I read all four books in the Twilight Saga in about 3 weeks. I couldn't put them down. The author, Stephanie Meyer, got crazy lucky with this amazing, different love story. The writing sometimes left a bit to be desired - it was mushy and repetitive and catered to the tween fanbase. But, once it sucks you in you never get out.
So, making a movie based on a book that is so popular with so many diehard fans is risky - you better stay true to the beloved book or you will be tarred and feathered in a public forum. The director, Catherine Hardwicke, was a good girl - she stayed as true to the book as humanly possible. The production company, Summit, is an indie company, so the movie only had a modest (by Hollywood standards) budget - $37 million. This is where the movie lacks - special effects....
MAJOR SPOILERS - Edward, our beloved Edward, is supposed to sparkle in the sun. There is such a clear picture painted in the book for this scene. It is one of those parts of a book that are written so there is NO mistaking how it should play out if it were, say, real, or made into a movie. Well, he sparkled in the sun in the movie, but he sure as hell didn't dazzle. This scene, along with the whole meadow scene right after Bella puts the pieces together and realizes Edward is *GASP* immortal, are so pivotal to this story - you can pull all the other pieces down around it and these scenes will stand on their own - not so much in the film, though. The whole scene was kind of thrown together to get it over with -
"I know what you are." "Say it..out loud (Rob Pattinson is the sex when he is demanding.)" "Vampire." "OOOh, ok, check me out in the sun light." Cue cheesy special effect that resembled shiny, teen acne.
Ok, so, that was about all that bothered me, really. Other than that, I was in love with the movie. Some things that stand out:
In the book, I loved Charlie and Bella's relationship - you could tell they cared for and loved each other, but they were just so shy and awkward around each other. Their relationship translated so well into film - Bella and Charlie had some of the best scenes together. It was just very touching.
Also, Bella's friends from Forks High School are total scene stealers - Jessica, Mike, Eric, and Angela - especially Jessica and Mike. Total cut ups. As one reviewer put it, ..."they reminded us of the life Bella would give up to be with Edward..."
The scenes when Bella goes to the Cullen's house are heartwarming and hysterical - Rosalie steals the one cooking scene. Also, Edward taking Bella through the treetops is magical - on of the better special effects and it really shows the viewer how they feel without using words. Cue Bella's lullaby during this scene - I loved it.
I couldn't really picture any music in my head for the lullaby while reading the book. But, the movie got it so right. It was powerful and passionate, kind of like their relationship. And it fit great in that particular scene. I liked all the music in the film, as I know a lot of people didn't like it or thought it was too much, whatever. I dug it.
As for the whole Cullen family, they were great. Carlisle was breathtaking when he first walked on screen. Jasper kind of reminded me of Edward Scissorhands with his aloof facial expressions - trying not to breath in Bella's human scent. Rosalie was beautiful, as she was meant to be, and quite bitchy - I love it. Alice was how I pictured - perky, cute and to-the-point. Emmet was big and goofy and just kind of looking for a good time. Esme was cute and underused, I think. Hopefully she will be more prominent in the next film(s). I think they got the family spot-on.
And, when they walked into the lunchroom and Bella saw them for the first time - it was so dramatic! I was like, "Oh, snap! The Cullens!! You better recognize!"
Then, Edward walked in. I couldn't picture Edward while reading the book. I kept changing him in my head. Then, I saw Rob Pattinson and knew they casted him in the movie role and I was like, "OK, this kid is a cutie. I can deal with that." Then, he did some photo shoots and looked like, well, like Edward should look - perfection. He is so amazing as Edward. There were some parts I wouldn't have thought to play that way. (Example: The biology scene where Bella meets him for the first time and he smells her: people laughed, even me, and I don't think it was meant to be funny - he looked like he was going to blow chunks. I pictured him as white-knuckled, almost angry. But, whatevs.) He is gorgeous - you can't deny it. Edward is supposed to be gorgeous. He has a unique voice (He is a Brit playing an American accent, so that helps.) He plays the whole "I'm so torn between leaving Bella alone and being miserable or loving her and possibly eating her" thing well. In the books, Edward was very demanding - borderline sexist. He just wanted to protect Bella. Well, it is kind of hot, ok? That is part of his appeal - he kind of lets Bella know what is what. I loved his performance and was totally a 13 year old girl when he walked on screen for the first time.
Much like Edward, I could never picture Bella. Ok, not true, I always pictured myself as Bella. I must have not been home when they came to the door with the movie offer, though. Kristen Stewart would not have been my first choice b/c she always seems indifferent or bothered or something. But, she was good. She had some obnoxious lines, but she played them well. The only part that I wanted to smack her at was in the hospital when Edward said she should live with her mom - when she said, "No no - don't say that to me, I want you, blah blah." It seemed like she was TRYING to act poorly in this part. It wasn't good and it could have been great. So, boo to you for that, Kristen (I'm not bitter.) She WAS good in the venom scene. She didn't glam up the tortured pain - she actually looked like she was in pain. I like that - realism.
OOOh, the fight scene - it was short, but it was so good. Another spot where the effects were pretty kick-ass. And Edward comes swooping in being a hero - I love it!! Speaking of Edward saving Bella's life, they left the scene where Bella is attacked in the city and Edward comes to save her. I am glad they left it in and they did it so well. Edward's rage, his driving, Bella finally realizing Edward is kind of different.
Jacob wasn't in it that much, which didn't bother me. I don't like him. The kid that played him was super cute, though.
Ok, I loved the friggin movie. I am going to see it again next week. I can't help myself. It won't win any Oscars, but people love it. They love the books and they love the story and they love RPatz (he is my future 2nd husband, so I can call him that.) I think with the greenlight for Summit to make New Moon (OMG - we have to wait til 2010 - UGH!) and the $33million made on the opening day alone, you will be seeing/hearing/breathing/biting/dreaming/ Twilight for a long time to come.