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'Twilight' Countdown: L.A. Times gives 'Twilight' movie a big thumbs up

Twilight_2It's here! Today is the big day.

Yes, midnight is technically Friday. But the point is most of you are mere hours away from seeing "Twilight."

I've seen the goods, and I can assure you, the movie delivers whether or not you've read Stephenie Meyer's vampire book.

But don't take my word for it. Here's what our pro, L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan, had to say:

As romance fans know, love needs obstacles to hold our interest, and in this egalitarian age, obstacles are hard to come by. The Oscar-winning "Ghost" of several years back had one lover living, the other deceased, and "Twilight’s" notion that he’s undead and she’s not is just as good, maybe better. Connecting this to the extreme emotions of the young teenage world, where every moment is a crisis and the chaste romance of passionate soulmates is more attractive than dubious sexual shenanigans, was the masterstroke that created a phenomenon.

It’s very much to the credit of director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg that "Twilight" the movie really gets this. This film succeeds, likely unreservedly for teens and in a classic guilty pleasure kind of way for adults, because it treats high school emotions with unwavering, uncompromising seriousness. Much as you may not want to, you have to acknowledge what’s been accomplished here.

He even gives extra props to the actors playing Bella and Edward:

Hardwicke also was intrumental in casting Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison as the star-crossed Bella and Edward, and those choices were excellent, not only because they’re skilled performers but because they, too, threw themselves into their parts as if they were Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor doing "Camille" for George Cukor.

Read the entire review here.

And our Countdown isn't over just yet! Tomorrow I'll have outtakes and exclusive art from Gina McIntyre's interviews with Catherine Hardwicke and Kristen Stewart. Her big "Twilight" feature ran in today's paper. Check it out!

I'll also be posting the best of the fan reviews here. So come back, and don't forget to send in your thoughts. I can't wait to read them.

Seeing "Twilight" on Thursday at midnight? E-mail me your review at denise.martin@latimes.com and I'll post a roundup first thing Friday morning. I want to hear all your thoughts!

And catch up on past Countdown interviews: Robert Pattinson (Parts 1, 2 and 3), Kristen Stewart, author Stephenie Meyer, director Catherine Hardwicke (Parts 1 and 2), screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, Peter Facinelli, Edi Gathegi and Taylor Lautner.

-- Denise Martin

Complete "Twilight" Countdown coverage
Complete "Twilight" coverage on Hero Complex

Photo: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (81)

i am whating in line with my laptop to keep me busy im sooooooooo exited and i wont it to be 12:00 already im to exited to what any longer!!!!!!!!

one of the worst remakes of a book ive ever seen. :( i lowered my expectations because obviously movies cant be as good as the book it was made from, but i didnt realize that it would be worse then i expected. kristen stewart was an alright bella, except most of the time she just looked frightened. rob wasn't a very good edward either, although im sure ill get some angry comments on what i think because people think hes good looking. whenever the camera would cut to a picture of him, his expression was so hilarious the whole crowd laughed. i went with a bunch of twilight fans and they all said there was no chemistry between the two, you couldnt see the passion that they had for each other. although the movie was 2 hours long, it didnt seem enough in order to portray the depth of their love, it just went from one scene to the next really fast. the only part that was almost dead on was emment, who was perfect. although it wasnt the worst movie ive ever seen, i wouldnt go see it again. im sadly disappointed

I am an enormous fan of the Twilight saga, so of course I went to the midnight premiere! However, I am sad to say that the film adaptation of the book that I love so dearly, was not at all what I had built up in my mind to be the "be all, end all" film of my generation. First of all the film seemed rushed, by merely adding a half hour to the 2 hr movie the director could have had much better results. Very important scenes from the book were left out and scenes were added in that made no since, scenes which were never in the book (the police station, the tree climbing, etc.). The scene in which Edward and Bella have their first kiss was totally wrong! Hello! That did not happen in her room and definitely didn't happen while she wore panties and a t-shirt! Anyone remember the sweat suite? Plus, the scene where Edward takes Bella to his favorite clearing in the woods was bass-ackwards! The fight scene with James was awful! Ugh! I am so disappointed in the director, the writers, and most of all Stephanie Meyers for letting her masterpiece be butchered on screen. However, the movie had it's strong points. The casting was superb (except for Rosalie), and some scenes (Baseball scene, cafeteria, Edward's car save at school, and the shopping/saving/first date scenes) were absolutely spot on! The movie was good, but having read all the books recently the film just can't compare to the world in which Stephanie Meyers created through her exquisite writing. She is one of the best, if not the best fantasy writer of our time and in my personal opinion she should have been more involved with the film.

