Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Twilight" Hit's the Big Screen

By Nichole Giles

We’ll, it’s finally here. The movie event we’ve all been waiting for. Tickets for some of the midnight showings were sold out months in advance, and theaters ran the movie continually for a full twenty-four hours after that. Or so I’ve heard.

Personally, I got in on a lucky deal. Some neighbors of mine bought out the 10:00 am showing of Twilight at a small local theater, and my sister-in-law called to invite me. We had to pay for our tickets, but we paid at the door and got great seats. And I have to be honest, since I’m getting old, 10:00 am was much more appealing to me than midnight. It meant I had to check my oldest two kids out of school—because I couldn’t go see it without them. But honestly, I’ve been dying to see this movie since before the release of Stephenie Meyer’s final book in the series, Breaking Dawn.

Did it live up to expectations? I think it depends on who you ask. According to my fifteen-year old neighbor, Alison, “It was the best movie in the whole entire world and I’m going to see it again as soon as I can.”

But then, if you ask my fifteen-year old son—who LOVED the books—“It was so boring! What did they do with all the action?” My twelve-year old daughter—who hasn’t read the books because they’re so long and look too intimidating to a girl who isn’t big on reading—thought it was a great movie. But then, she didn’t have huge expectations going into the theater.

Personally, I fall somewhere between the starry-eyed-Edward-loving teen girl and the cynical disappointment of the action-expecting boy. Here’s my take:

Like all books turned movies, the Twilight storyline suffered. For some reason, the screenwriters chose to change the sequence of events a bit. They introduced Jacob before Edward, which shook things up for me. The fact that she met Edward first and already had questions about him when she met Jacob was symbolic in the book—at least in my mind. But the way they did it worked out okay, except that they also chose to change the story Jacob tells Bella at the beach in La Push. It felt like Jacob had a bigger role in this portion of the saga than he was meant for. Still, given what’s coming in the next movie, it works out. Now, I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, but there are two things bothering me. First and most importantly, I’d like to know who was in charge of hair? What is up with the vampire men all having big hair? The women looked great. Bella, Rosalie, Alice and Esme all looked very much the way I’d pictured them in my head (which says a lot considering that’s hard for a movie director to do!) But the hair on the guys seemed like some kind of enormous nest of…backcombed-hair-sprayed helmets. Whose idea was that anyway? And second, it felt like a lot of the tension was cut out of the movie. I understand that they had to make the story fit into a two hour time slot, but I think that by cutting out so many of the important scenes between Edward and Bella—and for that matter, Bella and Charlie—the movie audience misses out on important tense emotions that help move the story toward the climax. Then, when the climax did come, for some reason the special effects were glossed over and the torture / fight scene was over in about two blinks. (Which is why my son was so grossly disappointed.) And all we could say was, “Come on, Hollywood. You can do better than that!”

But here’s the thing. Even after all that—the bad hair, cutting and rearranging of scenes, and the far too short fight—the movie was so awesome that by that evening, I was already dying to see it again.
Really, people. How could you think I didn’t love it? I did. Of course I did! But being an adult, and a writer at that, I have to take an objective look. If I don’t look objectively at other books being made into movies, how will I know what mistakes to avoid when I get a movie deal for one of mine?

The bottom line is, if you’re wondering if it’s worth your eight dollars and two hours to go see the Hollywood version of Twilight, my opinion is, yes. Absolutely. It isn’t as good as the book—that really isn’t possible, as we should all know by now—know that going in, and you’ll love it.

Twilight the movie gets four diamonds on my rating scale. Woo hoo. And when the fuss dies down, I’m grabbing a girlfriend and going to see it again.


The Petersen's said...

I totally agree with you. I am ready to see it again too!

Nichole Giles said...

Awesome! Let's go together. This time, without the kids!

Thanks for commenting!


Heather B. Moore said...

My daughter loved the movie and said it was the best movie in the world. I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed it too :) I did miss some of that tension and several things that I liked in the book that were missing in the movie. Oh well.