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Twilight DVD Review & Finishathon Results - moonspinner
moonspinner
moonspinner
Twilight DVD Review & Finishathon Results
I watched the Twilight DVD over the weekend. That was my first time of watching the movie, too, since I ended up not watching it in the theatres. The movie was remarkably faithful to the book (my vague memories of reading it a long, long, long time ago notwithstanding).



Things I liked:

1, K Stewart emoted Bella's extreme dependency on Edward without sacrificing the character's introverted dignity. It was a surprise to me because I kept reading reviews about movie!Bella being greater than book!Bella but they're the same creature - right down to the nervous breakdown in the hospital when Edward tries to ditch her for her own good. I wonder how much of this is due to Katherine's directing and if a male director will be able to imitate this because Bella's kind of heroine goes against the male fantasy of what a SFC is supposed to be.

2, The multi-ethnic high school. There's a bonus material documentary where Katherine explains that she made the casting call for supporting characters as diverse as possible to reflect/contain the great diversity of Twilight fans. I wonder, again ;), how this movie would have fared if the original studio, Paramount of Avatar White-Washing infamy, had kept their license. *shudders* Forget Bella's classmates: Maybe Jesse Whathisname would have played Jacob Black.

3, Rosalie Cullen. (Why do all the bonus material refer to her as Rosalie Hale? Am I missing something there?) I loved that little glare that she gives Bella in the baseball game. She's such an adorable bitch. And if I didn't heart Rosalie/Emmett already because of the role reversal in the sire/mate cliché, I'd have fallen for them when she says "That's my monkey man" and smirks! If there's one aspect of Breaking Dawn that I like, it's Rosalie and Bella becoming allies.

4, Bella/Charlie. This is the only "real" change from the book that I noticed and it's a vast improvement. Book!Charlie is bland blur whose sole function is to serve as stumbling block to Bella/Edward. Movie!Charlie is too like his daughter (a loner) to be close to her, but they still bond in their own way. And the running gag of the pepper spray? Love.

5, The Nomads. They make an appearance much earlier in the movies. In the book, they only appear in the second half of the third act. For plot/pacing and Requisite Big Bad reasons, the movie version works better.

6, Stephenie Meyer's cameo. Maybe it's just because this was the one thing I wasn't spoilt for but I loved it. Totally adorable.

And last, but not least:

7, The Romance. It works in all its dysfunctional glory.

Special Mention:

Great DVD extras: No silly blooper reel. (Why oh why do so many believe that the audience is interested in that?) Deleted scenes and expanded scenes. A "Making Of" documentary that was really fun to watch. I sniffed when Katherine said "Future Nurse" might be her next career if this job didn't work out. She appeared to practically float with enthusiasm all through out the whole process. Why oh why did they fire her again? It certainly wasn't because she didn't do a good job.






Things I didn't like:

1, Cinematography. I mostly liked the pacing (slow, just like the book), and artistic camera angles but there's this moment in the meadow scene where the camera pans round and round Bella/Edward and I literally started getting dizzy.

2, James/Alice. It's kind of weird that they played up the nomads more than in the book and cut this out completely. Especially after Alice is the one that does the Big Kill. Which leads me to:

3, James vs Bella vs Edward vs The Cullens. The Pepper Spray finally got some action (which was love) but after that, it went downhill. Edward comes to rescue Bella and there's this moment when the camera spins (see 1) and Edward just has this expressionless look on his face. Why? He's supposed to be spitting mad/extremely worried about Bella. I was also disappointed that we don't actually see Alice yanking off James's head.



Summary: I enjoyed it but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read the book and was constantly comparing scenes in my head, instead of just watching the film. I certainly won't have gone twice to a movie theatre to watch it.

In related news: my Jack Bauer/M Schofield/Jason Bourne fan-boy of a husband has completely fallen in love with Twilight!!! It's the cutest thing ever. *g* I am now compelled to shield him from all the anti-Twilight meta on cyber-space.