IT WAS AMAZING! the soundtrack fit perfectly and the whole cast was amazing especially Robert and Kirsten! they did an awesome....it wasnt what i expected it WAS BETTER! AND the baseball scene awesome job! i cant wait to see again tonight actually since its 3am and im just getting home for the midnight movie! ILL KEEP GOING TO SEE IT! LOVED IT THANKS FOR MAKING IT!

Just got home from the midnight premeire of "Twilight". It wasn't bad but it was nothing like the book. So much was left from the movie that was important in the book. To me, the movie was like a high school kid having to write a paragraph long summary on a book. You don't get all the details. It was kind of awkward to watch as well. Pattinson and Stewart made loveable characters, Edward and Bella, seem like they were ready to rip each others clothes off than being in love. Don't get me wrong, Pattinson is a pretty good Edward but a little more work and he would of been great. All the actors seemed awkward on screen. My opinion, Twilight is better off as a book. This is coming from a person who has read all four books atleast 3 times.

Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! It was a tad short for my taste, however there was more passion and heat in the movie. I was not expecting that, if you did not get out tonight PLEASE get out there this weekend. I am going to see it again now that I am over the anticipation, and I can focus on more than just Edward.
Alice was so cute, Rose did an excellent job and she completely lived upto her part. Jazz was adorable, even though "he always looks like he is in pain". Emmet well he is Emmet very HOT.
Kristen, did a great job in her role, as did Rob. Most of it matched my own images of how it would be some was a little more than I imagined, and some was a bit less. It as a perfect combination. Plan to go to see it twice, the first time you're in awe.
I even felt a little somethng for Jake, and James was slight appealing in a sick sort of way. Veronica was hot, she is actually an AMAZING actress I really enjoyed her parts.

I better shut up now, but do see the movie, I am getting ready to reread the first book again, now that I watched the movie I can relieve it one more time! Ahhh..

~Team Edward

I have been a fan of the Twilight saga for quite some time now and I have to disagree with these reviews..almost whole-heartedly. I had such high expectations for it, but I left the theatre more puzzled and disappointed than anything else. Kristen Stewart delivered a flat, monotonic performance and never emoted a sense of true passion, love, or longing for Edward. Not once did I feel that if Edward left her, she would crumble. Instead, I felt that if he left, she would flicker her eyes and say something along the lines of, "Oh Edward...why?" and then press her lips together--a very stoic reaction for someone who is completely, truly, madly in love. Rob Pattinson, on the other hand, I think performed excellently and portrayed what he needed to. (The same can be said for the rest of the Cullen family who acted their parts to match the novel). Not only was the protagonist's acting mediocre, but the production of the film was comical at best. The first half of the movie had the audience in laughter, which did nothing more but break my heart knowing what it could have been. The Twilight saga is so captivating because the relationship between Edward and Bella is so incredibly passionate and real and true and none of that was seen in the film. Basically, the film was a choppy visual of the first 2 pages of every chapter in Twilight (with the exception of the meadow scene and the fight scene). The scenes they chose were questionable (why did Charlie and Bella go to the cafe every night for no reason?). The script was sketchy; it repeated lines and ideas that became redundant. Work definitely needs to be done for the second movie, New Moon.

I can only hope that people who have not read the series do not see the movie. If someone sees the movie before divulging into the book, they will not even want to touch the novel. There is no reason to read the book when the visual is nothing more than a pretty face (no offense to Pattinson, not only was his acting exquisite but his face is beautiful and perfect for Edward Cullen). I just wish that the relationship between Edward and Bella was transferred from paper to screen and so far I am sadly disappointed. Hopefully, New Moon will work to fix these errors so people can fall in love with Edward and Bella through another media.

I disagree with all of the above. I thought it was unbelievably bad in every possible way and I want my money back! The acting was painful to watch. The script didn't come close to developing the romance. And, on top of it all, it was a visual nightmare. I know Edward is supposed to be pale. But why does it have to be so annoyingly obvious that he's wearing more make-up than Bella? And, for heavens sake, you'd think in Hollywood they could have found actors to play the parts of the jaw-droppingly beautiful vampires! But instead the vampires were just as flawed as the humans...the only distinction being the gargantuan amounts of make-up they wore. And I'm not saying I'm a promotor of the unhealthy trend in Hollywood to set unrealistic standards of beauty for all of mainstream America. I'm just saying that when you go to see a movie, you want it to be believable. The vampires were supposed to be stunning. Instead they were second-rate actors weighed down by copious amounts of eyeliner.

Don't even get me started on the flying scenes......or the music...or the lack of any character development whatsoever. Ugh. My eyes have never rolled so much in my whole life. I can't believe I gave up a good night's rest for this!!!

