I would say there are spoilers, but, come on, like you all don't already know what happens?
So. I saw Twilight last night. It was....surreal. That's the perfect word for my experience. Let me preface my review by clarifying a common misconception: I did not have especially high hopes for this movie. I know my blog posts convinced you otherwise, but really, I was just dang excited to see the movie. That didn't mean I thought it was going to be excellent. No, I was fully prepared to be incredibly disappointed. Even if they did it perfectly, I would have issues, because obviously it would never look the way onscreen that it did in my head. I think all of us who read and loved the books felt that way. So, having said that, here it is:
I....had...a very hard time with it. I cringed through probably 80% of the movie. I didn't walk away hating it, but I liked it less than almost everyone else I saw it with. This is not shocking--the more you love the books the less you're bound to like the movie. But enough of that. Here's my breakdown of what I hated, what was weird, what was cool, and what made my dreams very nice last night.
It started off awesome, the first shot a gorgeous picture in the very green, very wet Pacific Northwest forests. I love me my Washington. It was misty, the music was very sort of eery and dramatic, and it set the mood perfectly. The filming had this dark, grainy quality which gave the movie a kind of indy feel, which I loved. Enter Bella, narrating for the sake of the four people watching the movie who hadn't read the books. She was talking in this very sad, very depressing voice, and I half expected her to hang herself at any moment. As she spouted off the story of why she was moving from Phoenix to Forks, I thought it was a little weird that they chose to begin the movie with her spewing forth this information instead of revealing it to us later in a conversation with someone. It wouldn't have been hard to do--she could have told any one of the plethora of kids at her new school when they asked why she moved. But that's just the movie critic in me.
I thought I was really going to like Kristen Stewart's take on Bella. She really seemed to get the serious, shy, moody, part of her. But I soon realized that was her only take on Bella. She didn't give a real smile the entire movie. It was always this half-smile, as she awkwardly shifted her head and eyes around to show us how truly uncomfortable she was. I guess in some respect she succeeded--she was so convincing she made me uncomfortable. In almost every scene. I started silently pleading for her to just relax. Take a deep breath. Relax your face muscles. It was as if any moment she was just going to lose it--go completely postal and start screaming at everyone, wildly swinging a butcher knife above her head. Which, actually, I think would have been great. At least she would have shown an emotion other than melancholy.
And then, enter the Cullens. This is where the irony comes in. The part of the movie I thought I was going to have the hardest time with was the other members of the family. I was not thrilled with the casting, at all. But in the movie, they were fabulous. The parts they were in were some of my favorite parts of the movie (like when Edward takes Bella to his house to meet them--hilarious.), especially because Pylon Girl (Esme) only had, like, 2 lines. They really were able to make these ordinary real-life humans stand apart from the rest, thanks to makeup and an expensive wardrobe. I thought it was great how they introduced them, walking past the windows in slow-mo, one by one, of course saving Edward for last.
Our first shot of Edward was a classic example of how the movie completely ruined what should have been the best parts. As he rounded the corner into our view, they actually had this music in the background that sounded like angels singing. It. Was. Ridiculous. Of course the entire theater was cracking up, because I know we were all thinking the same thing. And that was just the beginning of the embarrassing, awkward moments throughout the movie, moments that could have, and should have, been amazing.
Their first several scenes together were literally painful to watch. I was in pain. Besides the above-mentioned acting by Miss Stewart, Rob Pattinson had two facial expressions he switched between for the first, probably half an hour: "I'm about to throw up" or "I'm about to cry." He looked in pain, which I know he was supposed to, but it could have probably been toned down. The fact that he covered his nose when she first walked in and looked like he was going to hurl at any moment totally ruined it for me. That whole scene, where he's just staring at her, then they zoom in super close on his golden eyes, was laughable. I was laughing. And I don't think they were trying to be funny, which makes me mad. And if they were trying to be funny, that makes me mad. There was nothing remotely funny about that part of the book.
The hardest part for me about the whole movie was the romance between Bella and Edward. Any idiot off the street knows this is the essence of the books. This is why they are insanely popular. This is why we were in line at 5:30 to see a 7:05 showing of the movie. This is why I am obsessed. And it was not there. In my opinion, the entire essence of the books was missing from the movie. I didn't feel it. (Except for the make-out scene, I definitely felt that.) They went from "we can't be friends" and "why do you hate me" to "I don't care that you want to kill me, I trust you" and "you are my life now." If I hadn't read the books, I'd be thinking, "Yeah, so, how did they get to that point?"
The meadow scene, quite possibly the best scene of the entire book, was, well, destroyed. No, pulverized. Maybe the worst scene of the movie. (Don't get me started on the sparkly skin.) The drive back from Port Angeles, the key conversation, the start of their relationship, one of my all-time favorite chapters...missing. Just, gone.
