural language, fangs, blood mixed with gore, and overt sexual encounters of the lustful kind...please read on...
Edward Cullen (the leading man-vamp, played brilliantly by Robert Pattinson) is not only one of the few vampires with a last name; he is also: a fangless, walk around on a cloudy day, never slumbering, impervious to death by sun, vampire...with control over his bloodlust for human plasma. Ok , Angel could control his thirst for human blood, but that was because he had a soul. Edward is a vampire without a soul, but with an aching conscious. He and his "family" are a new breed of vampires, who consider themselves vegetarians, as they only feed on animals; purposely leaving humans off their dietary food chain.
© 2008 Summit Entertainment, All Rights Reserved
The human lead is Bella Swan (played beautifully by Kristen Stewart), a normal angst-ridden teenage girl. Like many teens, she is the product of a divorced family, and in the opening scene, she moves to live with her father in a small rainforest town in Washington State. Like most teens from a broken family, she has issues of insecurity mixed with a healthy dose of independence, she knows how to take care of herself, and of course, she is somewhat a loner.
The story revolves around the tug-and-pull relationship between the super-cool vampire who has been seventeen "for awhile," and the young lovely vulnerable human, with average good looks and an over-attractive scent.
And this is where the story differs greatly from predecessor vampire flicks...Twilight is a love story between two tormented lonely souls...a meeting of soul mates...and to the movie's credit, it never lets you forget that the love story is the bones and blood of the plotline.
It is never easy converting a novel to the big screen, especially such an enormously popular novel with a devoted international fan base. To say that screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and director Catherine Hardwicke hand their hands full, would be an understatement. I know, because I am a self-admitted Twilight junkie, having read each book in the series and preordering the soundtrack CD—to watching the movie twice (once for the review and once for pure pleasure). So, the question is, did they succeed in bringing the magic from novel to movie? From a Twilight fan's perspective, I would have to say, yes, they hit the mark, more times than they missed.
© 2008 Summit Entertainment, All Rights Reserved
The Hits and The Misses
It was a monstrous task to condense a 544 page-turner into a 122-minute big screen epic adventure. My biggest criticism of the movie is that it was too short. Twilight should have been an epic feast (and with a bigger budget, it could have been just that), instead, it was a pleasant morsel, a nibble instead of a big bite. For those fans of the book, the plot often left the viewer wanting more, just a little bit more.
The second biggest blunder was the Cullen's house. Why should the structure and placement of a house be such a big disappointment? Obviously, the director and set designer had not read any of the future novels in the Twilight series. With the studio already gearing up for the second movie in the saga, they should have known that the house plays a major role in the future books, It propels the action, it is another character to cast. As such, the thought process put into picking both the house and its location was just down right absurd. It was a beautiful house, but it was not the "right" house, nor more importantly the correct setting.
As to the rest of the movie, it kept very true to the original plot, even using a lot of Meyer's original dialog. Obviously many of the little scenes that made the book so enduring to its fans had to be cut due to time restraints. Like the initial struggle that sets up the critical triangle between Edward, Bella and Jacob (which was played-down), as was the interaction between Bella and her human classmates. Over all the main plot points were all there: the chemistry lab, the truck accident, the baseball game, and the final vampire showdown. I almost forgot evil vampires, which added to the drama.
There was one important morality-tale featured within the book that was either played down, or missing altogether in the movie. The book placed great emphasis on the fact that everyone was not so much different as they were unique. Each person had his or her own "extra something" that made them special, made their existence important. I had the feeling that the director tried to subconsciously introduce that part of the storyline with the very ethnically mixed cast...which was a nice solution.
FX and Twilight
You would think that a movie about vampires would be filled with lots of really cool computer generated special effects. Think again. With only a few exceptions, ironically, this New Age vampire flick reverted to "old school" special effects. Using cranes and harnesses for the action scenes, stuntmen driving read cars...really exquisite and fast cars by the way...but real cars just the same, instead of computer generated imagery.
So why go to the bother of hiring George Lucas’ ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) team of CGI gods and goddesses to work on the movie? That question can be answered with one word—sparkle!
I briefly mentioned that Meyer's vampires have one tiny quirk that truly differentiates them from all other vampires, they can walk among mortals during the daylight hours, sunrays do not turn them to cinder, instead the bright light of day makes them sparkle like diamonds. A unique concept that reads great on paper, but proved to be a test of trial and error...trial for the director; resulting in an error for the audience.
In a recent interview for New York Entertainment, Director Catherine Hardwicke was asked about the special problems pertaining to the vampire's sparkle. She admitted that translating that effect to the big screen was made even more challenging due to Meyer's description in her book, where in one part Meyer describes Edward's face as being encrusted with diamonds. In another section, she states that Edward's face was as smooth as marble. These two contrary descriptions left the director with a challenging dilemma. What she ended up with was something between camera fuzz and fairy dust. What made it even more disturbing, was that the amazingly talented people at ILM created that effect. Obviously the ILM team did not read those specific passages of the novel very closely, another important detail, that just did not hit the mark for most Twilight fans.
A couple of fun things to keep an eye open for; author Stephenie Meyer makes a cameo appearance as one of the diners, in the second scene where Bella and her dad are eating lunch. Another interesting scene was the first time Edward and Bella were in the Chemistry Lab. Edward's chair is situated in front of a white owl, and at certain times throughout the scene it appears as if angel wings are growing out of his back. Lastly, the high school lunch scene, where a special homage is given to the book's original front cover artwork.
