'Twilight' Countdown: Fans sound off on 'Twilight'
We're here! Today's the day! By now, many of you have already crossed the finish line. Congrats!
But was it worth the wait? Some of you have already posted your reviews in the comments of previous "Twilight Countdown" posts. Others e-mailed their ideas directly to me.
In general, the consensus is that the movie gets the job done and many of you thought director Catherine Hardwicke and stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson delivered the goods. You're even planning second and third trips to the theater already. A minor complaint among the majority of you is the movie's special effects, which are of the low-budget variety. (However, nearly all of you qualified that, keeping in mind that Hardwicke was working with $40 million -- not a large sum by Hollywood movie standards.)
Of course, some of you were let down. With expectations so high, it's not surprising.
So what did I think? I should say I enjoyed reading "Twilight," a guilty pleasure with equal parts breathless romance and suspense. I read through the whole thing the day I started it. After two screenings of the film, however, I ultimately felt that the movie deviated from the book in ways that made the story better. Less of a "guilty" pleasure. True, as some have complained, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg stripped much of Edward and Bella's back-and-forth moments of dialog. But I thought having shots of Pattinson looking anguished and Stewart looking like she craved him worked a lot better than having Edward tell Bella repeatedly about how torn he is about their relationship and her pushing back. Kristen Stewart's Bella, too, comes off as stronger, her feelings more grounded albeit obsessive. In Hardwicke's version, Forks is a little more diverse, a little grittier, and the love story more real and less sweepingly and conventionally romantic.I give it an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Here's a sampling of how the rest of the fans who wrote to me felt:
For some, like 14-year-old Marie from Norcross, Ga., the anticipation was overwhelming. She attended the midnight screening, "the moment of my life," and said her "heart wanted to explode as the movie started, and I couldn't even breathe." Needless to say, she was pleased.
Bailey from Houston, Texas, credited Pattinson for bringing "depth to Edward that went beyond good looks and chivalry. He has the ability to say so much without saying anything at all." Props go also to Stewart, but where are the Cullens? "I wish we could have seen more of the Cullens! One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Bella went home with Edward to meet his family."
Less enthusiastic was Darci in Iowa, who called the film a "mockery of the book I fell in love with!" "I think, perhaps, if the screenwriter would have been an obsessed fan (as I am), the movie would have been better. More like the book. You would have 'gotten' that Bella was selfless, brave, and more of a caretaker. You would have seen her as more of a mature intellectual."
Gaby was happy with a couple of reservations: "The one thing that really bothered me was Edward's reaction to Bella in the biology room; he isn't supposed to be so obvious about the smell thing and he acted repulsed by her. The other major thing that i noticed was that they never said they loved each other and i think that is pretty important."
Pac4eva15 said he -– "and every single one of his friends who saw it with him" -- hated it. "This movie is nothing compared to the book. I am an avid 18 year old fan who has read the Twilight series since the beginning and i am seriously disappointed. I sincerely regret waiting in line for 8 hours, hours which i won't be able to ever recover… The movie seems like another 'Epic Movie' only this time parodying 'Twilight.'" Ouch!
Twenty-one-year-old Alex took reviews that said Edward and Bella’s love develops too quickly to task: "I actually really ended up liking the fact that Edward and Bella's relationship felt very rushed, and I'll tell you why. To me, their relationship in the film felt much more wild. Their love is a force of nature; it's chaotic and rushed and sudden and it doesn't make sense at all. That's what makes it so wonderful."
But Peggy said the movie missed the point: "Listen, I love the Twilight books. True, they are not great literary works, C+ at best, but what made the books so popular was the story itself. It brought you back to a time when you got your first kiss, the first time you fell in love and the feeling that you couldn’t breathe or your day couldn’t start until you saw that one person; the love of your life. The Twilight movie totally failed to capture the essence of the book."
Caroline and her group of pals both liked and disliked the movie. On the plus side: "Best PG-13 make-out scene EVER. (Major squealing!) The sexual tension! The chemistry! The conflict, the passion and the terror! All the characters were excellently developed. We loved Charlie, Jessica and Jacob. Also, the Cullens were perfectly cast. Many major scenes were done really well....The music was fantastic and well placed throughout the movie."
Not so good was: "The general tone of the movie didn't quite match the book. Translating the book to the movie cost us the romance. All the little conversations and scenes where they develop their feelings for each other and the sexual tension (i.e.: hand tracing in the meadow) were not evident on the big screen. The meadow, as written, scene was non existent. THE MEADOW SCENE!"
Brianne couldn’t get over the dazzle –- and not in a good way: "It looked like someone just dumped a jar of glitter on him, not to mention it was hard to see his chest sparkle under all of the hair. He was meant to look as though he was made of marble. Marble is not hairy, my friends."
Robin from Woodland Park, Colo., liked it so much she's taking her kids to see the movie a second time. Her one quibble? "Some of the fast-moving scenes with Edward were a tiny bit cheesy (I suspect because of budget constraints for the first film). It did not affect how I felt about the film however."
LyRonda from West Virgina and her 13-year-old daughter were split -– Mom loved it, while her daughter was "frustrated when cast members did not say their lines the exact way they did in the book."
And the humans get some love from Lexy G. and her boyfriend, who both appreciated Bella’s high school pals: “The supporting cast was great as well, especially Bella's human crew, which was 10 times cooler on screen than their literary counterparts."
Finally, someone pays respect to Bill Burke, who plays Bella's dad Charlie. Thank you Jessica from Atlanta for writing: "Surprise MVP: Charlie Swan and the other humans, who brought the light-heartedness and playfulness back into what could have been a full-on angst fest. Charlie’s character, though barely present through the book, is brought to the forefront a little more in the movie, and his reactions and discomfort at learning how to deal with a teenage daughter are hilarious and ring true."
Jessica also takes issue with folks who say too much was changed from the book: "True fans will be pleased that much of the dialog and voice-over from Bella is verbatim or paraphrased from the book; yes, it’s cheese-tastic, but that’s a large part of the appeal. Where else can someone get away with saying 'And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…'?"
Tara from Hadley, Mass., misses "crucial one-line moments that could have been in the movie that would have helped develop the intensity of their relationship some more. Like when they are at the piano, that is when Bella finds out that Edward wrote her a lullaby. Him telling her and playing for her is pretty significant. It comes up a lot in their relationship throughout the series."
And then there's Nicole Marcks, who had a "Twilight"-themed wedding. She says: "It wasn't perfect, but it was so much dang fun. Moments of the uber-sincere performances edged on over-the-top, but honestly, with a crowd of 'tween-types squealing every time Robert Pattinson gave a smolder, it was hard to tell whether or not the environment was gilding the acting lily."
.... And with that, the Countdown signs off. But never fear, there will be plenty more "Twilight" coverage as news breaks. Keep the reviews coming in through the comments below. I'm always up for a healthy debate.
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