The Finish-a-thon voting polls have been closed. Thanks to everyone who voted!

Thwarted Fate won! I'm totally surprised about this because over the years, it's gone into obscure territory where my stories are concerned. But I'm totally pleased about this, too.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: amused amused

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Comments
emavalexis From: emavalexis Date: March 29th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting points of view here. :) Since getting into Twilight, believe me when I say I've seen many, many differing opinions on all aspects of the fandom. While I am not nearly as forgiving of what I see as the film's faults, I also really, really like it at the same time.

I'll be posting my own review of sorts (and kind of an overall discussion about the books and the film) soon, but I can't resist commenting briefly on some of the things you mention here.

I also liked Kristen Stewart's Bella. I thought she gave the character a certain gravitas that was entirely necessary in a film based on a book in which the entire narrative is from that person's point of view. I still contend that any performance issues in the film are due to poor directorial and editorial choices and frankly silly dialogue. I get upset when I see people slagging on the two leads - I thought they both did a fine job with the material and direction they were given, all things considered.

I don't really have much of an opinion on movie!Rosalie. I know there has been a lot of grumbling from fans about Nikki Reed's casting, but I think she was fine. She didn't have a lot to do overall, which was appropriate at any rate, since this is about Edward and Bella. I did love her crushing of the salad bowl and also the monkey man line. Very cute.

The storyline with James and co. coming into things earlier on is one thing I *don't* like about the movie. I liked it much better in the book. BUT, I can also totally concede that this was a smart choice for the movie, because what worked in print would have seemed tacked on and abrupt on the screen. So I get why they did that, even if it made me cranky.

(And I do like blooper reels at times; I would have enjoyed seeing one for this movie if only for Robert Pattinson, because I find he's hilarious anyway. He seems to be a lot of fun and has a great sense of humor that I think might have made a blooper reel totally worthwhile.)

Oh, re: Catherine Hardwicke. According to the parties involved, it was Hardwicke herself who decided to step away from the series. She was apparently going to direct New Moon, but dropped out due to the ubiquitous 'creative differences'. This seems to be backed up by nearly everyone else involved in the project (not that they'd tell us otherwise, though, I'm sure), so I'm just going to go with that. While I liked the sensibility I think she lent her female lead, and the energy she gave to the cast, I also think her direction was sloppy and often questionable, so I'm not particularly upset that we get a different director for New Moon. I like Hardwicke more as a person, I think, than as a director and editor. At least with respect to this movie (she did a great job with Thirteen).
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: March 30th, 2009 06:56 am (UTC) (Link)
The book is so flawed – Sparking vampires. No, really. Sparkling Vampires. :P :P – that it’s hard to imagine how the movie won’t have been.

I thought she gave the character a certain gravitas that was entirely necessary in a film based on a book in which the entire narrative is from that person's point of view. I still contend that any performance issues in the film are due to poor directorial and editorial choices and frankly silly dialogue.

I don’t getting the slagging on the leads either. I was actually impressed by Pattison’s performance considering the asinine statements about the movie. Both actors did a good job with the material given to them. I think Stewart did some amazingly fine acting in the last scenes when she’s bitten and almost vamping out, and in the hospital scene when she freaks out at the idea of Edward leaving her.

I don't really have much of an opinion on movie!Rosalie. I know there has been a lot of grumbling from fans about Nikki Reed's casting, but I think she was fine.

She doesn’t have a lot to do overall in the books, either. She fills the role of being the one Cullen who isn’t happy about being a vampire; and thinks Bella is not only crazy/playing with fire/endangering all of them, but that she doesn’t appreciate what she has as a human. For all Meyer’s issues with female empowerment, I think she did a good job from changing Rosalie from someone who appears to be a 2D dog in the manger (she was supposed to be Edward’s mate but they didn’t ‘click’ and she doesn’t understand what he sees in Bella if she wasn’t his type) to probably the most interesting of all the Cullens.


