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Twilight Love It Or Hate It

November 26, 2008

source: Rush PR News

Why I Loved Twilight And Understand Why Many Others Didn’t
By the John at MovieBlog

HOLLYWOOD(RushPRnews)11/26/08-It really wasn’t until Comic Con that I had any idea about the phenomenon Twilight had become. To be honest, I hadn’t even HEARD of Twilight until just a few short months before that when word of a film deal was released for the property. But if you were at Comic Con, you knew there was something about Twilight that had tapped into a serious fan base that made them… well… fanatical (And that’s a good thing). Comic Con was over run by rabid Twilight fans who single handedly put the project on the radar for a lot of outlets (like The Movie Blog) who up until that point hadn’t been paying much attention to it. The fans at Comic Con made that impossible to continue. This was going to be a hit.

But still, over the last couple of months I have sounded off a serious doubt about a Twilight movie. No, I never said it would be bad and I never suggested it couldn’t be a great movie… but having never read the book I simply couldn’t understand what the big deal was. After all, there is nothing original about the basic concept:

“There’s a vampire, and vampires are bad, but not THIS vampire. This vampire is a good vampire with a heart of gold. And this vampire you see… he falls in love with a mortal girl which is totally forbidden. And the girl you see… well she’s so in love with the vampire she overlooks his beast side”.

Yeah yeah yeah… we’ve seen this specific idea done a thousand times before. So while I never “hated” on Twilight, I just openly questioned what all the fuss was about considering it really didn’t strike me as being anything original. This got a lot of Twilight fans mad at me, but I was just being honest with my thoughts.

I was so indifferent about Twilight that I passed on an opportunity to see an advanced screening the studio invited me to and let someone else go in my place. I just didn’t care about the movie.

So opening night for the film comes and someone invited me to go see it with them, so I went. To my surprise I ended up LOVING the damn thing. And oddly enough… many of those Twilight fans who were mad at me for not speaking positively about it in advance… ended up hating it.

I believe there are some very legitimate reasons to love this movie. However, I also can see some very legitimate reasons why many people dislike it as well.

**WARNING – FROM HERE ON SOME SPOILERS WILL BE DISCUSSED. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE AND DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANY SPOILERS THEN DO NOT READ ON**

I’ve said this a million times: The most beautiful thing about film is the pure subjectivity of it. It’s like a work of art hanging on a wall. 10 different people can stand and look at it, and each person can see something totally different from what the other people see and have a unique experience with it. That’s the movies.

Let me start by talking about why I enjoyed this movie so much.

First of all ironically enough my one biggest apprehension about the movie (The lack of originality) actually ended up being the most striking thing to me. This was the first Vampire movie I’ve seen in a long time (probably since Lost Boys) that really introduced some new and unique ideas to the whole vampire mythology that I had personally never really seen done before.

For instance, the concept of daylight. In just about every vampire story telling, sunlight burns and kills vampires. Some smoke and burn, some just flat out explode. But in Twilight, the vampires don’t stay out of the sun for fear of spontaneous combustion, but rather because their skin glimmers as if it were made of some sort of diamond crusted armor when exposed to direct sunlight which gives them away. Just the fact that it was so different from the way any other vampire genre film had dealt with this really made me sit up in my seat and honestly wonder what else we would learn about these creatures.

In film, you get most engaged with a movie when you share in the journey with the main character. But in vampire movies, even the best ones, you can never share in that journey with the character… because as the human character is unraveling the “mystery” of this dude who ends up being a vampire… is discovering strange things about them that leads them to the revelation of them being a creature of the night… we can’t share that suspense because we already know everything. We already know the mythology, we already know what kills them, we already know what their weaknesses are… WE ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING. So the journey of the character becomes just time filler to us until the revelation is made and then the real story can start.

But with Twilight, because of some of these subtle differences (Like the glimmering skin in the sunlight) I found myself more interested in the journey Bella was on. I didn’t know what else we might learn about Edward or his family.

