Eight Days, Eight Tickets, One Movie

I've been holding off my thoughts about one of my most anticipated movies of the year, mainly for two reasons. First, I could hardly contain my excitement about it. And lastly, I want to be able to wear off the effects of the movie on me enough to provide an objective view about it. Part of the challenges in reviewing a book-to-movie adaptation is assuming a point-of-view that rightly deserves it. For many occasions, I was able to treat the movie separate from the books and enjoyed it. However, for some inexplicable reason, this didn't apply. Never have I felt so personally invested in a movie that somehow merely becoming a plain movie critic couldn't encapsulate my sentiments about it. For the first time, I feel compelled to bring in my thoughts as a fan of the books as well. And maybe, it'll be a good thing... I think.

[Cue in Full Moon by The Black Ghosts. LOL. Sorry, couldn't resist including this bit.]

Okay, by now you're probably going to ask me if indeed, I watched Twilight eight times. Yeah, I did and I'm proud to say that. After screening it for the first time (much thanks goes to my Totally Cool Pals), I never got tired of it, so much that I wanted to experience the movie in as many ways as possible. How? I did say eight right? Well, here's how it went down:
  • I watched it in an advanced screening reminiscent of the LA Premiere aura (Day 1);
  • I watched it with a heterogeneous crowd of office mates on regular film format (Day 2);
  • I watched it alone, laying comfortably in a La-Z Boy chair with a generous helping of popcorn and drinks (Day 3);
  • I watched it during my first ever visit to the newest addition to the Ayala chain of malls up north with a handful of Pinoy Twilighters, one of which I successfully convinced to mentally close her ears in one pivotal scene (Day 4);
  • I watched it in digital format with my movie buff friends who treated me to the best seat in the house where we all literally fell for Edward, err... Rob (Day 5);
  • I watched it in digital format again, but alone this time because I couldn't believe that it took me that long to fall for Edward, err... Rob (Day 6);
  • I watched it with three of my Totally Cool Pals in digital format wherein one of us screened it for the first time and we both gave the same apple rating (Day 7); and
  • I watched it with another Totally Cool Pal in digital format who was supposed to join the day before but got sick (Day 8).
It's been 3-4 days since my last screening and my excitement for the movie has worn off a bit enough to lay down this review. During my first screening, I was asked if I were to rate it out of 10 apples where 10 is the highest, what would it be? I gave the movie 7.5 out of 10 apples, which is a passing rate in my book. This despite constantly nitpicking during the entire movie (so sorry, CdL, since you were getting the brunt of my side comments while we were exposed to cute squeals behind us).

Why 7.5? Well, it was a good adaptation, I think even a faithful one. Operative word: good. It retained most of the key plots of the book, as Melissa Rosenberg (MR) said, a condensed version of it. Adapting a 500-page novel, especially one with a built-in and highly expectant fan base, is no easy chore. I liked that MR and Catherine Hardwicke (CH) exercised some liberties to make the movie as palpable to non-readers. This became apparent when I screened the movie for the second time as they couldn't stop talking about how good/great the movie was despite their lack of knowledge of the series. My barometer: they didn't squee when Stephenie Meyer, the author, appeared on screen.

The most notable one for me was bringing in the Nomad threat earlier, when in the book, they appeared towards the last few chapters. Another notable but successful deviation was bringing in Victoria (excellently played by Rachelle Lefevre - she gets 10 apples in my book) during the prom to suggest a looming danger to Edward and Bella, which created that LOTR effect among non-book readers. I have heard a lot of people say "bitin" once the credits rolled thus, making that deviation effective. Some minor deviations like the gadgets used by Bella (Mac book, iPod, Nokia cellphone), the Volvo C30 (which became the surprise, scene-stealing star in all of the 4 minutes it appeared), the tres chic Nike house as the Cullen mansion, and the Cullen's Crest (nice one CH, nice one) contributed to the visual feel of it. The action sequences were very visceral; I was flinching a lot during the confrontation in the ballet studio especially when I watched it in digital format. I think the right actors were beautifully matched to their characters. I could see and feel CH's signature in the movie. My love grew with every single screening. However, I did rate the movie with a 7.5 and that may leave you to wonder what's the 2.5 for me, which didn't change even after eight screenings.

The major issues I had with the movie can be found in two key scenes. First is when Edward saves Bella from being crushed by Tyler's van. The image above is from that scene. My issue is that they didn't use any F/X to illustrate Edward's vampire speed when he leaped over Bella's truck. They used it generously in other scenes (i.e. Edward opening Bella's door when she first visited the Cullen's mansion), why not in this one? I mean, any human with a 20/20 eyesight, like me, wouldn't miss Edward's human-style leap-frogging. Unless he had Hiro Nakamura's or Piper Halliwell's time-bending powers that I didn't know of, that bit made the scene all wrong for me.

