I finally watched Twilight this past weekend, and I considered writing a review, since it has been one of the most talked about book-into-movie productions lately. I realized, though, that my review would have been made up of ways in which the movie fixed several of the problems of the book, most notably the pacing and the introduction of the conflict that wasn’t the romantic one. I tend to be of the opinion that books are better than the movie that is made of them. Most of the time, it’s not a matter of quality as much as it is a matter of form: you can do things in a book that you can’t do in a movie.
In the case of Twilight, I think the movie benefited from knowing the end of the story – they snuck in James and the bad guy vampires earlier, in a way that Stephanie Meyer somehow failed to do in her revisions, so they didn’t come as so much of a surprise three quarters of the way through the book. I found Bella more likeable in the movie than I did in the book. (Don’t hate me, crazy devoted fans, although, really, what are you doing reading this blog? Did you miss our ongoing joke about the horror that is Breaking Dawn?) I think the distance from Bella’s narration – and her inner thoughts and personal observations – helped me to appreciate Bella more as a lead character without getting annoyed with her the way I did in the book (and in New Moon and Eclipse ….)
The biggest triumph of the movie as a successful re-telling of the book was that there was no major plot element left out for the sake of brevity (I’m looking at you, here, Prisoner of Azkaban) and I could without reservation recommend that a fan of the movie just go ahead and jump into reading New Moon if they wanted more of the series. They’re already planning to turn that one into a movie, as well.
Unfortunately, Twilight: The Movie didn’t address any of my concerns about the weird power dynamic between our leads, or the creepy messages about the dangers of female sexuality, but I’m not sure there was any way to tell the story of Edward and Bella without the creepy.
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