Friday, November 28, 2008

Twilight: The Movie

Every so often there appears a teen-trend that becomes so wide-spread that it infuses itself into mainstream culture. These trends are not necessarily high-quality, but something in them is so compelling that it moves past the screaming 13-18 year old set into my quiet circle of 25-32 year olds.

The books are easy to get obsessed with- even though I'm well out of my teens, I can clearly remember the feelings that Stephanie Meyers espouses in the series- each furtive glance, accidental touch and over-analyzed moment is a bit like being transported back to your biggest high school crush; where in the end you get the guy-- and he's a vampire (spoiler alert). Even though they're far from literary works of art... or even good books... they're a fun way to spend a few weeks.

So it's easy to see why, after spending 3 (I haven't borrowed the 4th yet) books debating the pros and cons of vampire over werewolf, it's tempting to go see the film adaptation of these books, with their scrumptious sounding creatures dazzling us with their beyond human good looks and deep insights into our souls. If reading about Edward and Bella sitting next to each other in Science class, the air between them fraught with sexual tension and heavy breathing is enough to get my hardened heart beating a little faster, then seeing it on screen could only add to the mistique, right?


Twilight, the movie has none of the pizazz of the books, though it brings at least 30x the comedy factor. Elisa, Sabrina, Brianna, Kajal and myself walked into the film with all the giggly, girly, vamipre-lovin' mojo you could imagine. We had popcorn, candy and soda. We had had embarrassingly long discussions about whether or not Bella was a step backwards for feminism, the virtues of Edward over Jake and speculation about the role of Mormanism in the books (see Brianna's genius essay on the lack of sex in the Twilight series). We thought we were as prepared as any self respecting 16 year old to moon over the hot vampires and relive our youths. Little did we know that the Twilight movie thwarted us all...

First... the good.

Kristen Stewart is very good as Bella. She trips and falls with ease. She takes herself a bit too seriously, but in the same way she does in the book. She's pretty but looks like she doesn't realize it.

Ashley Greene is adorable as Alice Cullen. She's cute, giggly and just the right amount odd. She's surprisingly kick ass in the end scene where she breaks James' neck in one smooth movement. She's a decent actress.

Kellan Lutz is hot. Emmet is supposed to be hot. Good job Kellan.

Cam Gigandet is hot and delightfully evil. He was a great James.

Billy Burke did a great job as Bella's slightly awkward father, Charlie. The laughs during those scenes were purposeful and a really true-to-life example of a father and daughter who aren't used to each other yet, and don't quite know how to relate to each other.

Taylor Lautner. I am really looking forward to seeing more of him in the next movie. Total werewolf hotness- he might be enough to get people to switch over from the vampire-love.

Jose Zuniga as Mr. Molina. I got way too much of a kick out of the goofy-teacher scenes. Probably because I'm a goofy teacher.

Secondly... the bad.

Robert Pattinson looked like he was constipated nearly the whole time. This wouldn't have been so bad if he wasn't the romantic lead. Each time he moved his face, it was quite obvious that he used his extensive training from Joey Tribbiani's "Smell the Fart" school of acting. Sometimes he looked like he wanted to puke. Every serious moment in this movie made us burst out into quite undignified laughter because he looked so... uncomfortably... intense.

Jackson Rathbone as Jasper. Jasper is supposed to be brooding, dark, and about to suck everyone's blood due to his severe lack of the self control that the Cullen's take immense pride in. Jackson played him with crazy wacky hair and a shell shocked expression. He walked around the whole movie looking like he just shoved his finger in a live outlet. Every time the camera panned to him, the five of us tried unsuccessfully to stifle our giggles.

So, the good may seem to outweigh the bad, but the bad is much worse than I could possibly explain in this blog. However, the bad is hiliarous, making the movie a fun way to spend a few hours, even if it doesn't have the emotional pull of the books. Girls, do you have anything to add that I forgot?

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