Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Happens at Twilight?

The following is not so much a review of the Twilight series as it is a quick synopsis of what I thought of them. I tried really hard not to put any spoilers in this post, so I’m leaving pretty much all details out, so feel free to read on, even if you didn’t read the books, I give nothing vital away. In fact, I don’t give anything at all away, I kept it very basic and superficial to avoid all spoilers. I’m also including at the end my thoughts on the movie Twilight.

I knew as soon as I heard of the Twilight books that I would be reading them. If you don’t know by now, let it be known that I am a fan of all things vampire. My love affair with vampires began many many years ago when I became obsessed with the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles, and then grew exponentially with the 8 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I have read serious, scary and funny vampire books, including some chick lit/paranormal romance books that surprised me with their wit and charm. I have watched everything from the Blade movies, to the Underworld series to The Lost Boys and True Blood. If there are vampires or other mythical creatures involved, odds are, I’m intrigued by it.

So, of course, I knew I’d be reading the Twilight books. But I kept putting it off. Mostly because…well, have you SEEN the size of these books? I don’t exactly have a ton of free reading time these days, so tackling a book of that size was off putting, to say the least.

But, eventually, a few months ago, I gave in. Watching the previews for New Moon, the second movie in the series, I knew I could no longer put off reading these books if I wanted to read them before the secrets were all spoiled for me.

So I dug in. And I got sucked in almost immediately.

I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure what it was about the books that sucked me in, because for the most part, while reading Twilight, I was mostly just annoyed with both Edward and Bella. But I was also curious. Curious as to where it was all going to lead. Curious about this vampire world Stephanie Meyer created that was so different and unique from all the other vampire worlds we’re accustomed to. I had to know more.

By New Moon I was beyond irritated with Edward, and just about ready to slap Bella upside the head. I was being reminded why I stopped reading chick lit a while back, the weak and hopeless/helpless female protagonists annoy the inner feminist in me to no end. But then there was Jacob. And I very quickly became a member of Team Jacob. He was just the right amount of comic relief and carefree attitude to loosen up the book a bit, and suck me right back in.

As I dug into Eclipse, I became completely absorbed. Finally Bella stopped frustrating me, and I even began to take a liking to Edward. And Jacob? Oh how I adored him. Now, more than ever I NEEDED to know what would happen.

With Breaking Dawn it was cemented for me. Without a doubt, the best book of the series, it tied together all the loose ends, made sense of everything and told a story like no other. In this book I finally “got” Edward, finally enjoyed Bella and yes, still remained on Team Jacob.

And then with the ending? Fully satisfying. And yet, leaving me wanting more. Just like a good book should do.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the movie “Twilight”. Having finished the book, I decided to pick up a blue ray copy of the movie and watch it one night. Now, as a disclaimer I suppose I should say that I am that person that is ALWAYS disappointed in a “book to movie” movie. It’s just never as good as the book. BUT, knowing this, I went into the movie with an open mind, expecting the disappointment of missing scenes or changes from the book. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was such a poorly made movie.

Let me explain. In terms of cinematography (and remember I watched this in blue ray on my HDTV), I thought the film was beautiful. Simply gorgeous. But that’s where the good review ends for me. I thought it was choppy, incomplete, jumping from scene to scene in a completely disconnected and unnatural manner. I felt like I was watching a cliff’s note version of the cliff’s notes of the book. For the first 45 minutes of the movie there was no story line, there were just “scenes”. It was like a “clip show” of moments from a season of a television series. The characters are here, and now they are here, and now they are there, but let’s not tell the viewers how they got from point A to point B, let’s just put them there. I’ve heard complaints that there is no chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in this movie, but I can’t blame it on the actors. There was no story line to allow them to build chemistry. They were just pushed together and the audience was expected to just KNOW there was a chemistry and a “something” there. If you hadn’t read the book, how could you possibly understand the depth of their connection? You couldn’t. I will say that having read the book, it was nice to see some of the images come to life on screen, so I enjoyed the movie from that perspective, but it was not a “story” it was just images. I thought the movie got a little better towards the end, but I sure hope they do a better job with New Moon.

And there you go…my thoughts on both the books and the movie.


Pamela said...

My take was very much like yours. I haven't read the last one yet. I put off even reading them because I'm NOT a vampire fan. But it wasn't as bad as I expected.

But I had a lot of questions that coudn't be answered about the way some things happened.

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