Saturday, November 22, 2008


For those of you who have no interest whatsoever in Twilight you may want to skip over this entry right now. I wont be offended. It is exclusively a review of the movie and the series in general.

On the other hand, if you have read Stephenie Meyers vampiric tale and want to hear what I thought of the movie, read on.

Many of you who have read the books and talked to me about them know just how much 'dislike' I hold for the novels which now sit gathering (hopefully) centuries of dust on my shelf. I use the term 'dislike' because 'hate' is no where near a strong enough word and I want to remain civil. Stephenie Meyer is a human being and I do respect her for being an LDS mom cranking out novels that make it on the best seller list.

If you are here to read an objective review that leaves all my personal feeling aside, you should leave now and remind yourself what kind of person I am. If you share my feelings concerning these books and want to hear yet another rant about how they couldn't be worse, stick around. You wont be disappointed. I warn you though, this ones a doozey.

So it begins.

I admit that I went into this film fully expecting to hate myself afterwords thinking that I would come out actually liking it to some extent. But I profess myself pleasantly let down by the movies lack of quality. It's a strange feeling.

However, lets start off on a positive note shall we?

1. From the very start, you here Bellas voice quoting the starting lines of the book. That in itself is enough to make me cringe and want to run from the theater and go see Quantum of Solace. But the beginning scene was very well done. You see a deer peacefully drinking from a stream. It is suddenly startled by some unseen hunter. A chase begins. You can here that the deer is being followed but its not until the very end that you see it's humans. The cinematography was striking and effective. Thankfully this held true for most of the movie. The blips of scenes that involved nothing but camera artistry were nice reprieves. The fight scene at the end was pretty good. The best scene overall in the film was the 'baseball' scene but I could be biased because they played Supermassive Black Hole by Muse.

2. The high school students-they were all played pretty well. Again, it was nice to get away from Edward and Bella every once in a while. I'll explain why later. The acting wasn't perfect, but it wasn't forced. It was amusing and fun. 'Jessica' and 'Mike' did particularly good jobs (I'm not going to list actor and actress names).

3. Charlie Swan-By far the best character in the movie. Billy Burke did and excellent job playing his part of the awkward single dad who doesn't know how to look after a teenage daughter. (Note that Charlie Swan is also Gary Matheson from season 2 of 24..a scary man who beats his wife and young daughter). Chief of police Swan is also very good looking in an older man kind of way. A better older man way than Edward anyway.

4. In a voice mail, Juli asked me if this movie was like Eragon and The Seeker, both of which had trouble following the book. My answer to this is no. It followed the book down to almost every detail. Even the exact same lines. This isn't necessarily a good thing since I'm not a huge fan of the book anyway. I do have to say that out of the quartet, Twilight is the one I am most likely to read again. Well, maybe New moon as well. I don't know. Knowing how they end, I am so torn.

5. The music was also okay. It kind of sounded like the music from The Fountain (which you all know I LOVE!). Bellas lullaby may have been a little too simplistic for my taste (I know that sounds petty but I picture Edward being a musical genius and this song did not portray that). There was a Muse song and that's always a major point winner. The other songs chosen were pretty good as well. Meyer really needs to get into Keane if she hasn't already. They would have been perfect.

6. Hmmm...what else was good? I got nothin'. I'd have to watch it again and I don't know if I could stand it. Maybe only if I were watching it with someone who also disliked the books.

THE BAD...which sadly outweighs the good.

1. And the number one worst thing in the movie was? (drum roll...........) THE ACTING! It's hard enough acting out a book with sketchy plot in the first place. Throw in the fact that both the lead roles are practically novices (I guess a handful of films each is not enough practice) and you have...blah. I couldn't even come up with a good descriptive word. This will probably be my longest rant so bear with me. I'm even going to start a new paragraph for your sake.

