Let's get one thing clear ... If you haven't seen Twilight and you want to go in fresh ... STOP! Key plot points, the ending, spoilers and differences between the book and film will be discussed. It's HE (Jeff Bayer) and SHE (Morrow McLaughlin). Both read the first book (though McLaughlin read all four ... in three days).
She said: In lieu of crucial dialogue, the movie instead chose to fumble its way through uninspired montages, bland visuals, and then what I could only describe as random flotsam--scenes that seem to go nowhere and serve no purpose. Mix that in with Bella's inconsistent narration, which felt like it had been stapled on--probably because no one on board actually knows how to tell an engaging story--and what you have is a painfully average teenage-angst flick juxtaposed against the fun creativity and lovely romance of Stephenie Meyer's novel.
Romeo and Juliet without the passion and without the exchanges between the characters, is a waste of everyone's time. It morphs into: "You're cute, I'm cute, let's hang out," and that is Hollywood's most frequent and most reprehensible crime against love stories. It might have been forgivable had the movie opted instead for really well done action sequences, but only one action sequence even stands out, and it comes so late in the film, it feels more like serendipity than actual purpose and skill.
He said: Sigh. I didn't want to be stuck defending this movie. Simply put, I liked it a little more than you did. There are no stakes (not the kind you drive into the heart) ... the passionate kind of stakes. The all or nothing, life is terrible without you kind of thing. In other words, the one part of the movie that had to click (the romance) doesn't. As far as the narration goes ... It's kind of like flashbacks. Any time a film uses them, I get nervous. I don't need a flashback from something that happened 20 minutes ago ... I'll remember that. And narration should be a last resort of bad story telling, unless it serves a key purpose (like Fight Club).
More importantly, and since my memory is poor, and you could recite the first Harry Potter book word for word, let's instead focus on some of the changed the film adaptation makes. Am I wrong here, or in the book, Edward doesn't tell Bella about how to change over into a vampire, it's Alice right? What's your worst specific change?
She said: You're right, Alice is the one who brings it up. Edward elaborates on it, but reluctantly. As for the worst change, in my mind, it's that the dialogue was too weak to allow Pattinson to pull off Edward's timelessness. He's a hundred freakin' years old. Bella was, at the very least, a pale shadow of the character in the book, but the only effort they took with Edward was finding someone attractive with good hair. I didn't buy it.
This wasn't a quality movie, and you tend to be so much pickier than I am. What, exactly, did you find in favor of the film?
He said: It's the little things that Twilight does better than most films. The gruff dad who has no idea how to interact with his daughter works perfectly. Actually, my most annoying change could be that Bella doesn't cook for her dad. It's a subtle bonding experience that works really well in the book. We get to see that she's got a big heart and doesn't expect much in return. The other thing that works is the awkward high school moments. I'm not talking about Edward staring at her, I'm talking about the side characters that try to create an authentic feel. Plus, I'm a sucker for films shot in the Northwest. I haven't been here long, but the look (blue/grey gloom) worked for me.
Who didn't fit the most for you? The doctor perhaps? Or maybe James?
She said: I agree with your appraisal of the tough dad. Charlie and Alice were perfectly chosen and developed, but, obviously, they were barely in the film. I also agree that Bella should've cooked for her dad; it was exactly how they bonded and the beginning of their growing relationship.
Besides Alice, the entire vampire clan didn't fit. Rosalie was a "true" blond and she was supposed to be the ultimate form of female beauty--a blond Angelina Jolie. The rest of the clan wasn't given enough to do--and you're right, the doctor was the most distracting choice possible. I'm hoping the rest of the films in the series do more with the Cullen clan, because that is a HUGE part of the story and it's part of what made the book so incredibly enjoyable for me.
If I had written "Twilight," I would be homicidal at that adaptation. This may be why I'm having such a strong adverse reaction to it: someday I would like to be a published author. If someone threw a pile of money at me and then made my work into something that mediocre, I would feel like I sold out for no reason.
If you put yourself in the author's position, are you as forgiving of the movie's huge flaws? Also, and I'd love an answer to this question: why are so many people swooning over this movie when it doesn't do any justice to the basic story?
He said: Are you talking about the 40-year-olds who sat in front of us, giggling like school girls every time Edward came on screen? They swoon because it's their only chance to get closer to these characters. They are blinded with love for Edward and Bella and they don't need to know why, because they already read the book and have made up their mind. It's a chance to reminisce more so than be entertained. The first time I saw Star Wars: The Phantom Menace I was that way. Blind with happiness that I could see this world once again.
More importantly, what are your thoughts about the future films (without giving away key plot points)? Because of this film, I don't think I will be reading the rest of the books. I will probably see the next movie (I see almost everything), but I have no excitement at all.
She said: Aren't I supposed to be less angry and more insightful? I'm the girl, here. Shouldn't you be more testosterony? Are we gender-bending in this He Said/She Said, or what? You're putting me to shame.
I have high hopes for the rest of the books, because the story is so much fun. The problem, as I see it, is they have some pretty major obstacles to overcome:
1. They need a new director. The movie was a runaway train. 2. They need to recast some of the Cullens. That family is so powerful and distinct in the books. 3. They need to get rid of the chimpanzees who wrote the screenplay and find a writer who is actually literate.
Sequels can go either way: they can improve upon the original film (Spiderman 2, X-Men 2, Terminator 2) or they can end up being an embarrassing suck-fest of epic proportions (almost every other sequel). Since they are already starting with a disadvantage when the first movie is so painfully diluted, they're going to have to put more effort into the subsequent stories.