Movie review: Twilight

Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment LLC
It must have been hard work condensing a 500-page book into a two-hour movie, but the screenwriters did a very good job of it.

Lisa’s rating: 3 out of 4 stars

As a devoted, but not obsessive reader of the “Twilight” series, I headed into the theatre on the Saturday night of opening weekend not quite knowing what to expect.

Most movies based off of books are not nearly as good as the original book, but I was still very excited to see “Twilight.” I was prepared to be disappointed, but boy was I wrong. The movie lived up to all of the hype that it had generated.

“Twilight” is based on a book of the same name, written by Stephenie Meyer. It is a Romeo and Juliet type love saga about an ordinary young teenaged girl, Bella, whose life changes completely after she falls in love with a vampire, Edward. Their relationship is tested immediately by their differences: Edward’s craving for Bella’s blood, his immortality. When another vampire hunts Bella, their love is put to the test.

The movie is nicely cast, with Kristen Stewart as Bella and Robert Pattinson as her handsome vampire lover, Edward. Stewart fits nicely into the role of Bella. She is able to be frail, nervous, and plain, while somehow at the same time, strong and beautiful, and does a good job of bringing out Bella’s character.

Pattinson is every bit as dazzling as Edward was described in the book, and not only has the ability to provoke tons of “oohs” and “ahs” of admiration from young fan girls as he walks onto the screen, but plays his part well as a serious, protective Edward with dry humor. The two of them work well together and have great chemistry as their love blossoms.

I certainly did not expect such a romantic drama like Twilight to be funny, but it was extremely funny! I found myself cracking up at lines that were actually in the book itself, but magnified in humor by the way the characters’ acting and expressions. Billy Burke, who played Bella’s father was laugh-out-loud funny. Jackson Rathbone, who played Jasper Hale, one of the vampires in Edward’s “family” used facial expressions that were simply hilarious!

It was a relief to those who have read the book to find that the movie barely strayed from the plot of the book. Most movies based on books make dramatic, often unnecessary changes in the movie storyline, leaving a bunch of unhappy fans. Although there were, of course, changes made, they were very subtle.

It must have been hard work condensing a 500-page book into a two-hour movie, but the screenwriters did a very good job of it. I would have loved to see more of the plot and character development that made the book so great, but then the movie would have to be about 10 hours long. Of course, if I had it my way, I would have it 10 hours long in order to truly portray the depth and development of the love between Bella and Edward.

Also, I thought the music of the movie was a great touch. The songs are what set the mood and drove the story. I especially liked the song selection in the baseball scene and at the very end of the moving.

There are some changes I would make to the movie if I had the opportunity though. The movie effects aren’t strikingly great, since they had a fairly low budget. Some of the effects I really liked, such as the way the movie was sometimes viewed through Bella’s eyes, which sharpened the image of the person or object she is focusing on and blurring out the rest. However, I wasn’t very satisfied with the scene where Edward is lying in the meadow, the sun making his skin sparkle. It was supposed to make him look breathtakingly majestic and dazzling, but in the movie, it just looked like he had put some sparkly lotion on.

Another aspect in which I was slightly disappointed about was the Cullen family. They are all such distinct, interesting characters, and I would have liked to see them have more parts in the movie.

Overall, I think that this is the best book-to-movie remake that I have ever seen, and it was almost as good as the book itself. By the end of the movie, my friends and I, the last ones to leave the theater, just wanted to stay and watch the entire Twilight series onscreen.

I admit that those who have read the series will probably appreciate and understand it more than those who haven’t, but even so, it is a great movie that is definitely worth your time.