I went to the midnight showing not quite sure what to expect. I knew the movie could not be exactly like the book because there is far too much detail. However, I left the movie satisfied. Some scenes were not verbatim from the book, but the important aspects of the book were there. I thought the writer and director did an excellent job getting the key elements into the book in a sort amount of time. I thought the fight scene was great! Some expressions the actors made did come off a bit on the funny side when they were quite serious, but to portray the intensity that was constantly going on would be hard to do. I would imagine if I did see someone that looked so intense all the time, I may fine some humor in it. My friend and I are actually going to go again tonight to see the movie for a second time. I thought the cast was great! And I can't wait to watch it again. So I give the movie two thumbs up... not exactly like the book but wonderful in its own way. I also loved Robert Pattinson's songs.
It was greatt!

I really, really wanted this movie to be successful. I think most people will go and see it as a result of much hype. It goes without saying that the books are incredible. Yes. I recently became aware of them shortly after the release of Breaking Dawn and have read them several times.

At any rate, I think I will have to see the film again. Of course I was thinking, "this wasn't in the book, that didn't happen here....." But overall it was an above-average teenage film. If I hadn't read the books and known of Edward and Bella's intense connection I would have thought the film versions were slightly off. I would not have believed they loved each other as they said. Their performances left me confused. I thought the remaining Cullen family delivered to a tee. Some scenes appeared in the film that weren't in the book, but they could have been, they fit. I think mostly Edward was just awkward, and both he and Bella didn't smile enough. The climax was done pretty well. And Bella didn't need to make out with Edward in her panties. Stephenie didn't write tasteless material.

Twilight was GREAT! Everyone has differences of opinions of course, but it’s a MOVIE – they are never like the books. Casting was great! The slight changes that were made gave the movie a more serial and modern feel. Really for people who are saying things like this “Kristen Stewart delivered a flat, monotonic performance and never emoted a sense of true passion, love, or longing for Edward. Not once did I feel that if Edward left her, she would crumble.” It’s as if they didn’t even read the book(S) or are just lacking true passion, love and emotions in their own lives. If you have not logged onto Stephannie Meyer website to read what should have been Midnight Sun (DRAFT), you should so, maybe then you can get a better fell of what Edward is all about, since Twilight didn’t seem to you enough passion.

I hope to see New Moon in theaters soon, followed by Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

I thought this movie is incredible, but sadly, it was hard to understand if you did not read the book. Most parts were really good and the romance was incredible, but they probably could've done better. It did not thoroughly describe what was going on half of the time. One thing that I thought of was that the soundtrack could have been chosen a little bit better, because some of the songs didn't entirely fit the scenes. I also found most of the movie changed or out of order, which got me disappointed, but I still enjoyed this movie and am planning on seeing it again.

The midnight premiere was great tho, and there was just more excitement. The movie was actually funnier than described in the book, but it might just be because a majority of the people there have read the full Twilight Saga.

Well, I agree that you should definitely see this movie because it is a very incredible, cute romance movie. It was so worth the wait, and I'm definitely buying this one once it comes out on DVD. :]

ok.. i havent seen the movie.. but dammit i want people to stop being so picky.. its a almost 400 page book.. that wud have been one heck of a long movie.. people need to realize movies re not as good as books... thats kinda why some people read and dont watch tv. but thats beside the poin.. im gonna watch it tonight.. with a n open mind. ive been waiting for it for a long trime.. and i know everyone did a good job.. people just have tobe open minded.. forget the book while your watching the movie a ppreciate it..

i hope they make new moon.. i ont kare wat you guys say..

I fell into the Twilight Saga this summer, when I read all four books back to back three times before I put them down. I am a reader, and because of that knew I had to lower my expectations for any movie adaptation of the series. I am older than the target audience. I am not troubled by the casting choices. I think that putting big name stars into these roles would have been a mistake. What I was most disappointed in was perhaps Hardwicke's direction and the actual adaptation. There was no reason for the various love montages sans dialogue. The dialogue in the book is how the characters are developed on the page, but in the movie the characters are barely introduced-- not just Edward and Bella, but the entire Cullen family. I would have appreciated more development of the relationship between Edward and Bella as the movie doesn't do a fair job of showing the passing of time. I've read that the screewriter has not read ahead in the series in an attempt to keep the character development pure. I hope that more work is done to make New Moon a purer adaptation as it goes into production. If I had not read these books, I would be whole-heartedly disappointed, as it is, I plan on seeing the movie once more in the theater after the fervor has died down a little.