Will You Like It?
If you have not read the book, don't despair, there is enough plot and action to keep you glued to your seat. To the guys...it is a perfect "date movie" and I promise that you will score big points if you agree to go. Females of all ages, will enjoy the love story, and there are enough action scenes and fast cars to keep the male audience members from falling asleep.
Will you love this movie if you are a diehard fan of the Twilight Saga? Not all fans will love it, but they will like it, and a first viewing will most likely keep you coming back for a second bite (and possibly a third and fourth).
As a fan to the Twilight Saga, I would recommend the movie. The plot stayed very true to the book's storyline. The chemistry between all the actors was fantastic, and the pure yet lustful burning passion between Edward and Bella matched the book to perfection. Also, the soundtrack is to die for!
Oh, and if you overhear someone asking if they brought a snack...you might want to move to the next row.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke and
All supporting images copyright © 2008 Summit Entertainment
December 1, 2008
Please note: If you find the color of the text hard to read, please click on "Printer-friendly" and black text will appear on a white background.
Thanx so much for the review, it made me want to see it even more (if that were possible lol). I just finished the last book and going to the movie Thursday. I so glad they kept to the book as much as possible, I was a little worried - but I know I'll love it anyway! ^^
Hey Colynn, Just keep in mind, two hours is a lot of condensing. It took me a day and a half to read the book the first time. The movie really does get better with repeat viewings, not sure why. I have now seen it three times (different girl friends keep asking me to go with them and I find it rude to turn them down...yeah, that's the reason...insert silly grin). Last night I began re-reading the novel, as it was cheaper than a theatre ticket. Please post an updated comment Thursday, as I would love to hear your input. Dee Marie
I saw this movie last friday. And it is not the typical vampire movie society is used to. Is a very romantic story, mixed with the vampire stories. It is a slow movie that keeps you super interested, and never bored. You are always trying to figure out what they really are. Sometimes the plot is very unpredictable during the movie, sometimes it isn't. Is a movie all girls will love, and men (including my husband which doesn't like that kind of movie, he loved it). I loved it really. The make up of the actors were good. The vampire look is very natural, like someone can look like that in real life. The make up is very realistic. The effects are super. I have never read the novel. But I will.
Hi Yanelis, Thanks for your input. I was glad to hear that your husband enjoyed the movie. I can't get mine to go, he keeps saying he will wait for the video :] Oh, I did do an informal poll of the audience after the movie (after all three times...I suppose it helps to be gregarious). Everyone liked the movie with the exception of this one cute couple. A man and wife; both looked to be in their seventies. She liked the movie because of the lack of gore. He, on the other hand hated it, for the same reason... He pointed with mock anger in his wife's direction. "She told me I was going to see a vampire movie," he grumbled, "I was expecting fangs and blood, guts and gore, and all I got was kissy-faced teenagers." His wife just sat there smiling. Dee Marie
Hi Lwanmtr, You are too funny! Come on...give it a try, you might enjoy it, honest! I didn't mention it in the review, but there is one really nice vampire-on-vampire fight scene. Oh, and Edward doesn't cry either, he just broods, smolders, and sparkles :] Dee Marie
90210? No way! (Laughs) The main characters of this movie are totally different! The anti-social type that gets you amazed how far this can go. It is defenetely a love story between one teenager and one vampire posing as a teenager for his survival. It gives a new point of view to "Vampires" story. What I liked the most of this movie... is that is not the traditional vampire movie! I am not a vampire fan, and still saw this movie. And I would never classify this movie 90210 girly like movie, really. Just because is a romance movie between two teenagers, which acted very very well. I also liked the acting of the main female character. Is like she really could get that kind of movie to the acting scene.
Okay, I saved my comment to give me time to think about what it was I didn't like about the movie. The fact is, I think it just sums it up to say that it did leave me wanting a bit more. I liked the story, though I have not read the book. But just that something I wanted, that wasn't there...left me feeling a bit perplexed after leaving the theater. Probably the second half of the movie was what I enjoyed most :) A most excellent review, nonetheless, Dee-Marie!
It's a "twue luuuuuv" story between Mary Sue and a 108-year old manic-depressive virgin (Who incidentally drinks blood and sparkles. Sparkles!). That guy's so repressed he's got more issues than the Library of Congress newspaper archive. Am I the only one here who did not like this ... thing?
I read the 2nd and 3rd books before this one because that is the order that the library sent them to me. I found the Author's writing to be very childish. I felt like I was reading something written by a grade school child. So far as the movie was concerned, I would give it 1/2 to 1 star out of 5. I realize the books are set around an area that is supposed to be rainy and cloudy so that the vampires can be outside. But it was too much! The whole rainy/cloudy atmosphere made the movie very dreary and hard to watch. I was extremely disappointed with the casting. None of the characters in the movie even came close to resembling the impression I was given about what the characters looked like from the books, especially Alice! I also felt that the makeup was poorly done. Carlyle for instance looked like a clown with a white face, red lips and red eye rims. And there were more than one scene where I swear I saw scenes where the ears were left uncovered. One scene towards the end when Bella was in the hospital, it also looked like they forgot to paint not only Edward's ears, but his neck and chest too. One scene that I did enjoy because of the irony and humour was when Bella showed up at their house and they were cooking an Italian dinner for her. Not worth the ticket price to see, but it at least gave some life to a movie that I found otherwise rather dim and dry.