The storyline with James and co. coming into things earlier on is one thing I *don't* like about the movie. I liked it much better in the book. BUT, I can also totally concede that this was a smart choice for the movie, because what worked in print would have seemed tacked on and abrupt on the screen. So I get why they did that, even if it made me cranky.

And that’s the one thing about the book that I’m not forgiving of! :D It struck me that Stephenie was writing a romance, than at the last minute, decided to throw in some danger. James and co. seem to come out of nowhere just so that Bella can start the book by saying how she’s about to die. And since they’ve been on a killing spree, it would have made sense for Bella’s father, a policeman, to say something about dead bodies…

Oh, re: Catherine Hardwicke. According to the parties involved, it was Hardwicke herself who decided to step away from the series. She was apparently going to direct New Moon, but dropped out due to the ubiquitous 'creative differences'.

It still reads suspicious to me. I did like her direction *shrugs*. I think she captured the dreamy/life-of-a-teenage-girl sense of the books. Then there’s the man who’s been given the job – the last book-to-film project he helmed tanked with a capital T. Well, let's hope for the best. :D :D I'd really like the franchise to go on and become more and more successful. Stephenie Meyer’s success is an ‘in-your-face’ to all those people who were so eager to disregard women as a marketing force.


ETA:
I'll be posting my own review of sorts (and kind of an overall discussion about the books and the film) soon, but I can't resist commenting briefly on some of the things you mention here.

I'm looking forward to that. :D

Edited at 2009-03-31 02:40 pm (UTC)
frostbit_sky From: frostbit_sky Date: March 29th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
3, Rosalie Cullen. (Why do all the bonus material refer to her as Rosalie Hale? Am I missing something there?)

Rosalie's kept her human last name Hale as a means to hold on to the last part of her humanity. (He name is Hale in the books also.)
Then Jasper adopts her last name so that they can pose as twins in school.
The rest took the Cullen name.

Nice review. At first when watching all the trailers I was unsure about Kirsten because I thought she was too monotone but after a few viewings I love the way she brought Bella to life. I think she did a great job.

I miss Catherine. I loved her fangirl enthusiasm for the story.
I heard it was differences in how she wanted to make New Moon and then they wouldn't approve the budget she needed.

SO AGREE about Charlie. And also #2 - The multi-ethnic high school. I love that part of the features where she said she wanted to have the cast be as diverse as the readers.

Sometimes I don't get blooper reels, I feel I am missing the joke. But like Michelle said, with Robert in them I wouldn't mind seeing him being silly like usual.
Have you heard the commentary? It's hilarious.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: March 30th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
At first when watching all the trailers I was unsure about Kirsten because I thought she was too monotone but after a few viewings I love the way she brought Bella to life. I think she did a great job.

Yes, I also thought she was too one-note when I saw the trailers; and I was afraid that she was under-acting for the same reasons that Pattinson was slagging on the books. But in the movie, she’s so expressive – her face, her eyes – that now, I can’t imagine anyone else bringing Bella to life.

I miss Catherine. I loved her fangirl enthusiasm for the story.

Me, too. *sighs*


I heard it was differences in how she wanted to make New Moon and then they wouldn't approve the budget she needed.

Well, like Michelle said, they’d hardly say different, will they? And it does seem like a bad choice all around to fire the director that helped make the film a hit and hire the director that helped thank his own book-to-film production. I don’t know how a male director will work with Bella’s breakdown in New Moon.


SO AGREE about Charlie. And also #2 - The multi-ethnic high school. I love that part of the features where she said she wanted to have the cast be as diverse as the readers.

Word. It’s particularly galling when you compare Twilight to Avatar where the producers want to remove the multi-ethnic aspect of the source material.

Sometimes I don't get blooper reels, I feel I am missing the joke.

So do I. I think it might be funny for the cast and crew; but as an audience, I always feel like I’m watching bad slapstick humor.


Have you heard the commentary? It's hilarious.

