Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight Movie - The Review

The long anticipate Twilight movie is finally in theaters and after seeing it twice (dork) I feel like I can give a pretty detailed review. Summit, Catherine, Stephanie, if you are reading this - take note: I can help you make this a better movie with just a few simple changes. Call me.

The first time I saw the movie was at the midnight showing. Our local theater had four showings at midnight. We ended up with a group of 6 women and a whole theater full of teenage girls. I have to say that I was nervous all day to see the movie. I was worried it would not live up to my expectations and I was nervous that the actors would not be able to capture the overall feeling of the book. I could tell that most of the people in the theater felt the same way. There was a lot of nervous laughter and giggling which turned to shrieks by the second showing.

After the show my initial reaction was "it was soooo rushed!" I enjoyed the movie but was on the fence as to whether or not I really liked it. It reminded me of the new version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly. I love like watching the new version, the music is gorgeous, I enjoy the different, gritty feel of the movie as opposed to the perfect standard (BBC with Colin Firth) but it misses a lot of my favorite moments like the friendship between Jane and Elizabeth and it has one of the worst lines in movie adaptation history - "well then, your hands are cold," and a very obvious wig on Keira. Gag.

Then, I saw Twilight again with 23 women and a theater full of teenage girls. And now I love it. Is it cheesy at times? Campy? Yes. Are the special effects laughable? Yes. Does it cut out a lot of the book? Of course. Is it difficult to adapt a beloved book to film - Yes (notable exceptions: BBC Pride and Prejudice, but they had 5 hours!, Stardust, The Princess Bride and The Color Purple).

Here's what I loved:

I loved the music. Buy the soundtrack. I love the scenery, the Cullen's home and Bella's house.

I want to move to Oregon - even with the rain. I loved the biology scene when Edward first smells Bella's scent. I love the kiss, though it is much steamier than the book and Bella was not in her undies in the book.

I love the prom - the kiss on the neck? . . . sigh. I loved Jacob even though his hair is obviously a wig. I hope he is drinking protein shakes and taking growth hormones to prepare him for New Moon!

I love Edward. Edward. Edward. Holy crap, Rob Pattinson is a beautiful man when he showers (don't get me started about what he looks like in his interviews). Does he wear more make-up than me in the film? Yes. Does it matter? No. I though Rob did a pretty amazing job with the role of Edward with a few glaring exceptions.

Rob's performance is the most impressive in the quiet scenes and the close-ups. In several interviews, Rob mentions that the scene in Port Angeles was the hardest for him to film. Trying to exit a Volvo in his poofy hair, pea coat and eyeliner and then deliver a glare that would scare five grown men, was evidently difficult to achieve. I thought he actually nailed that scene. He looked something like this:

Where Rob stumbled was when I could see the Rob slip through into the Edward. His look when he is sucking the venom out of Bella's arm sent the whole theater into giggles. I also did not like the constipated expression he had on his face during the scene where the bad vamps show up on the baseball field. Edward is supposed to be really strong and there were times when Rob looks frail - even in little things like leaning his hands against the rocks on either side of Bella. I can totally see how he pulled his groin the first time he tried to lift Kristen Stewart and I'm actually looking forward to seeing that outtake on the DVD. Overall though, I give him a big thumbs up. He dazzled me, and that's important.

Note to Summit. The whole glitter thing was just lame-o (if it is true that Lucas films people were responsible for that, they should be spanked) and please make Rob shave his chest. Note to Rob: push ups (though I understand he lost about 30 pounds prior to filming by working out and not eating. Lean proteins Rob - go talk to Cam).

After the first showing, I was disappointed with Kristen Stewart. She looks like Bella to me, but I felt like she was so emotionless for half of the movie and I never felt like she was in love with Edward. The eye fluttering and the stammering got on my nerves after a while and I could not remember her ever smiling! I found this shot of her on set which CLEARLY shows that she is capable of looking happy.

Then, I watched the movie again and focused more on her performance. I can tell that she feels like Bella is never really comfortable around Edward. I thought her performance much more nuanced the second time. That being said, there are certain lines that she delivered like she was bored - most notably the line in the woods where she says "I feel like you are going to disappear." I felt like Edward got to the point where he was lighthearted about their blossoming relationship (the jumping on her truck scene and in the parking lot with the sunglasses), but Bella never really got there.

She came the closest in the scene where Edward honks his horn for her and she almost smiles, and in Edward's bedroom. I guess overall, she just focused much more on the impossibility of their relationship and I wanted to see a bit more of that small period of time between Port Angeles and the baseball scene where Bella is growing more confident in the possibility of a relationship with him.