Was it SUPPOSED to be funny? I'm still trying to figure out if it was a joke or not. I mean, were they just teasing us and are gonna release the real one soon?

I fell in love with these books and had very high expectations for the movie. I left confused and let down. I think that the chosen actors all played their parts well, and for me, there wasn't one thing majorly wrong with the move... It was lots of small to moderate things that in the end added up to the dissapointment. For example, the music - I pictured lots of really moving orchestrated pieces during some of the Bella/Edward scenes, and instead was left with a mix techno beat in the background. Also, the makeup was way overdone in the first few scenes and really made me laugh when Edward first walked into the cafeteria (I feel like I should have gasped like Bella). The overly 90210-like high school friends were way overboard and made me roll my eyes numerous times; etc. etc. Lots of little hicups to me, made this not what it could have been.

Overall, I do still want to see this again just to see if I can pull more out of it. The books were a really huge emotional experience for me, and I just hope that the next few movies improve. We do need to remember that this was low-budget film and that in the grand scheme of things, the first book is really the most basic and for me, my least favorite. For all of us dissapointed Twilight fans out there - just remember that we still have the pictures we drew in our heads while reading the books.... nothing can really spoil that!

Well hello everyone.
I have not seen this movie yet and right now I'm not exactly sure if i want to see it now. I am IN LOVE with the series and i am quite afraid i might be EXTREMELY disappointed. Either that or i will be very happy. No one said that it was okay so it must be one or the other. I love Rob's looks and i really LOVE Edward Cullen. Will i be disappointed? I will have to view this differently now. I can see this as JUST a movie and pretend that there was never a book written so i can not compare it to the book which will be excruciatingly hard to do, or i can pick out every little thing that didn't happen or that is replaced and slaughter the movie in my mind.
Lets see.. enjoy or depict everything wrong?
It's hard to choose.
I am expecting this to be an AMAZING production and if it is not i will aghast.
I will update again on what i think :]
or perhaps i can see it in both views for people who read the book and for the people who didnt.

I hope it is exquisite.

Well I must say that I was unsure of how I felt at first when the movie ended... I understand that they can not make the book and movie completely alike so I appreciate that they for the most part followed the main points of the book. Of course we all have favorite parts that were probably left out at some point but the film had a budget and should be happy they for the most part stuck to the story (unlike the Golden Compass ick...) I went with a bunch of friends and one who had never read the book and he said he thought it was real good (Mind you we are in our mid twenties and were worried it would be real teen bop like) And I drilled him with questions of how he portrayed Bellas and Edwards love and other emotions the film envoked and I am happy to say that I was thrilled when his response, for the most part, matched mine of the book. So yeah the movie doesnt follow the book word for word or scene for scene but it still envokes the right strong emotions of Bella and Edward... I am taking my husband to see it today since he isn't a big reader but I still want him to feel some of what I feel for the Twilight characters...

Catherine Hardwicke and Melissa Rosenberg did a good job in directing and adapting Twilight, and the cast members were great with their roles. But as expected, the movie won't (and can't) satisfy the fans. And for those who are unfortunate enough to read at least the first book, I'm sad to say that the movie has trouble standing up on its own.

Twilight is a low-budget film, and it shows. The first half of the movie feels incohesive and monotonous as cut scenes are sewn together in order to quickly move through the storyline. The emotions that Bella and Edward were supposed to portray are lost through this process. The second half, on the other hand, is much better as the scenes are limited to the significant events of the story (i.e. baseball, the fight, and prom). I believe if the scenes transitioned more fluidly, the movie would be more understandable and enjoyable. If New Moon is adapted, I hope Melissa and Stephenie can work together in condensing the scenes and maintaining the fluidity that is in the book.

From a fan's point-of-view, I personally enjoyed the movie for what it is, and have no regrets in spending the $11 and missing sleep. I hope Twilight generates enough revenue to give the franchise a second chance and a bigger budget for New Moon.

I went to go see the Twilight movie at midnight of course since i'm a huge fan and at first i was really disapointed and the acting at the beginning of the movie was terrible. However when i stopped worrying about all the things they left out and added I actually enjoyed the movie. They got the basic idea right and I respect the fact that they weren't going to be able to make it exactly like the book. Rob and Kristens acting got way better as the movie went on and some of the casting was perfect. Charlie, was very good not how I pictured him but very good. I thought Jessica was absolutely perfect. Alice was a really good choice but she was hardly in it at all Rosalie ended up having a bigger part than her. Rosalie and Emmet were both perfect as well and I was satisfied with Esme and Carlisle. I did not like Jasper at all. Also Angela is supposed to like Ben not Eric so that was annoying. The other thing I didn't like was that Bella was scared of Edward SHE ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE SCARED. They also never said that they loved eachother and the one kissing scene was too much for only the first movie, i mean come on Bella did not need to be in her underwear and it's not supposed to last very long. All those things aside though and the movie was good, by the end it had the Twilight feel and Kristen and Rob delivered. The scene in the hospital after James is killed was especially good, Kristen did a good job of giving me the same panicking feeling as I get when I read that part of Twilight and if New Moon is made I think she might do a better job than she did in Twilight, unfortunately I thnk most of the problems were due to directing I think Catherine might have gotten the actors a little off track because she's the one who's supposed to say to do something different and there were a couple parts where I was really mad at the actors and then i realized maybe that's what they were told to do.

