Tuesday, December 2, 2008
WORTH-IT (for the book lovers): (Catherine Hardwicke) To be fair, I have to admit that this review is biased because I am a Twilighter. But don't take that as me thinking the movie was awesome. I did love having my obsession illustrated on film, but I also struggled with its potential to stand alone. The first half was choppy and shallow, jumping from scene to scene quickly as to cover up the poorly avoided overacting, or maybe the incredibly awkward writing that made co-stars Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart look like facial expressions are their forte. It is hard though, to take such an emotionally gratifying book and put the same underlying intensity on screen without the baggage of droning narration. (or not, i.e. No Country for Old Men, Diving Bell, There Will Be Blood, anything Jane Austen...) But where they missed the mark was in the sacrificed depth in scene for quantity of book-correlated events. It pleased me as a reader to see everything addressed. (I can now finish out the series with less of an imagination). But anyone out of the novel-loop is strained, robbed of emotionally-inevitable sentimentality or the ability to identify with and believe in the characters. And, as a film-fanatic, I recognized just that. It lacked a unifying motif and instead offered unbelievable exchanges in dialogue that took us on a roller coaster of happenstance, taking the reality out of Author Stephenie Meyer's pages and making it a ridiculous on-screen display of love-struck teenage fantasy. This does nothing in the defense of those of us who (at 24+) have jumped on the Teen Vamp Train. Bottom line: Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) needs a new face, Rosalie (Nikki Reed) should have been played by a real blonde, Elizabeth Reaser (as Esme) will never do it for me after ruining "Ava/Rebecca" on Grey's Anatomy, and Bella Swan's Stewart might want to heed those Disney kids talent, and substitute a little genuine emotion for her constant efforts to be the miffed, disturbed, troubled, etc. young actress. No harm done from Pattinson; he mastered Edward's velvety voice, bears the strong jaw well, and stole my heart right there alongside every other swooning 14-year-old. How could it have been better? Either screen-writer, Melissa Rosenberg, or Hardwicke should decide who this movie is for: the fanatics or the masses? If for the fanatics, it should have gone deeper, lasted longer and resisted watering it down for someone less vamp-crazed. Edward's skin should have radiated crystals! Bella should have been more careful! Charlie should have had more lines! If for the masses, skip the high school jibe, simplify the plot to play up emotion, eradicate narration, and give us some real vampire violence. (That one fight scene is awesome!) Hopefully take 2 finds a director-elect that can round out the shortcomings, find a few replacements and truly scare us into believing Bella's real-life nightmare. Obviously, I can't recommend this to non-Twilighters yet . But if you don the label, enjoy putting faces to names (except avoid Jacob's). I know nothing can deter you from finishing the series or seeing the next film. We're just happy to know what Edward really looks like!