I won’t say that Twilight sucked (yes, I went for the obvious pun there), but as a fan of the book I don’t feel that it quite hit all of the right notes. I tend to be a book to movie purist, but with books like Twilight and Harry Potter I expect that not everything is going to make the cut, and some things are going to be exaggerated for effect. I even looked forward to seeing some of the action and the build up to action expanded for Twilight. While I am glad about some of the elements that were expanded upon or just plain didn’t exist in the book, I am very disappointed at some of the very important elements they left out.
Movie reviews are perhaps not my forte, and if you want the director and all the behind the scenes nuances, you should perhaps read John’s review, but I’m going to give it my best go. I want to first talk about the casting. Robert Pattinson, cast as the vampire heartthrob Edward, was a perfect match for the role. I remember snickering a little when I heard that Cedric Diggory was going to be the lead, but he surprised me very much in his performance. His emotions, thoughts, and conflicts were Edward’s. I had no doubt in my mind that he was in fact a lovestruck vampire in love with an all too mortal Bella. Bravo Mr. Pattinson. Kristen Stewart, on the other hand, left me wanting. I wanted to feel the emotion emanating from her, but in most of her scenes I got nothing but socially awkward stoicism.
Taylor Lautner, who we briefly saw as Jacob Black, certainly seemed like the happy-go-lucky young man we’re going to learn more about in the next installment, and Bella’s high school friends were maybe a little cheesy but totally believable. I think any scene that had the Cullen family in it was amazing, and I for one wish they had spent a little more time on them, but I can understand why they didn’t. The casting for Edward’s family was, for lack of a better word, perfect. I felt they were completely analogous to their in-print counterparts, and I can’t wait to see more of them in the future.
As I mentioned earlier, there are certainly some elements I’m glad they expanded on. For example, the Laurent, James, and Victoria trio had a bigger impact in the film before their arrival, which led up to the chase scene well. In the book, they show up and they’re dangerous, but in the movie they are the hunters. They kill people, and there is an escalating sense of dread. When they show up in the movie you know right away that this group of vampires is not like the Cullens. They are wilder and certainly more dangerous. What I wish they had added here is a little more action at the end between the Cullens and James. I understand both in the book and in the movie that James was very outnumbered, so the action wouldn’t have been long, but I wouldn’t have minded a little more.
One scene I am glad they left in was the baseball scene. That was purely a guilty pleasure, and having the scene matched up to Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole” was great. When I listened to the soundtrack (before watching the movie) I wondered which part would be graced by that song, and it fit quite well. This is really the part of the movie where you get to see all of the Cullens being themselves, and, Rosalie’s haughtiness aside, it is very entertaining.
My biggest disappointment in the movie as a whole is that I felt it tried to be a little artsy, which coming from a director like Catherine Hardwicke I would have expected. However, I think there were too many times when we saw that Bella and Edward staring into each others eyes, and I imagine having those “getting to know you” conversations. I just wish we heard some of it. In the book there are a lot of questions from both sides, and while that probably would have been a bit obnoxious in the movie, we really got none of that. Twilight and the rest of the books are mostly driven on character interaction, but we artsy fartsied right over that in the movie. The transition from “OMG, Edward looks like you stabbed him with a pencil” (a line that would have been great to hear in the movie) to “OMG, I’m in love with Edward” seemed like the only revelation needed was that he was a vampire.
I found the interaction between Bella and Edward where they were asking each other questions–Bella about Edward, his nature, and his family and Edward’s more mundane about favorite color, flower, and gem stone–to be charming. I really liked that they acknowledged this intense draw between them and then got to know one another. Staring into each other’s eyes is nice and all, but it does nothing to further their understanding of each other, since Bella is the one person’s mind that Edward cannot read. I really feel that more conversation would have been warranted.
Overall, I really enjoyed it, and I will be seeing it again in the theaters soon. I certainly want and need to give it a second watch and try and look at it through the eyes of just your average movie viewer. I tend to think my adaptation purism sometimes makes it more difficult to sit back and just enjoy. With the exception of wanting more of the character interaction I enjoyed so much in the book, I thought it was a very faithful adaptation, one that I can’t find much fault with. Everyone involved did an excellent job, and I cannot wait to see the rest of the series made into movies. On a scale of one to five, for a book to movie adaptation, I give Twilight a solid 3.5.