Last night I went to an early preview screening of Twilight at the Bob Bullock IMAX Theatre. It was an Austin Film Society event, and Richard Linklater was the MC for the evening, as he is one of the founders of AFS. The director, Catherine Hardwicke, was also in attendance. She did work as Linklater’s Production Designer on a couple or so films, so they have some history. There was a Q&A afterwards, and it didn’t suck.
Mike, my workout bud Sarah, and my boss’ daughter Courtney were with me. I’d heard from my boss how much his daughter was into the books, so when I had an extra ticket, I offered it up. She was super excited and really sweet. I hope she enjoyed herself.
First off, let me tell you my pre-watching thoughts. I was not in love with the casting. I could definitely see Kristen Stewart as Bella. But I was really not digging on Robert Pattinson as Edward. I mean, c’mon, Edward is supposed to be this beautiful being. While Robert Pattinson isn’t unattractive, he’s just not even close to what I pictured for Edward. The rest of the cast I wasn’t too concerned with, but I wasn’t awesomely thrilled. I did hope the casting of Alice would be good, cuz she’s a fun character. To sum it up, I loved the books, so I was really wary of the movie.
Ok, now to the after-watching thoughts. Casting wasn’t as awful as I was thinking. With the exception of Peter Facinelli as Carlisle Cullen. What the hell? Bizarre. Overall, I liked it. But I didn’t find it terribly moving. Kristen Stewart was good, but didn’t have a tremendous amount of range. Shockingly, I really did enjoy Robert Pattinson’s performance. I still don’t feel like he looks like Edward. I don’t even think I would call him beautiful, as Edward is so often described in the book. Handsome, yes. Perhaps even untraditionally so, thus the allure. He’s got enough “ugly” in him to make it interesting. What do I mean by that, you may wonder? I think that the people we are drawn to in flocks have some slightly off about that beauty. And he definitely has something slightly off. But I can dig it. Anyhoo, back to the performance. I definitely felt the attraction from Edward towards Bella, but not so much in the reverse. The main part of the story, the falling in love part, was the part that I missed most. It seemed like one minute Edward was all hateful towards Bella, the next they are in complete and utter love for all eternity. Nah, not so much. Granted, this does happen in the book, but in such a way that it builds properly. I missed the buildup, cuz it just wasn’t there. My husband, Mike, also pointed out a hole to me that I probably looked over, because I’d read the book. There’s a bad vampire that gets a whiff of Bella and suddenly has to have her. So they take off running to get her away from him. However, we never really find out why does this vampire have to have HER. Why would he be willing to run all over the US tracking her down? That is covered in the book a bit more, so I guess my mind filled in the blanks.
I also didn’t love the camera work and choice of shots. I know this is supposed to be an intimate story, and a good way to get that across is close-up shots. But, yanno that adage.. too much of a good thing… definitely applies here. There was also a lot of handheld stuff, and it seemed slightly messy. The glaringly awful thing in the movie was the special effects. Wow, bad. There’s a scene where Edward exposes his skin to the sun and it “sparkles”. Man, talk about velveeta. Yeeeow. Edward’s skin overall (non-sunned) wasn’t too bad, but Carlisle’s?!?!?! Wow, let’s dip a dude in a vat of rice powder or something. Goodness. But I do need to remember that the budget for this movie was kinda low ($40mil) for such a largely hyped movie. So, they did good.
Don’t get me wrong, I did like this movie. I’m even contemplating seeing it again. And I very rarely see movies more than once in the theater. It just felt loose, watered down even. I do recommend anyone into vampire love stories with a bit of blood & action go see it. Then, if you haven’t read the book, go do that. You’ll like it even better.
7 out of 10