Did I love it? Did it measure up to the hype? Did it honor the book? Was he Edward? Yes, yes, yes, YES!!!
Yesterday afternoon, I went with four other moms to see Twilight. The mom next to me had serious doubts that Robert Pattinson could live up to the Edward Cullen of the book, especially after she saw some of the clips of Robert doing goofy interviews. She was totally won over by his performance. "He IS Edward!" The first thing she said after the movie ended was, "I want to see it again!" I totally agree, and may even be seeing it again tonight with my hubby.
It was great seeing it in a theater chock full of teen age girls. The other moms and I gave each other looks as the girls squealed at the first look at Edward in the movie. We were squealing inside right along with them! Jasper and Jacob had their squeals, and even Carlisle got some hearty sighs and squeals.
The male reviewer from the LA Times said in his thumbs up review:
I am not now nor have I ever been a 13-year-old girl, but "Twilight" made me wish I could be, at least for a couple of hours, the better to appreciate a movie that has been targeted to that demographic with the delicious specificity of a laser weapon... "Twilight" is unabashedly a romance. All the story's inherent silliness aside, it is intent on conveying the magic of meeting that one special person you've been waiting for. Maybe it is possible to be 13 and female for a few hours after all.Yes, I felt like one of those teenage girls again (well, as faithful readers know, inside, I never grew up.) I swooned over Robert Pattinson's James Dean cool. He's the bad boy, and you can't help but fall in love. I wasn't the only one that thought he channeled a bit of James Dean. From the Boston Globe's review:
And Pattinson is good - close to a revelation, in fact. It’s the silliest of roles, really, since Edward has to be noble, messed-up, dangerous, and a sweetie-pie all at once, but the young British-trained actor makes it work by letting us see the absurdity of this vampire boy’s life. He knows when to step on the gas and when to hit the brakes - both he and Stewart underplay their lines to keep them from tipping into comedy - and he conveys above all the pain of being, literally, forever young. At times, Edward shivers like James Dean without his jacket. He’s a rebel without a pulse.This movie is a romance! It's Romeo and Juliet. It's Heathcliff and Cathy. It's the modern take on star-crossed love. In modern times, how else do you keep those young lovers apart? All the complaints from male reviewers about special effects that weren't top notch, not enough action, not enough blood, not enough scariness. You don't get it. This movie is not for your demographic. This is not an action film with a few minutes of romance thrown in to get the women to come. This is a romance, a full on old fashioned, say those lines with sincerity and not mocking, ROMANCE with a few minutes of action and peril thrown in. Bella is only in danger so Edward can save her like a white knight!
Richard Corliss, of Time magazine gets exactly what this is about:
It rekindles the warmth of great Hollywood romances, where foreplay was the climax and a kiss was never just a kiss.Exactly. God, it feels like forever since we had a movie where lines like this weren't said with a mocking tone. It's deadly serious, and the two main actors are so very good at pulling it off. I can't say enough about the performances of Robert Pattinson as Edward, and Kristen Stewart as Bella. They WERE Edward and Bella, and got the tone exactly right. Robert, I thought, played Edward a little more depressed than in the book, maybe foreshadowing New Moon, but it felt right to me. He just oozed anguish with every line, "What if I'm the bad guy?" Swoon!
Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter, gets my ultimate respect and kudos. It is not an easy thing to adapt a novel that has such a fervid following, and she did a great job. She captured the essence. You can't have everything included, and some things need to be different to play on screen. The best example is how she combined the meadow scene where Edward reveals his diamond skin, with the first time that Bella says to Edward that he is a vampire, which I believe in the book is in the car. Combining the two together made it much more dramatic and worked extremely well. The diamond skin in sunlight special effect wasn't as radiant and glowing as I'd pictured in my mind, but given their budget looked good. With more money for New Moon, it will be interesting how the special effects improve. There will be a lot of them with all the werewolf changing!
I loved how Cathy Hardwicke captured the relationship between Bella and her father, Charlie. It was pitch perfect. Cathy Hardwicke, the director who made Thirteen, made her best choices in the casting. I can't think of one single person who was "off". And her finds in Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson! Kristen Stewart she saw in Into The Wild, a film I have not seen. Hardwicke has said, "I felt her yearning -- it was just palpable," and it is that quality that sets the tone for the entire film. That was just what was needed for Bella. It's all those looks she gives when she's not even saying anything! Even Stephenie Meyer, the author of Twilight, had doubts about Robert Pattinson as Edward, because in real life he is a goof and kind of shy. She said that once a scene would start, he was instantly transformed to Edward and he exceeded her expectations. My God, that intensity smolders right off the screen, and even his "crooked grin" felt just right.
I don't think I have been as happy about the adaptation of a book to screen since Lord of the Rings. They did it. They made something the fans of the book can love. One of the moms with us had not read the books, so we were especially wondering what she thought. Was this a movie that would only be good to those who are already fans of the books, the converted? She loved the movie, and went home with our host's copies of Twilight and New Moon in hand. My son went on his first (alone just the two of them) date with his girlfriend last night. He had read all four books, and she had not. They both loved it. He thought it was true to the book, and Robert was a very good Edward. What a great first date movie to remember!
All those thirteen year old girls will be seeing this film multiple times, and I will be, too. Three and a half stars and better than I even hoped it would be. Twilight is likely on track to make $150 million. It did so astonishingly well in its opening day, making $7 million in midnight shows alone, that Summit announced Friday that plans for the sequel New Moon are officially under way. Can't wait!
All the stories I read about the box office predictions talked about how unique this film's demographic is and how difficult it was to predict how huge it would be. Is it really? It's not a "family film" like Nancy Drew or Harry Potter. It's not a video game adaptation for teen boys. It's not a Rom Com. It's not Sex and the City which is for women, but an older demographic. It really was funny to me that this seemed to be the first movie for girls, but for older women, too. Let's hope it starts a trend. We girls and women have money to spend, too, and a hunger for romance. Are you listening studio heads?
Trivia note -- look for Stephenie Meyer's cameo in the middle of the movie. She's sitting at the counter of the diner where Charlie and Bella go to eat dinner.