First, a little background on my experience with Twilight (the books). Last year, my BFF (a Children's Librarian in Atlanta) called and told them that I had to read this book. She warned me that the writing wasn't the greatest, but the story would absolutely suck me in. She was right, of course. I couldn't find a copy at my local library, so I took a chance and bought a copy at Waldenbooks on my way home from class. I finished it in one afternoon, went back to Waldenbooks the next day, and bought New Moon. Finished that one that afternoon, went back the next day, bought Eclipse, finished it that night, then waited impatiently for Breaking Dawn. I amused myself in the meantime by reading The Host, but it wasn't the same.
The Twilight series is like literary crack - it's incredibly bad for you, but also addictive. Parts of it annoyed me, sure. The best description I've ever heard of Meyers' writing is that she never uses a sentence when a paragraph will do, and lord knows I could do without all the smoldering, chuckling, and late-night stalking. But the books are a fun and easy read.
The movie, though...I know a lot of people out there loved it. I, however, went in expecting to hate it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't horrible, but parts of it were boring. A large chunk of the book takes place in Bella's head: her thoughts, suspicions, feelings. Trying to take that and put it on a movie screen just isn't going to work. Plus, some of the stuff that sounded dubious or silly in the book (I'm looking at you, sparkly!vampires) looks downright LAME on the big screen.
My big gripes first:
The makeup was bad. The vampires were pale, but not in an attractive way. I expected that, having seen a bazillion promotional images of Edward and Co. for the past 3 months. Kurt Loder said it best, I think: "[...] it doesn't help that [the vampires] have been so heavily caked with face powder and overloaded with hair product that they look like a troupe of unusually fey mimes." That still makes me giggle every time I read it. Jackson Rathborne suffers the most from this. He's an actually pretty cute IRL (that's him on the left, sans vampire makeup, and then again on the right, with Edward and Alice), but EVERY TIME he came on screen, the entire audience began laughing. It's not really his fault, although he did tend to have some really strange expressions on his face. I think he was going for pain or fear, but it didn't really come across.
The other part that really bugged me was Jacob. I HATE his character in the books - so whiny and needy, and can't take no for an answer - so I really wasn't expecting to like him much in the movie. I didn't. His wig was really bad and did nothing for him. Plus, he had one of the stupidest lines in the entire movie:
Bella: What did your friend mean, about the Cullens not coming here?
Jacob: Caught that, did you?
I mean, HONESTLY. The dude was standing two feet from her, TALKING DIRECTLY TO BELLA. Of course she "caught it" - she's not that dumb. I actually laughed in the theater when he said that (I laughed at a lot of things in this movie) and my friends and I decided that would become our new catchphrase for whenever we did something Really Obvious.
[Begin Tangent] My other least favorite line in the movie was Bella's reaction to Edward scaling a tree with her clinging to his back:
Bella: Things like this just don't exist in my world.
Me: What, trees?
I think I said it a little too loudly, because other people laughed as well. We had a pretty eclectic mix of movie-goers at the theater: jaded 20-somethings, squeeing!teenage fangirls, suburban soccer moms, assorted males who may or may not have been there for Edward (this was Midtown Atlanta, after all). We're pretty sure the soccer moms were making a drinking game out of the movie - it was one of those awesome theaters that actually serves alcohol, and every once in a while you could see a bottle being chugged while Edward and Bella were having a "moment." [End Tangent]
There were parts of the movie that I enjoyed, believe it or not. The baseball scene was pretty cool - I liked seeing the grace with which Alice pitched, because that was one aspect of vampiredom that didn't come across in other parts of the film. The biggest surprises, though, were Kellan Lutz and Billy Burke. Emmet and Charlie were never the focus of my attention in the books, but I adored both of them in the movie. Charlie was just sweet and protective, and Emmet always looked like he was enjoying himself. They were the two who seemed the most in tuned with the characters from the book to me. And yes, that includes Bella and Edward. I'm sorry, but I just didn't buy that they were in love.
I can't imagine what it must have been like to see this movie without reading the book(s) first. Two of the people in our group had no idea what was going on most of the time, and they couldn't understand why Bella was so hell-bent on being with Edward. Because, you know, he's a vampire. We ended up having a really long (and loud) discussion in the theater lobby after the movie, trying to explain what the movie missed, but I don't think they really cared that much.
To sum up: not the greatest movie I've ever seen, but certainly not the worst, either. I hope to see more of the other vampires when they make the inevitable sequels. I won't see it again in theaters, but I'll probably buy it (used) when it comes out on DVD, for the MST3K possibilities if nothing else.
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