The second is the fact the neither Edward nor Bella say the words "I love you" to each other in the entire movie. Sure, there were many scenes illustrating that their love grew over time. I didn't even mind that they glossed over the thick dialogues in the book for more subdued yet suggestive scenes and indirectly-phrased declarations ("I only dream of being with you forever."). Shoot the hopeless romatic in me but there's nothing more wonderful than hearing those three little words to seal it all in. Stephenie Meyer never found it corny to say "I love you", is it corny now for typical American teens to say it? Well, to quote Iris Simpkins, "I like corny. I'm looking for corny in my life." Saying "I love you" might be corny for some but sure is hell not for me.

Other minor faux pas, which can be found in Twilight's movie pages in IMDB.com and MovieMistakes.com, took a piece of the 2.5 but among the endless sites that pointed out what lacked in the movie, only the one posted by ReelzChannel.com got my earnest agreement and a big "Hell, yeah!" after I completed reading their list. I differ on their number 4 and 6 though since I did like the subtleties of its presentation in the movie. But, that's just me.

However, I don't want to end my thoughts on a sour note. I haven't shared my favorite scenes in the movie. These moments left me wishing that I have Michael Newman's remote control in the theater if only to replay them over and over again.
  • Edward and Bella coming in Forks High School officially as a couple. This takes the number one spot for me. Simply because I've guessed and secretly hoped that Mute Math's Spotlight would be the background music for this bit way before the movie was released. And boy did CH make my hopes come true! I liked the fact that Rob had that James Dean aura while trying to share what their schoolmates thought about them and Kristen being conscious in the process.
  • The vampire baseball. Perfect, perfect, perfect! Muse's Supermassive Black Hole was spot on for this. My love for Jasper Hale/Jackson Rathbone increased ten-fold. I mean how cool can he get with the baseball bat... LOVE! And Alice Cullen's/Ashley Green's graceful ballerina form as she pitches, I'm impressed. Total JackAsh-er! Hahaha. Rob and Kellan's reactions after falling from their mid-air body slam was heartwarming and adorable. The bonding off-camera was very apparent as this is the only scene where majority of principal cast members were together. Imaging shoot that in Portland's highly unpredictable weather.
  • Edward and Bella talking in the restaurant after the Port Angeles incident. I read in one of the many behind-the-scenes articles that Rob Pattinson stopped the shooting which concerned CH and decided to pull him away for a short talk. He admitted to feeling that he was falling for her (whether he refers to the character or the actress playing it, I'll never know). CH said to Rob, "then fall." And I felt that on screen when Rob as Edward said "I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore." Neither do I Rob, neither do I. Just enough to yearn saying the line "then don't" back at you. *sigh*
  • Charlie, Renee, Billy and the Volvo. All the scenes that featured those four characters are repeat-worthy for me. Yes, I consider the Volvo as a character. Charlie flicking his shotgun -- major flashbacks to traditional Pinoy flicks with meet-the-dad sequences. Renee asking if Bella was being safe. Billy being "down with the kids." And the Volvo in full drift mode, if that's not a solid advert I don't know what else is. I want to have that car, or Alice's Porsche Turbo. In yellow, of course. But red for the Volvo. Personal reasons. =]
  • The prom. Much thanks to Kristen Stewart, Iron & Wine's Flightless Bird, American Mouth is now a solid contender for the most played track in my mobile phone. I am in love with that song and coupled with that scene speaks romance in volumes.
  • The montage before Bella woke up in the hospital. If only to hear Let Me Sign by Rob Pattinson.
  • The B/W end credits. Very CH. Radiohead's 15 Step is another most played track contender. It was also apparent that there were tons of footage that didn't make for the final cut but was used creatively. The headshots/profiles used for the Cullen men (Carlisle, Edward, Emmett and Jasper) were all gorgeous and pause-worthy if only to stare at it for as long as you want.
  • The kiss. I don't need to elaborate on this. I'm going to my happy place as I remember it in my head. *sigh*
Whew, that's some lengthy review. And that sounds like a haiku. LOL. I cannot wait until the DVD comes out and replay the movie over and over again like any true-blue Twilighter.


xoxo, l.p.


    Whew that was lengthy! :) Had to take breaks in between before I finished reading the whole post. LOL.

    Glad you enjoyed it. Wonder when the next flick is coming out?


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