And then it jumps to the action. The evil nomad vampires come in and the hunt is on. The stunt doubles come out and the wire-works begin. The big fight in the ballet studio at the end was actually cooler than I thought it would be, but they quickly ruined that, too, with the most horrible, absurd part yet--Edward sucking the venom out of Bella's arm and relishing it a little too much. I know I said something out loud, I can't remember if it was a groan or a "what the heck?" or a combination of the two. It. Was. Bad.
Thank goodness it ended on a good note: Bella, in the hospital, breaks down crying, pleading for Edward to stay with her and never leave her. Wait, are those...tears? Is that....emotion that Bella is showing? Oh, so she was just saving her acting skills for the final scenes, I get it. Well played, Kristen, well played.
And then, the last scene, the Prom. The part in the gazebo was gorgeous, and incredibly romantic with all the white lights and slow music and them dancing close...they nailed the "is he going to change her?" scene--I think there might actually have been steam coming off the movie screen when he leaned in and kissed her neck. Deep breaths, Alicia, deep breaths.
And then it was done. And my mind was spinning and racing and people were asking me what I thought and I did...not...know...what...to...tell...them. I wanted to avoid it, but I knew it was unavoidable. When some of my friends asked me what I thought, I equated it to being asked what you thought of your first child being born. (I don't really feel the two are the same for me, I was just trying to think of something they could possibly relate to.) How do you answer that? It's too personal, there's just too much.
Other things I had issues with were some minor details they felt they needed to change for no apparent reason, stuff that so could have been left alone. Most of them have slipped my mind, but some that I remember are a) Bella did NOT have a cell phone b) Bella's computer was a dinosaur with dial-up, most definitely NOT a Mac and c) Converse and leggings to the Prom? Really?
I loved Rob. I did, even though I hated him in the beginning. Each scene he got better. Each scene he looked less nauseous and more perfect. Each scene he smiled more and relaxed more and looked more and more like Edward. And he nailed the accent. I was so impressed with the accent.
I loved the kissing scenes. If there was one thing they got right, it was drawing out that first kiss, even longer than the typical lean-in-super-slow-to-create-sexual-tension movie kiss. You could feel the fear, you loved Edward for telling her twice to hold still, and finally, when you think you can't stand it any longer, their lips finally meet and....um...wow. It was definitely racier than the book (they NEVER kissed like that in Twilight), but, that's Hollywood. After that scene was over, I leaned over to my friend Kim and said, "My whole body feels like jello." Holy Hot.
I loved the baseball scene. I know! Imagine my shock when the part of the book that seemed so ridiculous to me, that I could not imagine looking cool in any sense of the word, was one of my favorite parts. The lightening and thunder, the rock music in the background, the speed and strength...it was awesome. I even liked the baseball uniforms! I know, so weird.
I loved Edward's room and all the gorgeous shots of "Washington". (I know it was Oregon, but whatever, like anyone can tell.) I loved when he took her up in that tree and the view behind them and he's up there smiling at her...loved it.
I loved the unexpected humor, mostly with the supporting cast, who were great by the way. I especially liked Jessica. She was perfect. Her "boob" comment was one of my favorites.
I loved seeing my favorite story played out before me, where I could see it. Even though so many parts were hard for me to watch, I still loved watching it. I can't wait to see it again.
I know there will be a million and one things I will think of later, so I'll probably have to do a follow-up later like I did with Breaking Dawn. I'm feeling really rushed right now (trying to go out with my husband) but I really wanted to get this done today for you all. So now I really, really want to know what you all thought. PLEASE comment and tell me, even if you totally disagree with my review.
Okay, second review coming. Yeah, so I took my husband to go see it tonight. And I have to say it was soooooo much better the second time around. Now that I knew what parts were going to be cheesy it made them so much more bearable. And my husband, who has never read the books, loved it. He keeps asking me questions about it and I can't believe I can finally tell him everything I know. (He's probably getting way more information than he wanted.)
I think I didn't give Kristen quite enough credit. I think she played Bella as best as anyone could. And I forgot about the part where Charlie (whom I've nicknamed Chief Comic Relief, by the way) gives her her truck--she actually laughs and looks happy and normal. So there was that one.
The one major thing I forgot to mention that really bothered me was the biggest change they made: how Bella found out he was a vampire. Instead of Jacob telling her on the beach, she had to buy a book and put it together. (Which, why did she google to find a book, buy the book, read something in the book, then google that thing. Why the heck didn't she just google the "legend" and keep on reading? Stupid lamb.) Anyway, another completely unnecessary change.
So I really loved it tonight. I noticed the music even more, and can't wait to buy the soundtrack. I especially love Bella's Lullaby and watching Edward play it. (That was really Rob playing that, btw. Is there anything sexier than a guy playing the piano? ) So for those of you who were as disappointed as I was, go see it again. Preferably with your significant other. Just tell them it's a vampire movie, they'll go.