So many things go under the bad acting category that we are going to letter them.

a).The acting was too forced-Kirsti mentioned that seemingly 'bad acting', the kind you might find in independent films, is popular right now. She is right. It seemed that this is what they were going for except it wasn't consistent and it was horribly fake 'bad acting'. If they werent trying to 'act badly' on purpose then that's all the worse. Or maybe its better to be horrible at something rather than being horrible at trying to be horrible. Dr. Horrible? Sorry. It was like having to watch and hear two people shlucking grapes for two hours (sorry Elise). Hard to take.

b). Along with the whole forced thing, Edward often said lines that made him seem mentally challenged. I don't just mean incoherent. I mean it sounded like he was, for lack of a better word (forgive me) slow. I wish I could remember the exact line. I'm sure he was going for incoherent with rage (as in the restaurant scene after he saves Bella from a 'rapist') or desire (as in the scenes where he is close to Bella and trying to keep his distance). But it never comes off that way. In one scene, Bella says that sometimes when he talks it's like he's from another time. Maybe she meant the time of neanderthals.

c). Often, Bella seemed too scared. This is just me being picky. Bella is supposed to be unafraid of Edward and the Cullens. Even when she discovers that they are vampires. She is intimidated but never afraid. She even says this in the film and yet there are times she looks like she could pee her pants. I don't blame her. Wetting yourself over vampires is the normal reaction. Maybe if she had, Edward would have been like, "Ew." and told her it would never worked. Then we could have been spared.

d). Many of the scenes between Bella and Edward were WAY too awkward. I don't mean that they were too sensual (this happened only once and it is equally awkward in the book). I mean they seem so uncomfortable talking to each other. Especially at first which is somewhat acceptable. Most people are a little weird at first meetings. But this never changes as the movie goes on. Most of the problem stems from too much stuttering. Like they forgot their lines. stuttering is a normal human thing. So it's okay for Bella (except that because she cant act it comes out painfully forced). But for Edward, stuttering was never a problem. They sound like skipping records. Skipping records of people shlucking grapes...or chewing with their mouths open. *shudder*.

There was also too much random sighing. Like the doors in Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy only not contented.

e). Delivery was all off. Flow and timing in the lines was just weird. Sometimes it was like the actors were counting in their heads the seconds before it was time to deliver their lines ("okay, he just said his line. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi...crap what was my line? I should stutter to cover myself..."). Added to this was the really weird unnatural facial expressions. They never seemed to match the situation. There were a few times that Edwards smile was well placed. But that was the only facial expression besides his bored sort of arrogance at the beginning that worked with the timing. Edward, in general, looked constantly in pain. I know that Bellas scent is supposed to awake an indescribable hunger inside him. But once he gets used to it I'd think that he could look less like he bad menstrual cramps. Okay, bad comparison. Sorry.

f). Kristin Stewart just cant act.

I think that's all I got on the acting front. Sadly the majority of the poor acting credit is given to Edward and Bella. Though Jasper seemed to have only one facial expression...Sick. Like he's trying really hard not to vomit at the bad acting. Poor guy.

2. Marty Hook once said that the whole world is tension and release (I'm sure he got that from somewhere). I would have to agree with this statement. We all know that the key to a good love story (maybe not real love in life but books and movies) is properly planned tension and release. Meyer has a pretty good handle on this in her books (though Breaking Dawn ends like a deflating balloon. Not the POP! You want it to be. Not even the scattered flying around with the funny flatulent noises. It was a quick annoying squeaky passing of tension. This kind where you pinch the opening of the balloon. She built up all this tension and then...nothing. But not just any nothing. A really annoying nothing.). The movie does a horrible job at timing the tension and release properly. The kiss scene is a little too drawn out. You know how you can build the tension by holding the distance between the two peoples lips for a little while? That hesitation can be very effective. But Edward takes approximately 5 minutes to close the gap. Maybe he was counting again...("15 Mississippi, 16 Mississippi, 17 Mississippi...oh, wait! I was supposed to kiss her 7 seconds ago! Oh well, better start over again to be safe. One Mississippi..."). After that it gets a tad racy. But not too bad. Anyway long story short, the tension and release police officer (i.e. the director) was on a coffee break during those scenes eating a doughnut-filled with 'lets-not-tell-the-kids-they-cant-act' flavored jelly.

3. Not enough Cullens-this is just me being petty again. I love Emmit and we get far too little of him in this movie. Not enough Alice as well. And not enough screen time for papa Cullen who is by far the most beautiful of the bunch.

4. I know I said earlier that having a Muse song earned the movie points. Half of the points are taken away because of the one they chose. I love Supermassive Black Hole. It's on my top 10 list of favorite songs. But there are so many other songs that would fit better and could be better placed. I'm not sure who was in charge of that decision, but I don't like it. Call me critical. You all know I am way too judgmental of other peoples work. At least I admit it.

