First I'll discuss the books, then we'll get to the movie. There are a few general comments about themes but no real spoilers.
I finished up the last two books in the four book Twilight series recently, which, if you spend any time at all listening to the world around you, you'll know practically has a Harry Potter sized fan base around them! For some reason that I can't really put my finger on, this annoys me. But, I had read the first book years ago, before all the hoopla started. I discovered it because I like both vampire books and young adult fiction and the fact that the story is set in a place I know and have visited pulled me in. I really liked the first book, Twilight, although I had some issues with it.
My main problem with the book was that I just couldn't turn off the "mom filter" while reading it. Yeah, I liked the book, but in the back of my head I kept returning to the thought that Bella was a terrible role model for teenage girls. She had no plans, no thoughts for the future, and was willing to throw it all away on the first boy she fell for. Not only that, but what about her parents!? They get no chance to discuss things with her, it's all going on behind their back. It really disturbed me even while I realized that this very perspective was what probably made it so successful with teens. They could undoubtedly identify with Bella in a very strong way. Heck, more than three decades later, I can still remember being a teenager and how the world used to revolve around me. Still, it was a fun read and I looked forward to reading the second book.
That's where issue number two reared it's head. The publishers did some stupid thing with holding back the soft cover edition of book two in the series (New Moon) even after book three came out in hardcover. Book three came out in softcover and still book two was only available in hardcover. It seemed spiteful and greedy to me to force readers to buy a hardcover book, especially when the book was aimed at young readers. So I refused to buy the books on principle even though I liked the story. My anger wasn't at the author or the story though, it was at the publishers. I finally had a "duh!" moment and realized I could get the books from our inter-library loan and I read the second book early this year. Again, I liked the book but I continued to have some problems with Bella's egocentric view of the world.
About a month ago my daughter-in-law discovered the series and was completely hooked. She read all four books in about a week's time. Can you say "no sleep"! She lent the books to me and I finished up book three (Eclipse) and four (Breaking Dawn) so we could talk about the series. I felt like the last two books finally addressed some of my role model concerns. Bella grows and matures and starts to think about the consequences of her choices on all those around her. And ultimately some of the decisions are pulled from her hands and settled by larger forces that gather all around her, so I was pleased with the story as a whole as it plays out through the entire series.
The movie is based on the first book in the series. I knew I probably wouldn't have another chance to see the movie here in town if I didn't catch it this last weekend, so I went to a Sunday matinee. I'd seen the trailer and I went in with a few pre-opinions. It looked like it would have great special effects. Edward didn't look quite like I had imagined him to look (what is with the hair!?) although I thought they got Bella right. I also saw a photo of the Cullen's house and it wasn't even close to the house in my imagination. Still, I'm pretty good at allowing a book and movie to live in my brain side by side without matching. Look at Wicked - the book and the play are nothing like each other and yet I love them both for different but equally valid reasons. So, I went.
geeze, this is sort of embarrassing...... but...
I LOVED IT! Totally! Like giggly school girl LOVED it! I'm way too old to have a teen crush on a teen movie but, I did. So, sue me.
The music was great, the scenes and characters might have been slightly different than in my imagination but in some cases they were perhaps better and there wasn't anything jarring that bothered me. Okay, so Jasper's expression looked a little like a bewildered Edward Scissorhand. Apparently it was supposed to be his "trying to hold back my blood lust" look. Edward's hair and his five o'clock shadow were a teensy bit distracting. But these were small complaints. Edward seemed more like Edward once he started moving and talking and I didn't know him as just the movie poster image. (and it totally went past me until my daughter-in-law mentioned it tonight - the actor who plays Edward also played Cedric in Harry Potter!)
What more than made up for these things is the fact that Bella's character seemed to finally "click" for me. I saw her in a completely new way and her personality made sense to me in a way it just didn't in the book. And the scenery - just WOW. And most of the other characters were adorable, so so so so adorable. Jacob - adorable. Alice - adorable. All the Cullens - adorable. The movie ended and I wanted to stay in my seat and see it all over again. Which I couldn't. So instead I went home and looked up the soundtrack online, which I'll be adding to my wish list immediately.
Oh, and last but not least - During the previews I got to see the new Harry Potter trailer for the first time. I'm so bummed they've put it off until next July instead of this December. For me the HP movies will always be winter movies, NOT summer movies. But summer or winter, I can hardly wait to see it. I'm thinking of rereading the books again between now and then. Or maybe I'll just try to watch all the movies before the new movie comes out. We'll see what I can fit into my busy schedule.
Back to Twilight, Hubby just asked if someone who hadn't read the book could enjoy it and I think definitely yes. It's nicely self contained. Go. You'll get so swept up in the story that you'll come out of the movie surprised you're not slightly damp from all that rain.