Amid a gaggle of giggling teens I went to see Twilightyesterday. Every time Edward (Robert Pattinson) came on screen the giggling and sighs increased. But there were also younger kids and moms present to round out the audience. The were all giggling when they came in the theater and squealing when they left. The moms were smiling…. I think they liked it.
Book vs. Movie
Walking out of the theater I chatted with three teen girls and asked if they had read the book and if the film lived up to the book, in their opinion. Two of the girls said “yes” and one girl, aged 15, said, “No way, but the movie was good.” The other two girls looked at her and said, “Really?” as if they didn’t agree. But the one girl seemed to be their leader and they squealed and ran off.
Then in the elevator to the parking lot I asked this young boy and his dad if they had just seen Twilight. He broke into a big grin and said, “Yes. But the book was better,” “Really? How old are you?” “I’m 10 and I have read all the books. The movie was good but the book was better. The books are always better.”
OK, I read the book by Stephenie Meyer, and I liked it but 2/3 of the way through I got bored. I liked the movie way more than the book because it never lagged.
I am happy to say that director Catherine Hardwicke has created a fascinating universe for this Gothic romance about a teen, Bella, who falls in love with Edward, a 100+ year old vampire. Bella is 17 and new to the school, having moved to Forks, WA from Phoenix to live with her dad when her mom remarries. She notices the ethereal looking Edward and his siblings the first day of school; they don’t blend with the others, but neither does Bella, the new girl.
Bella and Edward are immediately attracted to one another. Over a few days, Bella finds out about an Indian legend that points to the fact that Edward and his (foster) family are vampires.
The film tells a story of unrequited love between Bella and Edward but it is much more than this. It is about choices, free will, and unconditional love. In last year’s TV series Moonlight (that I really liked and was very sorry when CBS cancelled it) we met a vampire who had chosen to be good, and to do good. Here, Edward’s family members have chosen to be “vegetarian”, that is, they would live on animal blood rather than human blood. Some of them struggle more than others, but they want to be good as well. When Bella is threatened by bloodthirsty vampires, they try to protect her… and this is all I can say without giving away the plot.
This is director Catherine Hardwicke’s fourth movie about adolescent girls (see www.imdb.com to see the others, including The Nativity Story). Here she deals with adolescent issues such as not belonging, being on the outside looking in, children of divorce and how a kid can manage, sacrificial love between parents and children, and unconditional love. The film goes further by dealing with free will, choices and considering the consequences before acting – but the film doesn’t preach. It stays true to its art: it tells a story through sight and sound. It is up to us to figure out what the movie means to us.
The film is populated by characters of diverse ethnic backgrounds and they get along. There are bullies among them though, psychological predators, vampires in their own right. Twilight invites viewers to enter with their moral imaginations and think about life.
What I really liked about the film was the staging, the cinematography, the visual Gothic atmosphere and universe that the filmmakers created, the music. I love Hardwicke’s imagination. I must admit, though, that Dr. Cullen looked like he had on too much makeup. When all the books came out, I didn’t really care for the still photos. The film, of course, brings the characters to life; I’ll take the film over the photos.
There is much benevolence in this film, benevolence for young people, and this makes me think, that like Harry Potter, Twilight is the first in a line of sequels.