Saturday, November 22, 2008
Twilight movie review
I saw Twilight yesterday. I went with my brother, and believe it or not, he was not the only male in the audience. There was a pretty even mix of men and women of all ages there, though there was a good concentration of high-pitched shrieks coming from up front when the title of the movie appeared on the screen.
Here's the thing. This review is not likely to change anyone's mind about whether to see the movie or not. If you've already decided to go, it's probably for reasons other than that you think it's definitely going to be amazing. If you're determined not to, it's probably not because you think it will be bad. Book-to-movie films are funny like that - they come with a built-in fan base that is going to see the movie no matter what, and everyone else pretty much couldn't care less.
So I can be completely forthcoming and say that I fall into the former category: I knew I was going to see the movie for sure. However, I will also say that after seeing the trailers, I was fully prepared for it to suck mightily.
I am happy to report, then, that the movie far exceeded my expectations. It was not a terrible movie. But it was also not a great one. It was somewhere in between, tipped to the side of being a net positive probably because I wanted to like it so much. It's one of those "mood" movies - the kind of film that you could sit down and watch with one group of friends and take it completely seriously, but if you sit down another time in a different setting, it could turn into a homemade session of MST3K - in other words, a train wreck. Dear Frankie is kind of like that, as are Penelope and Van Helsing (which, strangely, is also about vampires). I was in the mood last night, so I liked it.
Speaking of mood, that's something that the movie definitely got right. Watching the movie made me feel just as shivery and angsty as reading the books did.
That's not to say there weren't some really stupid parts. Some of the things from the book that I knew would be difficult to transfer to the big screen didn't work out as well as I had hoped. For example, Edward's sparkly-ness and the way vampires fight with each other - I admire the director's efforts, but one was underwhelming and the other was kind of ridiculous.
The acting was sub-par at times, too, especially from Bella. Certain scenes just oozed with awkwardness. Granted, that particular kind of scene - mostly in the first few tentative conversations between Edward and Bella - is also awkward in real life, but surely there's a way to keep that uncomfortable insecurity from infecting the audience, too. I think my palms were sweating just from watching it.
Where the acting was surprisingly good, though, was among Bella's circle of human friends. Jessica especially was spot on. There was also more humor in the film than I expected, particularly with Charlie.
As for the vampire family, all I have to say is that Jasper is Edward Scissorhands reincarnated, except without the scissor hands.
Sadly, I was majorly disappointed with Jacob. I kind of hope they get a different actor for New Moon, if they end up making that movie. He was just too hunky for me. And his teeth were so shiny and white! Also, I don't think he's even Native American. Not that that's the absolute most important thing, but still. (Although I shouldn't talk because I'm a Mormon, and Mormons are the ones who made Johnny Lingo, a movie in which white guys pretend to be Polynesians.)
The thing about my viewing experience that I was most upset with, though, had nothing to do with Twilight, but with one of the previews before the movie. Whichever peon over at the distribution company decided that The Unborn was a good match for Twilight's audience needs to be fired. The trailer was horrific and I am afraid by proxy for all those unsuspecting tween girls who will be subjected to its terror when they go see Twilight. Don't worry, a nastygram to...someone (the theater manager? Summit Entertainment?) will be sent forthwith.
In case any of you are wondering about my brother the extra, and how that all turned out: yes, Steven appears in the movie. Would you know it was him if you weren't already aware he was in the movie? Probably not. In fact, the scene in which he's most prominent is also the scene where nobody will notice him at all, because he happens to be passing by Edward when Edward walks into the cafeteria for the first time. Oh well.
Steven is in the background of two other scenes, one of which happens to be available for free download on iTunes. I took a screenshot for you so you can see his moment of glory:
Admit it - insignificant though it is, you wish it was you.
Has anyone else seen the movie yet? What did you think of it? Feel free to defend it passionately or tear it apart. You won't hurt my feelings either way, I promise.