5. The 'drinking Bellas blood to save her from vampire venom' scene-I cant really explain why this bothered me so much. I think Kirsti put it a good way. It lacked finesse. I always pictured is more...elegant, not ravenous. I suppose the way it's done in the film makes some sense. Edward is drawn to Bellas blood in frightening ways. And it is a thirst that he longs to quench. So maybe it should look like a man dying of thirst in a desert guzzling water and not wanting to stop...It just seemed off. And it kind of grossed me out...hmm that makes sense too. He is drinking blood. I don't know. This is another scene I would have to make myself sit through to understand better.

(okay, I had to go to work and come back to finish thins I am trying hard to remember all the things that bothered me. They are slipping away like the remnants of a dream...or more like a nightmare. I think most of it was just the usual 'there are so many things wrong with this story' complaints that I feel about the books.)

Um, lets see...Oh! I figured out at the end who played Bellas mom. It's non other than 24's longest lasting super-evil villain! No, not Sherry...Nina Meyers! Man, just think if Jack Bauer was Bellas dad. That would have made the movie a whole lot better. Anyway, I just thought it was interesting that we have two 24 alumni in this movie.

I should probably mention James. I forgot to in the Good section. He did a good job at being creepy. He delivered his lines well and had perfect facial expressions. He kind of looked like a younger version of Sabertooth from X-men.

Just a few other things about the books in general that were emphasized by the movie.

1. Edward says that he wanted to kill Bella the first time he saw her. Yeah. Thats a good start to the relationship. That definitely means you should be together.

2. The line 'your my personal brand of heroin'-the line was poorly delivered in the first place. Again with the bad timing. But more importantly...does that sound like a healthy relationship to you? People who have a love affair with their drug addictions never end up happy.

3. Edward sneaking into Bellas room to watch her sleep (and especially the way he describes it) it just creepy. Stalkerish. Also not healthy. Obsession is NEVER the answer.

4. Bella wanting to choose immortality-This is something I can finally agree with Edward on. Being immortal is not natural. You are supposed to get old and die. That is why I love Tuck Everlasting. In the end, the girl realizes this and gives up being with the boy she loves. Why wont Bella be smart and see that? Oh yeah, the whole 'thinking' thing. I'd think that Meyer, being a member of the LDS church, would favor living a mortal life. It's part of Gods plan. She doesn't have to put that in the book but I thought she would make that her theme in the end. Nope.

5. In the movie, the way Bella acts with Jacob is more natural. Theres no weird stuttering and sighing and she doesn't look scared. She looks content and happy around him. At one point (in the books) Jacob says "I was the natural course you life would have taken" or something like that. The key word here is "NATURAL". *Random, ill placed sigh of melancholy* Jacob is natural and real. If you want I have a whole rant on Jacob being the right choice. Call me and ask me about it. Even if you've heard it before, I love talking about it. Especially if you agree. There is no such thing as being Switzerland in this case people.

Alright, this post is far too long already. I hope it didn't bore you. And I do apologize if most of my comments seem petty. I'm just overly critical. Twilight fans (or former Twilight fans) go see the movie. I wont say that its worth your time and money. I am overly critical. I'm sure most of the world loves it. Maybe if I was team Edward and loved the books I would like the movie more. Who knows.

It's late and I need to get to bed. It's THANKSGIVIG BREAK!!! I am very excited. But now I feel like I need to see a good movie to make up for this one...Elise, I would love to see Quantum of Solace with you. Transporter 3 or Australia anyone?


Steven said...

Loved the schlucking grapes comment!

And thank you for validating my lack of desire to see the film. Now I can say I have a trusted source who says not to go see it.

Jeanne, the mom and grandmom said...

Very amusing post - you made me laugh several times.....

Peeser said...

For what it's worth, while I love schlucking grapes, I never claimed that it was entertaining for anyone but the schlucker- I agree- I think it would be horrible to watch/hear people doing that for ten minutes, let alone two hours... HOwever, since the schlucking of grapes is typically done amidst the conversation of the meal and not amidst silence, I will continue to schluck my grapes and say nuts to all who criticize me for doing so! :)

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