Not yet. No time! *sighs*
frostbit_sky From: frostbit_sky Date: March 31st, 2009 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)
But in the movie, she’s so expressive – her face, her eyes – that now, I can’t imagine anyone else bringing Bella to life.
Yes. Some lines are still monotone, but watching her facial reactions, you see she is performing the role.

I don’t know how a male director will work with Bella’s breakdown in New Moon.
I know. I don't want to sound like a sexist because I have seen books written by men that portray women well but I really liked that this was a girl power story. Woman author, woman screenwriter, woman director, told in first person by a girl. And now you got this guy in there...
We'll see when clips come out.

Too bad Catherine is not directing Avatar. She'd do it right.

You should watch the commentary. I LOLed a lot.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: March 31st, 2009 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)

I know. I don't want to sound like a sexist because I have seen books written by men that portray women well but I really liked that this was a girl power story. Woman author, woman screenwriter, woman director, told in first person by a girl. And now you got this guy in there...
We'll see when clips come out.


I know! It's such an estrogen-powered story :p. I can't imagine Chris Whathisname going all fan-boy about the meadow scene or the reunion in Italy. And let's face it, the average fanboy thinks Twilight is a joke and now we're asking one into the party?

I have bad feeling about this.


Too bad Catherine is not directing Avatar. She'd do it right.
You should watch the commentary. I LOLed a lot.


Yes, she would. *sighs* I'll watch the commentary sometime this week and let you know what I think. :D
frostbit_sky From: frostbit_sky Date: April 1st, 2009 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I know. In the year I have become a fan I have only seen 4 boys that were real fans of series. The rest abuse it.

I'll watch the commentary sometime this week and let you know what I think. :D
Cool.

reihla From: reihla Date: March 30th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow... your husband is a Jack Bauer fanboy.... I can't even get mine to watch 24... :(
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: March 31st, 2009 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
We should do a husband-swap for the season finale. I always feel bad that despite years of intensive indoctrination, I still do not fully appreciate the awesome that is Jack Bauer. :p :p
reihla From: reihla Date: March 31st, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, Jack isn't for everyone. But you clearly appreciate the awesomeness that is Brooke Davis, so you're off the hook. :)
reihla From: reihla Date: March 31st, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
And in all the excitement generated by the mere mention of Mr. Bauer... I totally forgot to say that I agree with your Twilight list... There were many times while watching the film that I thought... you know, I'd probably like this better as a movie if I hadn't read the book.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: March 31st, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brooke Davids is my home-girl. *hi fives* How is Season 6 so far? They still haven't started showing it on cable over here. *sadface*



And in all the excitement generated by the mere mention of Mr. Bauer...

LOL!

There were many times while watching the film that I thought... you know, I'd probably like this better as a movie if I hadn't read the book.

I wonder how the movie -> book people will far. *waits patiently for hubby to finish the book*
reihla From: reihla Date: April 1st, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Season 6 rocks! And that's all I'm gonna say about it because pretty much anything I say would be spoilery... Now, see, I had to pass my books along to my girl friends just to have people to talk about Twilight with. My husband is not so much a big reader of books and "chick lit" is right out...
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: April 2nd, 2009 07:03 am (UTC) (Link)
*bounces* Oh boy! I can't wait for it to start airing here. :D

My husband is not so much a big reader of books and "chick lit" is right out...

Awww.. *hugs* Well, you can always talk Twilight with me. I will confess - I am as likely to mock as to praise, depending on my mood, but I will always do both nicely. ;)
reihla From: reihla Date: April 2nd, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, Twilight has its moments of brilliance and its moments of total idiocy. I spent the first half of book 2 wanting to throttle Bella out of her stupor...
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: April 3rd, 2009 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. How can we forget the months where nothing happened because Edward was not in her life?
atanone From: atanone Date: April 2nd, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
still reading the book..watched the movie,but I think it's too romantical for a "bitchie" like me,hehe :)
I have to confess there were breathtaking scenes :)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: April 2nd, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL! If you're a bitch, then my first name is Ebenezer. :P
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