Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Twilight", the movie - Joy Vyoral

I attended an opening day screening of Catherine Hardwicke’s film, “Twilight”, based on the Stephenie Meyers novel of the same name. That screening was attended by a theater full of teenage girls, a scattering of teenage boys and quite a few adult women.

Before the lights went down, the audience as a whole was very noisy with occasional outbursts of hysterical laughter and even shrieking. Remembering a discussion overheard in the crowd entering the theatre about the hotness factor of the young actor playing the film’s character, Edward, I wondered if we were in for nothing more than a fan-fest and I’d end up having to rent the movie when it came out on video in order to really see it. Save a couple of shrieks when the actor Robert Pattinson first appeared on screen, the crowd settled down to be very mannerly and attentive.

The film moved very quickly through the events of the first book seeming to attempt to cover most of the major points of the story. Unfortunately, it gave a quick nod only to the character of Bella’s friend, Jacob, and failed to even hint of his importance in the over-all story-line. Since Jacob is a major factor in the first book, setting up his place in the later books, I found it odd. I felt the director could have left out some of the time devoted to Edward’s vampire gifts which served only to cause the audience to laugh, something I feel certain the director hadn’t intended. The time would have been better used to set up Jacob’s character.

I also believe the characters of Edward and Jacob were miscast. Pattinson didn’t come close to the “beautiful Edward with the marble smooth skin” of Bella’s constant rhapsodizing in the novel. Taylor Lautner, as Jacob Black, though very attractive, is not physically large enough to portray the hulking 15-year old who eventually becomes the Alpha male wolf and the third side of Twilight’s romantic triangle.

Distracting to me also was the amateurish look of the vampire make-up of the characters. This was especially problematic on the character of Carlisle, Edward’s adoptive father, but startling also on the other male vampires. In the extreme close-ups of Bella and Edward, Edward seemed to have on more lip color than Bella.

I was disappointed in the special effect that was Edward’s “sparkling skin” when he was exposed to direct sunlight. On the screen, it was barely anything to see, totally unlike the description in the book of reflected light dancing in the meadow. Really, it should have been more dramatic.

In spite of my disappointments in the movie version of “Twilight”, I have to say it was very interesting to see the interpretation from the book. Seldom is a movie able to do justice to the book and this one probably didn’t do any worse than most. Factor in the record-breaking (opening weekend for a movie with a female director) $70.6 million ticket sales and you have to figure this movie is absolutely done a great deal right. I’m very interested to see how subsequent film versions turn out.

1 comment:

Sheryl Tuttle said...

Now that I've seen the movie I had to come back to re-read your review. Personally, I loved the movie but am not sure I would have enjoyed it as much had I not read the book first. This because, as you have pointed out, the movie skims over some of the major points, particularly Jacob's role. Since I had been forewarned about the makeup and special effects, they didn't bother me so much. And while I agree that Robert Pattinson didn't match the image I had envisioned of beautiful Edward either, the intensity of his character and personality made him gorgeous in my eyes! Great review Joy!