The supporting cast is great! I loved Eric, Jessica, Angela and Mike. They added some wonderful humor. I loved Charlie - I thought their father/daughter relationship was perfectly portrayed and he had some of the best scenes. I know some have complained about Bella not cooking for him, but I didn't miss it and they needed the diner scenes to move the bad vamps story along.

Speaking of the bad vamps - loved them too. The added scenes fit well and really added to the feel of the movie. When they cast the movie, I was not sure about Laurent, but he was great. James wears a seriously lame wig, but his chest more than makes up for it. Great lines for the bad vamps.

The Cullens: Alice is adorable and really perfect for her role. I loved her pointed little foot as she pitched in the baseball scene. Emmett and Esme are also perfect and I really liked the cooking scene where Emmett waves a knife at her. Dr Cullen got the worst of the white face paint - someone put it on with a trowel.

Jasper is unintentionally hysterical. He has one expression the entire movie - wide bugged eyes and pursed lips - here are some tame examples that did not make the final cut.

Julie said he looked like Beaker.

Nola thought he looked more like Edward Scissorhands.

I just thought he looked silly. Except in the baseball scene (my favorite scene in the movie). In that scene he had some sweet baseball bat tricks. I wish that scene were longer.

Rosalie was my least favorite casting choice so I was anxious to see if she could pull it off with make-up and wardrobe. Sadly, not so much. I thought she did a great job with the acting portion, but she just does not fit the book's description of Rosalie at all. The actual actress, Nikki Reed is beautiful in real life and clearly, not overweight.

But, make her a blond,

and stick her next to tiny size 0 Kristen Stewart and she looks pudgy and kind of forgettable. It's kind of like how Catherine Zeta-Jones looked heavy in Chicago only because she was dancing next to skeletal twig person Renee.

Overall I thought they did a pretty good job bringing the book to film. Do I want to see it again? Yes. Will I buy the DVD? Of course.

However, I think with a few small changes and an additional 10 minutes they would have had a much better film. Special effects aside, I missed the banter about Edward's immortality and Bella's mortality - "breakfast time for the human, watch me hunt" and Edward tasting the pizza as examples. But most of all, I missed the meadow. I wanted to see that first time when she touches his hand and he runs his nose along her jaw and listens to her heart. The biggest failure of the film to me was the lack of the slow, tense build-up in Edward and Bella's relationship. I missed the tentativeness of them admitting their attraction to each other. The film was not convincing in showing them going from I hate you on the field trip to I love you in the forest.It just did not do justice to the romance in the book. Imagine the film with just a few more minutes added to the forest scene where Bella would reach out and touch his face for the first time before telling him she loves him and he would do the same and then say something about how he does not know if he is strong enough to be close to her. Sigh again.

So, should you see it? Absolutely. But see it twice before you decide how you feel.

PS - This review made me laugh (language warning)


  1. I agree with most of what you said except for ONE thing and from what I've read the majority agrees...The first Bio class scene when Edward first smells her, oh I wanted to CRY!!! This ruined the next 20 minutes of the movie for me!! It was all WRONG!!!!! it sent everyone into fits of laughter and then the second time I saw it, I was trying to be good and not to laugh and then this girl next to me said "he looks constipated" and I lost it!!! Catherine! if you are reading this...what were you THINKING??? it wasnt so much Rob overacting in that scene...though rather than having him look like he was going to vomit, i would have followed the book and had him sit as far back as he could and grip the edge of the table...less is more Catherine...but the worst part was the camera angles zeroing in on his eyes, that looked like a bad soap opera! That scene made Rob appear to be a bad actor...which he certainly is NOT and made both him and Edward's character look like a complete joke.

  2. I agree with the above comment completely. I can't believe how detailed you got in the review of this movie. It's only a movie.
    HOLY CRAP! It was interesting to read your thoughts though.

  3. great review. you do make me want to see the movie. i was laughing out loud at the "rob shave your chest" bit - so bryan hasn't cured you of that hairless chest thing yet?

  4. It's ONLY a movie?! Do you know how many times I read that book?!
    You know, the biology scene just did not bother me that much. I think his reaction got the point across (especially to those who had not read the books since they do not ever mention in the movie that vamps do not have to breathe) and I did not really notice the close-up of his eyes. Maybe I was just to stunned by how hot he looked to care.

  5. Great review, Stacey! I think I agree on most points. I saw it again tonight, and it is DEFINITELY better the 2nd imagined expectations. I agree their relationship grew a little too fast in the movie...they needed at least another date or something!

  6. trust me. you don't want to live in oregon. it rains waaaay too much. seriously.

    i think rob did an excellent job as edward. edward is so opposite of how he is in real life. i think it was amazing to watch him work...and fun too.

    catherine is an AWESOME director with a wonderful sense of energy.

    i guess i will have to go watch the movie once the lines die down.