tweenagers, angst, and vampires, oh my!

So I went and saw Twilight yesterday.

Okay, no, let me be more specific. I saw Twilight yesterday afternoon at a fairly decent showing time where I wasn't expecting there to be much of a line of crazy screaming teenagers at a moderately awesome theater with three girlfriends of mine who had previously read the first book of Stephenie Meyer's series. Two of us had our "I heart Vampires" shirts on, the other two were bundled up to endure the cold theater.

The line was decent -- we arrived at 12:15 and only had about 20 or so people in front of us also waiting for the 1:00 showing. There was a healthy mix of guys, girls, teenagers, moms, and boyfriends. Of course I had the bright idea to wear my high-heeled boots only to stand in line for 30 minutes. Smart move.

We shuffled in a bit later, and sat through some trailers. One trailer, might I add, almost scared the pee out of me. It was for the 2009 release The Unborn. Who puts a horror movie trailer in front of a movie whose audience consists of grannies and 8-year-olds watching? Sheesh. I almost had a stroke at one of the scenes and had to look away for the rest of it.

Right as the lights started to dim, one of the girlfriends squealed and said, "All right girls, this is the moment we've been waiting for!" and there were comparable squeals throughout the theater, closer to the front. I glanced at my friend on my left and she made a funny face.

Yes, what my friend had said was right, to a certain degree. My previous post revolving around the book-turned-movie claimed that I had my reservations about the film. And now looking back to that entry, I have to correct myself. When I wrote it, I was pretty disappointed that they were making this film. There are so many elements that involve the other senses besides sight and hearing that the novel deals well with. The translation to screen would be an abominable undertaking.

So while I sat in my seat as the movie was about the start, I can honestly say my expectations still remained pretty low. I wasn't concerned that the movie would not live up to the expectations of its overall dedicated and wildly faithful fan base. The fact that Meyer felt good about the movie sealed that thought for me. These people who had poured over every word would be able to follow the movie easily and intensely, feel the chemistry between the two leads, and probably be able to recite the dialogue if it was pulled directly from the novel.

And for the most part, that was true. But this fan of Meyer's Twilight didn't walk away from the theater feeling wholly satisfied.

*spoilers ahead*

I should start from the beginning. If you have no earthly clue what Twilight is about, you've been living under a rock, so this link should help you with an accurate synopsis. I'm not sure what's going to cure the whole "living under a rock," thing though, so I can't help you there.

One of my biggest disappointments with the film has to do with its writing and pacing. The movie felt as though it was cramming way too much information into its 2 hour time slot and trying to please its fan base audience a little too much. In the book, it's internal dialogue, detail, detail, internal dialogue, dazzling Edward, detail, internal dialogue, detail, emo-ness, detail, and angst. (Yes, in that order) In the film, they jammed more of the "we need to get this in there to make people happy" plot points and sacrificed the progression of a natural story arc. An example of this was when I was completely let down with the "I don't want to be stuck here like Mom did!" line that Bella delivered when she was trying to leave Forks. All the internalizing in the book of her mom and dad's relationship history was summarized in one line in the film.

Before seating ourselves in the theater, I asked my girlfriends who I should sit by, because I knew I would be snickering at the really over-the-top ridiculous parts. I probably did this around 10 times throughout the film, which wasn't bad, and didn't get me shot, but here's a partial list of what made me stifle a laugh:

The first third of of the film's score

Okay, so I may not be hip to the game on film scores, but I know that it's not necessary to add lingering guitar riffs to fill awkward character moments. Luckily, they redeemed themselves with the last two thirds of the movie and it didn't make me want to stab knives into my ears.

Edward's facial expressions
I recently watched an interview where Robert Pattinson (who plays Edward) talks about his most difficult scene to shoot. It was the scene where he rescues Bella (in his mini hot rod Volvo, at that) from a group of thugs in the town of Port Angeles. He doesn't point a gun at them, he doesn't physically manhandle any of them, he just...pulls up and...glowers. Yes, he glowers. And in the film, he glowers badly.

When they hop into the car and peel away and he asks Bella to calm him down, he also has a wild expression on his face, which reads naturally in the book. On the screen, he looks like he's refraining from upchucking. That wasn't pretty, either.

The Bad Guy Vampires' entrance

Even as far back as the first trailers, I wasn't a fan of the way the vampires "floated." The execution was laughable, but I can't honestly tell you how I would've liked to pull it off if I were translating the book, either. In any regard, this opinion carried over to having to watch a full thirty seconds of it in the movie.

Charlie's moustache

I'd seen it several times before watching the movie, and don't worry, I laughed then, too.

Kristen Stewart's head-shaking

I really hesitate to say that Stewart actually acted in this film. I know I'm being judgmental, as I've only seen her in the critically acclaimed In the Land of Women, and she did the weird head-shaking then. I've also seen her in several interviews for Twilight, and I'm not quite sure if acting for this film was really natural, so natural that she didn't actually act...? Regardless, I thought she was going to go into a full-on seizure at any moment in the film.

The very non-threatening feline Cullen family pose in the baseball scene

As the Bad Guy vampires made their way onto the field at the end of this scene, I had expected a threatening stance, something scary, wicked, intimidating, from the Cullen side. It ended up the exact opposite -- it was very anti-climactic with not even a puny growl in sound editing. Or at least not big enough to make me notice. Sad.

Like I said, that's only a partial list. I'd be a hypocrite if I said I was secretly judging the "Woo!" girls in the theater, but I certainly had my well-restrained-internal "Woo!" girl moments. There are several moments that the film did just right. Here are all the things I managed to remember without writing any of them down (which is pretty impressive with my feeble brain):

The Kiss

They partially gave it away in the trailer, but it was sheer bliss on screen. It was a one-way ticket to TENSION CITY, folks.

The Meadow Scene
Although I had imagined a brighter, less green and more golden hue, the scene where Edward describes his strength and power in the meadow and flits around like the crazy vampire he is, was spot on.

When Bella Fell on Her Butt

That was just funny. I LOL'd.

The Cullen Family Uber Dramatical Entrance
Floaty, white, vampirical goodness. Even if Jasper looked like a crazy that should be an an asylum for about 99% of the movie.

Any Time Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) or James (Cam Gigandet) was on Screen

Vampire Baseball!!!!!
I know that it's not worth the $8.25 (or so) for a movie ticket, but if I could sell someone on watching this movie, it would be because of VAMPIRE BASEBALL. The music, the camera movements, the speeding up and slowing down in post, and the environmental thunder and crack of lightning made this scene my absolute favorite. I grinned like an idiot throughout and immediately wanted to rewatch it as soon as it was over. But I couldn't, and that also made me sad.

Yes, the movie had some hiccups, and besides the pacing, the other disappointment I had after leaving the theater was that the non-readers won't enjoy this movie. At all, sadly. As a fan of the book, the film did things better than it did worse, for sure. As a fan, I enjoyed it. I'm glad that I did read the book first, though. The sparkles turned out a lot better on paper.


Rebecca & Sam said...

I am just gonna wait until it comes out on video before i see it. the book was so good though! i finally put your link on my blog..not sure why i hadn't done so before!