i loved it.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. I do think that Twilight suffers from the same problem that Harry Potter deals with. Too much info and not enough time to tell it. Rob and Kristen did an excellent job. I don't know where the complaints of Kristen being wooden comes from, I found her very expressive. And I feel for Rob, the mobbing is going to get worse for him. He was absolutely adorable. The actors playing Charlie and Billy completely stole any scene they were in. It doesn't help that Rob and Kristen were clearly trying to convey that nervous-obsessive-new love-tension- energy that next to Charlie's calmer portrayal made them appear jumpy. The two affects I was looking forward to see was vampire baseball and the sparkle affect. Jasper's bits in the baseball game were cool to watch and Emmett reminds me of goofing around with my brothers. I was pleased with the sparkle affect, it was understated and believable and I thought Rob's looks were nicely enhanced. I was at a midnight showing so the theater was packed and feeling the energy coming from the audience made it interesting. You could feel the mental checklists going off as each story milestone was reached. And when it came time for their first kiss you could feel the entire audience breathlessly waiting, even leaning slightly at the agonizing slowness and anticipation. Being stuck in row three, he could have been kissing me. :P I will go back and see it at least once more, I've had my "checklist viewing" and will be able to just sit and enjoy the movie without worrying what they used and what they didn't.

If you are a true Twilight fan, DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. My bf and I walked out only an hour in. Words cannot describe the disappointment and sheer anger. No one was able to portray their character, they tried too hard, and ended up looking more awkwardly comical than anywhere near accurate. Trying to cover the terrible acting, they added horrible music and almost nothing but fake scenes. They spent more time trying to inaccurately develop character's like Eric Yorkie, instead of focusing on any development of Edward and Bella. There was so much hype about not just the movie in general, but of the chemistry between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, which to say the least... they significantly lacked. Every deep emotion that Stephenie Meyer worked so hard to animate in her novels, was destroyed and replaced with comedy. It is more than evident that the movie was only directed towards a young teen audience. Watching it reminded me of sitting in an over-crowded theater on a Friday night, waiting to see the newest teen spoof. You know, the ones that teens see only due to the lack of better option. If I had quite understood where they were taking this film, I never would have wasted my time, gas and ticket expenses. I have seen both of the main actors play far better roles, what happened?!

It's been a few hours sinse seeing the movie. It's a great rendition of the first book. Each actor/actress potrays their character very well. Some scenes from the book weren't there unfortnately. It's understandable. A CD of the book runs 12 hours. We know that every detail of the book couldn't be there. If anything, people will want to read or re-read the book to see what it's about and catch up with all of the moments from the book. It's not your typical vampire movie just like the Cullens aren't like the typical vampire family. Scenes from the book had to be omitted or changed. I'm going back to see it again tonight.

I am completely disappointed with this movie! It was nothing that was expected. I wasted time, sleep, and money for the crap that they called acting. The only thing you could say about it was that there were a few funny scenes. The acting was such a disappointment, it lacked so much more character and depth. The entire movie felt fake and rushed. They played the cheesiest effect music I have heard in a long time. The cullens were absolutely terrible they were supposed to be breathtakingly beautiful. This movie just felt like watching a cheap low budget teen flick. The characters have given me nightmares of what my beloved book was. I am trying to forget the movie and just remember the book, because the movie ruins it. The movie was just plain cheesy! Why couldn't warner Bros have made it?? I wish they would remake it because it was just bad. I haven't seen a movie that I considered bad in a looong time but this movie deserves the criticism. I think Stephanie Meyer should have waited until a better company could have made her book into a better quality movie. It seems like she just wanted to see it become a movie and didn't care that much. I don't even know how Stephanie is happy with the mess they made of her book.
Yes the truth is that books are always better than movies, but hollywood has made many onscreen adaptations of books that have turned out good. Just do yourself a favor and stick to the books because the movie is sure to disappoint!
I say we petition for a remake. lol

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