First of all, let me start off with a few of my impressions of the movie BEFORE I saw it.
As casting took place and actors were announced, I was disappointed. Robert Pattinson was not MY idea of Edward. Not good-looking enough, mainly. But then, to be fair, I don't think there is a man alive who could measure up to the Edward of my imagination.
As for Bella...well, even though Bella is supposed to be an average-looking girl, Kristen Stewart as she appeared in PR photos, etc., just seemed too...too...nondescript. Every picture of her, every video clip, showed her with her mouth hanging open and a vacuous, helpless expression on her face. The Bella of my imagination is Every Girl in appearance, but smarter-than-the-average-bear.
I saw the movie twice this weekend. Once alone (as alone as one can be in a packed theater, lol!) and again with three boys: a freshman, an eighth grader, and a sixth grader. I liked the movie the first time I saw it. It was "okay." Not as good as the book, of course, but then, no movie ever is.
I had to make one admission, though. I'd been wrong about Rob Pattinson. He is a perfect Edward. He is much better-looking than I'd previously thought. But most of his perfection as Edward stems from his amazing acting talent. He played the role with just-right broodiness. OMG, that intense, sexy stare! He captured Edward's internal conflict with subtle facial expression, tone of voice, perfect timing. I could sense the danger in him, but also the sweetness.
My second viewing of the movie gave me another opportunity to analyze it, and this time with even more clarity than before. This movie is more genius than I originally realized. Here are the reasons why:
1. It captures the essence of the book, which can be difficult when trying to condense a story into two hours of film. Even though some of my favorite scenes from the book were left out (like the one where Edward skips bio class because it's blood-typing day and Bella ends up passing out because she can't stand the sight/smell of blood), it still for the most part portrays the poignancy, the internal conflict, the danger, the overall FEEL of the book.
2. The way it portrays the poignancy of the relationship between Bella and Edward.
One of the main appeals of the book, I think, is the underlying sexual tension. Stephenie Meyer wrote a book that has not one sex scene...barely a kiss...yet it's one of the most sexually charged books I've ever read. The movie got to the core of THAT very well! Edward's intense stares, the first kiss between them...*sigh* But the best part of the book's sexiness is that it's about love and abstinence and self-denial.
I propose that one reason teenage girls (and middle-aged women!) love this book is that while Bella is such a temptation to Edward, he is willing to suffer, to sacrifice what he really wants--her blood, and on some level, her body--for true love. He chooses to be with her even though it means he must deny himself what he wants most. He chooses to be with her even though he knows he must "never lose control with her." Every girl and woman on Planet Earth wants to believe that a man can want to be with her for reasons far beyond just physical ones. He knows he can never have a physical relationship with her, but he loves her, anyway.
The scene of the "first kiss" in the movie, where Edward almost-but-not-quite loses control, and the subsequent montage of Bella and Edward sitting in her bed just talking and spending time together, captures the balance between the sexuality and the innocence of their relationship perfectly.
3. It's not ALL romance. The suspense is well-done, as is the climactic action scene in the ballet studio.
4. Comedic relief that I didn't expect. One name. Charlie. 'Nuff said.
5. Casting Robert Pattinson as Edward.
I predict that most teenaged girls will see this movie more than once. Maybe more than twice. Heck, I'M up for a third viewing! I know that if I were a teenager, I'd definitely be seeing this movie over and over again, and when it came out on DVD, you betcha it'd be one in my collection!
Oh yeah, and those three teen boys who saw it with me? As we got into the car after the movie, the freshman said, "That movie was tight!" And the other two agreed. :-)
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3 years ago