Being a fan of supernatural fiction, when the first rumblings about Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” started on the internet, I decided to pick up the books and read them. As an English B.A., I have high standards for authors. I am sorry to say that the novels are not well-written at all; the characters are one-dimensional and do not grow at all throughout all four books.
However, the fact that Bella Swan is so one-dimensional allows the reader to project his or her own personality onto the character and so become part of the story. While Meyer is not J.K. Rowling, she does have decent storytelling abilities. Because you can merge with the character of Bella, you literally get sucked into the story and the relationships with Edward and Jacob become your relationships, so to speak. This is why it’s such a hit for teen girls today: it allows them to have a perfect boyfriend and an epic romance all without leaving the comfort of their house, which is why it’s so popular right now. Who doesn’t enjoy reading a romance novel every once in a while to escape from life’s stresses?
I had mixed feelings about the first “Twilight” adaption; mainly with Catherine Hardwicke’s directing style and the casting of Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan. Needless to say, being a fan of “The Golden Compass”, I was happy to learn that Chris Weitz would be taking the helm for “New Moon”.
[adinserter block=”1″]I was not disappointed. Say what you like about the “Twilight” phenomenon, but the cinematography was beautiful in this movie. The gold tones were so much better than that atrocious blue tint Hardwicke used in “Twilight”. It made the entire movie set feel more realistic and fit in with the autumnal tone of the movie; as this where Bella experiences a major loss in her life when Edward leaves Forks in the hopes of giving her a “normal life”. It also ties in with the character of Jacob Black, the young Quileute werewolf who is described as “warm” and “like a personal Sun” for Bella Swan.
Weitz also has an eye for the special effects and music placement. The “sparkling” effect for the vampires did not look as ludicrous as it did in the first movie and the werewolves are fantastic. One of the best werewolf designs I’ve seen yet in the movies and the transformation sequences were excellent. The placement of music is not as in-your-face as in “Twilight”, it’s more subtle and works well with the scenes and the plot.
Regarding the acting, I am sorely disappointed with Kristen Stewart. She is not right at all for Bella; she has too much of a “tomboy” look to play such a feminine, book-loving teenage girl. The lack of emoting and the constant twitching, blinking, and hair-touching is incredibly distracting and takes the viewer out of the movie’s universe. During the nightmare sequences, I felt no sympathy for Bella and her screams sounded utterly faked and forced. I wanted to sympathize with her, and found I couldn’t at all.
She also has no chemistry with Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen and for a series that literally revolves around the love between the two main characters, which is a serious flaw. There was a tiny spark of chemistry with Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black, but Kristen Stewart is not right at all for this role.
Robert Pattinson however does have potential but he needs to take on more roles and experiment by playing different characters. Kudos to him though for playing Edward as a creature who has so much self-loathing, it makes the character more interesting than he was in the books. Again, the lack of chemistry between him and Miss Stewart is a serious detriment to the movie and I could not see the chemistry that Bella and Edward shared in the books.
Out of the three leads, Taylor Lautner had the best sense of his character. I was on the fence about his casting, but I was pleasantly surprised. He truly understands the character of Jacob and was believable in the role. He radiated the warmth, care, and concern that Jacob felt towards Bella and you could feel the heartbreak and betrayal when she chose to go with Alice to save Edward. This young seventeen year old may just have a decent career ahead of him, with some polishing and practice.
Ashley Greene as the psychic vampire girl Alice and Michael Sheen as the subtly evil Aro, leader of the Volturi are also good in their roles. Ashley got more screen time in “New Moon” that she did in “Twilight”, and is entirely believable as the hyper, bouncy Alice. The viewer can also sense the great fun Michael had at portraying a villain; Aro’s cruelty and menace was understated, which is a shout-out to the novel. In the books, Aro was never openly evil, but cloaked it in a guise of friendship and morality.
The movie deviated from the novels in several scenes; the most notable is in Italy when they meet the Volturi and an actually fight ensures. However, this change makes the movie more exciting and is a foreshadowing of the clash that occurs in the last novel, “Breaking Dawn”. It also shows just how dangerous non-vegetarian vampires can be in Meyer’s universe, and how the Cullens do everything in their power to subdue that part of themselves.
[adinserter block=”2″]In the end, the movie does have its casting flaws which seriously detract from the overall performance, but if the numbers are anything to go by, the “Twilight” fans are enjoying the movie adaptations nonetheless. I would give it a B- and am curious to see how the next director fares with “Eclipse”.
Check out the The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack by clicking here.
Read the The Twilight Saga Collection by clicking here.
Order the Twilight Movie Poster New Moon by clicking here.
Watch the Twilight (Two-Disc Special Edition) DVD set by clicking here.