If you had asked me, say, two years ago, “Tristi, will there ever come a day when you will be excited to go see a movie about vampires and werewolves?” I would say to you, “As if!” And yet, last Saturday evening, there I was, standing in line with my good friends to enter the theater to see “Twilight.” Amazing, the little twists and turns of fate.
I wasn’t sure what to expect or to hope for. I was intrigued by the books because they are very different from anything I’ve ever read. My visiting teaching companion told me I had to read them, and she lent me the first one. I went into it with apprehension. To my great surprise, I couldn’t put the thing down.
Now with the release of the movie, I had to wonder, did the filmmakers accurately portray the book? How is this going to translate onto the big screen? I was pleasantly surprised.
A quick run-down of the plot, just in case you’re one of the ten people on the planet who haven’t heard of the book series by Stephenie Meyer:
Bella Swan is a seventeen-year-old girl who goes to live with her father in his home of Forks, Washington, which gets the most rainfall of any place in the United States. As a high school student, she struggles to find her classes and to establish her place, mostly because she feels uncomfortable in her own skin. She is drawn toward five teenagers who seem to be just perfect—they’re gorgeous, they have beautiful clothes, they’re graceful. One of them in particular calls out to her. His name is Edward, and he’s just plain irresistible. However, when he’s assigned to be Bella’s lab partner, he can’t stand to be around her.
We learn that he’s a vampire, and her blood smells delicious to him. He has to make a choice—either stay entirely away from her, or learn to live with the smell. You see, he feeds on animals rather than humans, making him a “vegetarian” vampire, and he doesn’t want to hurt Bella. The more time he spends with her, the more used to her scent he becomes, and soon they are in love, linked by cosmic forces as well as the normal laws of attraction.
Their romance is somewhat shadowed by the disapproval of some of the members of Edward’s family, who feel that Bella’s involvement with them will be dangerous. It turns out to be the truth—a rival group of vampires catch a whiff of Bella and want her for themselves. One in particular, James, decides to make Bella his personal quest, and hunts her down across the country, when Edward and his family must battle him to the death in order to protect Bella.
I really liked the final battle scene, which was pulled off so much better than it was in the book. It was a little gruesome … although, if you’re expecting a movie about vampires to not be gruesome, that’s a pretty unrealistic expectation. That said, it wasn’t as gruesome as it could have been. The filmmakers essentially showed us enough to tell us the story, without making it gory. In addition, while Meyer took a lot of flak for the sensuality in the book, the movie had hardly any.
My only three complaints with the film are these: first, Edward’s make-up could have been done more realistically. He was pale and his lips were red, but there were moments when he looked like he’d dunked his face in flour and then smeared on his mommy’s lipstick. Second, in the scene where he tells Bella that he’s a vampire, he won’t hold still and she won’t listen to him. He’s bouncing around on tree branches like Tigger, and she’s interrupting him every five seconds to tell him she’s not afraid. That whole scene could have been redone, in my opinion. Third, I didn’t care for the casting of Jacob. He’s too baby-faced, and his teeth were too white. Kid looked like a toothpaste commercial. I would like to have seen them use an actor who had a little more machismo—I mean, he’s a wolf, for crying out loud. I can’t picture that actor becoming a wolf.
All that said, I enjoyed the film. It wasn’t as hokey as I worried it would be, and I was glad to note that they set things up for the next movie. I’ll look forward to seeing that one as well.
Oh, and keep your eyes out for a cameo by Stephenie Meyer.
This movie is rated PG-13 for violence.
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