Twilight

I've read all the Twilight books. I don't consider myself an avid fan, but I have read them all, and I believe there are some pretty entertaining bits to be found within them. I also have often said that, as opposed to the norm, the Twilight series would probably work better as a film series than a book series. Tonight, I have taken a step further into believing that very theory.

After Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves away from her mom in the big city of Phoenix, Arizona to the small town of Forks, Washington with her dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), she doesn't think anything will ever get better for her. She's clumsy, and she hates the cold and the rain, so of course Forks, a town laden with constant rain and chill, would be ideal for her, right? But then she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a mysterious young man at her high school who seems to loath the very sight of her upon their first meeting. But as they start to know each other, they start to get closer. And when Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) entices her curiosity over the true nature of the Cullens, Bella starts on a journey to discover the truth about the family... that they're vampires (though they feed off animals instead). But this cannot stop the true love. Oh no! It must prevail... even after a dangerous Tracker vampire by the name of James (Cam Gigandet) shows up and will stop at nothing to get Bella all to himself.

     So first let me talk about the movie as an adaptation. I've been reading a lot of things about how this movie is so different from the book and how you shouldn't go in to this film expecting it to be anything like the reading experience. Did we see the same film? Seriously, the movie was pretty dead on with the book. Sure, there were a few new scenes, a couple cut scenes, and other things like that, but every major scene was there, every major character was there, and basically every important element of the book was counted for. There was even dialogue taken straight from the book, and a voice-over narration very much like Bella's first-person narration in the book (in fact, some of it is directly from her narration in the book).

     The casting was pretty much perfect, specifically the Cullen family, even more specifically Alice and Emmett. They were pretty much dead on with my imagination. The others worked really well, too. The only complaints I have in casting were Bella and Jacob, and only moreso the latter. And it's not because the acting was bad. In fact, I thought Taylor Lautner acted it just fine. But in the book, Jacob was this massive hulk of a guy, nearly twice Bella's size (something more like Emmett). And even if he were thin in the first book and got huge later, I have no idea how they're going to pull that off with this guy in the next couple films. But besides his looks, he was good. And my Bella complaint was moreso on how she acted the character, which is probably more of a director complaint than an actress complaint. The Bella in the book is much funnier, wittier, and sharp. The Bella in the movie is so freakin serious and overdramatic all the time. She so totally doesn't become whiny, serious, and overdramatic until book two. Oh, and one more complaint when it came to characters... what the heck was up with Carlisle's super-thick white makeup upon his introduction? It got better later, but damn... that was some hardcore thickness right there.

     To get into a few more of the movie workings, I had a few issues with logistics in things they did in changing/adding stuff. First of all, they made it the middle of March at the beginning of the movie, as opposed to the book when I believe it's closer to January. This doesn't seem like that big of a deal... until you get to the parking lot wreck scene when the whole place is icy. Granted, I don't live in Washington, but will the ground really be covered in ice in March/April? Another thing is that Edward is so overprotective of Bella, mostly because of how clumsy she is. So why on Earth would he take her to the top of an incredibly tall tree and then let her loose to climb it on her own (much less Bella actually be willing to do so)? That just seemed incredibly out of character for the both of them.

     On some other positive sides, there was some good chemistry between characters, though the two characters I felt had the most chemistry aren't the two most would think. I felt that the relationship between Bella and her father Charlie was done very well. When a specific thing happens towards the end of the movie, I actually felt really bad, much like I did when I read it in the book. There was also some good chemistry between Bella and Jacob, and I really did like Jacob in the film despite his size. And they even added more of him in, which was smart. In the first book, he had a really bit role, and then becomes this huge character come the second installment. But they upped his role in the first film, which, again, I really liked. Finally, of course, there was the good chemistry between Bella and Edward. It was pretty tense most of the time, as Edward gets upset a lot in the first book. Though there wasn't nearly as much humor between the two of them in the film as there was in the book (I mean, it was there... just not as much. They focused more on the serious stuff in the film).

     But one of the biggest flaws of the film is also one of the biggest flaws of the books: Edward and Bella's relationship is purely superficial. And what people aren't seeming to grasp, including the uber-fans of the book, is this flaw. In the movie, Edward and Bella argue a lot before suddenly falling head-over-heels for each other for no apparent reason, and then will do anything for each other. Well, sorry to break this to you, but the books are exactly the same. If you take away every superficial quality about Edward (and even Jacob brings this up in one of the books), there'd be absolutely no reason that Bella would love him like she did. The relationship comes from nothing, is based on nothing, and stays hollow for the entirety of the series. And that was emphasized even further within this movie, even to the chagrin of the fans who thought it otherwise. So, yet again, the movie keeps to the heart of the books just fine.

     The film is no masterpiece by any means, just like the book isn't a new classic (no matter how much the fan base of 15-year-old girls thinks it is). Both the books and the films, once they make the others, will simmer down with time. But I figure that if they stick to it like they're doing now, by staying close to the book, yet altering it just slightly so that it fits good for a movie, and taking out all the bad writing and annoying little descriptions of Edward's godly breath and godly this and that (though they did almost allude to all of that during one part of the movie), then I really do believe that the movie series will be much better than the book series. I anticipate the next film now, especially since I hated that book the most in the series... I can't wait to see if they actually make it good. After all, they did a pretty good job with this one (and the following score is more based on entertainment value and adaptation abilities than actual quality of film... plus, when it comes to the Twilight series, you aren't in it for quality to begin with anyway, so it's all good).

Reviewed by: Nick