November 18, 2011

I, However, Am NOT Switzerland

I went to the midnight premiere of "Breaking Dawn: Part 1" last night. I've been to all the midnight premieres. I have an entire cubby dedicated to my Twilight stuff. So you had to know this was coming. Yup, here it is--my Twilight blog. If the idea of sparkly vampires and angsty werewolves puts you into a coma, then turn and run. Get out now while you still can.

OK, for those of you who are still with me, I've decided to review the whole movie franchise. Yes, I know we still have 1 more episode to go but after the movie last night I'm feeling Twilight-y, so deal.

First, I have to start by thanking my niece in TX for getting me started on the books. All I knew when I started was that they were vampire books that took place in Forks. I love books that are set in WA so I was all over that. And then I got hooked. (But whatever you do, please do not refer to me as a Twi-hard or a Twi-mom or any other ridiculous title. Do it and I will punch you in the fangs.)

Thanks to my virtual OCD, I tend to obsess about things (hence the OBSESSIVE part of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I can't get enough. I was so excited when they first announced they were making a movie version of Twilight. I stalked the internet and magazines for all the latest casting and gossip. When I heard Kristen Stewart was cast as Bella my first thought was, "Perfect!" She's very broody, angsty, alternative--exactly what a loner who doesn't fit in with other mortals should be. Robert Pattinson? Sadly, I still have yet to see the installment of Harry Potter that he is in and so I'd never heard of him. I will admit to not being too impressed upon seeing him though. And Jacob. Oh, Jacob. How to cast someone who will be perfect for Bella in every way that Edward isn't? Who can make her fall in love with him even as she has given her whole heart to another? A tough task. But Sharkboy would not have made it onto my Top 20 list.

The hardest part about turning books into movies is you will never please all the fans. I happen to be one of those that is especially critical of books turned to movies. The books are always so much better. But anything that kept my Twilight world alive was good to me. So I've seen the first 3 movies multiple times. My impression overall? Billy Burke--who plays Charlie--is the most brilliant casting choice of the whole thing. He is exactly how I pictured him. Funny, sardonic, and completely uncomfortable with the whole raising-a-teenage-daughter role despite his absolute love for Bella. Ashley Greene as Alice and Peter Facinelli as Carlysle? Both great. The others in the Cullen clan? They've grown on me despite the bad wigs and changing hair colors as well as the sheer awkwardness of the first movie. (Emmett has grown on me perhaps a bit more than the others. He's just so pretty.)

As the movies have progressed, they have greatly improved. I'm not sure if it's the change of directors with each movie or that the actors are finally relaxing and living their roles as opposed to just "acting". I suspect it's both. That being said, I still think Taylor Lautner is one of the worst actors EVER and Kristen Stewart needs to learn to do more than just chew on her lip and stammer to show emotion (Watch her in The Runaways and you will actually forget she is Bella. Great job in that one.). Robert Pattinson--I apologize for ever doubting you. Yes, you are a pasty white boy (thanks in huge part to the whole I'm-a-vampire-who-can't-spend-time-in-the-sun thing) and you will never rock Taylor's unnaturally-sculpted-for-a-16-year-old-kid abs, but I have grown to love you. You are everything I imagine Edward to be and you are only more so in the latest movie.

I went into "Breaking Dawn: Part 1" with mixed emotions. Excitement over another extension of my favorite books. Sadness because this means we only have 1 more movie left. Dread over having to listen to Jacob's whiny, halting, over the top way of spewing dialogue, his awkward, loping gait and the way he shows every strong emotion by squinting his already beady eyes and blowing air out his too tiny nostrils. Also, my dates had to cancel on me so I was left to provide snarky comments to no one but myself. (Actually, 2 girls ended up sitting next to me that shared my sense of the absurd and we hit it off and had a great time.)

That being said, I have to tell you that this movie is by far the best one yet. There's a lot less romantic drama this time around and more grown up, how-do-we-deal-with-these-impossible situations kind of tension. Yes, there is still romance--hello, honeymoon! Bella's reminiscing over their first night? Seriously HAWT! But now these two have made decisions that are affecting their entire future together, which is literally forever. They've gone beyond high school emo/angst and now have to deal with marriage and being part of something bigger.

And in the middle of everything is Jacob--still hopelessly in love with Bella. I have to give Taylor Lautner a break. I actually felt like he was getting the whole acting thing this time around. And if you really sit and analyze the books/movies, Taylor Lautner is perfectly cast. Yes, he truly loves Bella and is heartbroken over her choosing another. But it's like Bella points out--Edward isn't playing a game. Bella and Edward are in deep while Jacob is supposed to have just that touch of immaturity that insists he knows what's best for Bella despite what her heart desires. At one point Jacob even sports some facial stubble and, strangely enough, I started to take him seriously for once. Even Kristen Stewart seemed much more at ease. One of the things that drives me crazy in the first 3 movies is that no one ever smiles. Granted, they are dealing with psychotic killer vampires and love triangles but in the books, Bella has moments of happiness. It never shows on screen. That changed in "Breaking Dawn". Bella smiles--alot. And when Edward buries his smiling face in his pillow in an attempt to shield his eyes from Bella's seduction attempts--I fell in love again. (Hey, and no cougar comments here. This is all fiction, remember?)

THE scene--you know the one, post honeymoon, pre-change, Bella's about to deliver...something--was a surprise. I thought it was done very well. I can't give away any details though. If you've read the books (and you wouldn't sit through this entire post if you hadn't) then you know what's coming. Let me just say--sooo good!

My only major complaint is 1 particular scene. Only 1 scene in the whole movie but it's done so poorly and so cheesy that I found myself cringing in a "For the love of all that's furry and sparkly make it stop!" kind of way. The scene involves the wolves communicating telepathically. How do you get that across on a movie screen? Answer: NOT the way Bill Condon does it. The error wasn't in the concept but in the execution. We don't just hear their voices, we hear exaggerated versions of their voices. It was so over the top I almost expected to see Charlton Heston step out of the woods carrying 2 stone tablets.

But the rest of the movie was great. And as you're watching it you just know--KNOW--where they are going to leave it and yet when the moment comes you are still left a little stunned. "You can't end it there! I want to see Edward's reaction! I want to watch Bella rake Jacob over the coals for imprinting on Reneesme!" (Terrible name, by the way). But it had to end. Unfortunately. Now all we can do is watch it a few more times in the theater and then snatch it up when it comes to DVD. And count the days until the final movie premiere.

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