Edward can read minds?
His sister can paint the future like Isaac from “Heroes”?
Different vampires have different unique abilities?
The glimmering skin?

All of these changes, these differences that makes them unique allowed me as an audience member to become more engaged in the film because I, like Bella, didn’t know what would be discovered next. This alone added a lot to my enjoyment of the movie.

I LOVED the history of the Cullen family. The Patriarch of the family is a DOCTOR who loves to save human lives!?!?! His “family” are people he’s turned into vampires over the past couple of hundred years who were once his young patients that were terminally ill and did it to save their lives… and then he brings them up to be “vegetarian” vampires who only feed on animals and not humans. LOVED IT. Great backstory… and to me backstory is 30% of a movie like this.

Speaking of the family, I loved them. The dynamic of the family was a lot different than I was expecting. It was quirky, sweet and had an almost “Leave it to Beaver” feel to it, which to me was hilarious when you remember their vampires. But they were never “goofy” or silly or crossed that line. You never forgot they were indeed vampires.

I liked the whole family, but I think i liked Jackson Rathbone (who played Jasper) the most. He only has a couple of lines, but his expression and just general disposition made me grin every time he was on screen.

I’m finding myself becoming a big Billy Burke fan. To me he’s becoming one of the most solid and reliable character actors out there, even when whatever movie he’s appearing in sucks (which has happened a lot). Personally I think he a “A list” potential and would cast him in anything I did.

Scenes like the family day of baseball out in the woods gave some depth and developed the “family” nature of these vampires for me and let us understand the bond between them without using cheesy dialog or some hack monolog scene to convey it. The action (when there was some) was pretty tight, the effects weren’t half bad either and the film had a great pace.

All together, for me they put together a movie that hit it’s mark and made for a very enjoyable time at the theater.

HOWEVER….

Those that are complaining about Twilight have some very legitimate beefs. Beefs that for me weren’t enough to negate my enjoyment of the film, but I could understand why it would spoil it for them.

1) The core of Twilight is the love story between Bella and Edward… and I’m sorry to say I never bought into it in the least. I never once really felt any chemistry between them on screen. It felt forced, awkward and at times extremely contrived. That spark, that passion, that electricity so many fans of the book tell me are on the pages just never made it on to the screen for me at all.

2) The acting. Oh dear heavens the acting. Kristen Stewart (Bella) for the most part was actually ok, except sometimes she came across as a psycho girlfriend with an over extended sense of dependance than a loving girlfriend. Good grief… that scene near the end when she was in the hospital and freaking out on Edward about how he can never leave her… man… if I was Edward my “crazy chick” alarm would be going off like nuts and I get the hell away from her as fast as my little vampire legs could carry me. Speaking of Edward… sorry… Robert Pattinson may be dreamy to look at for you ladies, but his acting chops need a lot of work in my opinion.

3) Not enough action. Yes I know this is primarily a love story so I’m not expecting a Jackie Chan flick here. But come on, its a movie about vampires! Let’s see some more vampire stuff!

4) They ruined a potentially cool villain in James. James suffers from what I call the “Darth Maul Syndrome”. It’s a situation where you’ve got a solid bad guy, but then hardly ever use him and kill him off pretty unceremoniously and quickly (although I must admit seeing the Cullen family show their “bad ass” side by ripping him apart was pretty cool).

5) They didn’t give us enough Jacob or reveal enough about his true identity. I thought giving us just a little bit more of him could have added another layer to the film without giving too much away.

There are more, but you get the point.

All in all, I stood in front of the Twilight painting on the wall and was able to engage it, appreciate it and love it. However I can completely see why others had a different experience from mine too. We know that a sequel is already planned, so here’s hoping that they build on the aspects of Twilight that worked and made me love it, and better develop those aspects that didn’t work and made some people hate it. As always, we’ll have to wait and see.

source: The Movieblog.com

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