For many months I've heard the women in my life raving about the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. They are facebooking about them, discussing them in the hall at school, and counting down the days until the movie was released. I have largely ignored all of this because I have learned the hard way that where women are concerned, I share very little movie and book interests with most of them. Any time romance is involved.
Not that I'm a romance grinch. You see, I have the privilege to be blessed with better than happily ever after. In all the romance novels and movies the heroine rides off into the sunset and lives happily ever after. It has not been easy, but Shawn and I have reached a very deep level of love and commitment that I have yet to see reflected by any romance novel or movie. Therefore, instead of being awed by the romance genre, I laugh hysterically at the lameness of it all.
Sorry, I got sidetracked. Shawn was desperate for something to read while deer hunting last week and picked up Twilight. He said it was pretty good, if you could get past the romance stuff. So over Thanksgiving while I was exiled from my internet connection I read Twilight. And New Moon. And started Eclipse. And saw the movie. So here are my thoughts.
I truly enjoyed the books. I was intrigued by the vampire/werewolf/human interactions. I thought Meyers did a good job developing her plot and her characters. She was engaging and I had a hard time putting the books down. In fact, I didn't put down New Moon at all, but read it from start to finish in one sitting. I enjoyed reading about the struggles of Bella, the heroine, in discovering herself and balancing her love for her parents against her desire to be with her vampire boyfriend. I thought the meadow scene in Twilight was one of the sexiest romance scenes I've ever read. Meyer did a really great job capturing the heat of the "first touch". That moment when someone that you're attracted to touches you in a romantic way.
Now for the critique. A couple of times in the books, I did laugh hysterically at the romance stuff. (other than that, I thought they were excellent)
1. Edward and Bella cannot have sex...it's complicated....he's a vampire and is afraid that he will lose control in the heat of passion and accidentally eat her for a snack....so instead he sneaks in her window at night and simply holds her in his arms while she's sleeping. They also have lots of long talks in the evenings as he explores her mind and gets to know her. He wants to know every single detail there is to know about her. Here's my problem.....What 17 year old male (or any breathing male who's straight) do you know that could lay down beside his smokin' hot girlfriend in her bed every night and only want to kiss a bit --- and talk? About her --- always? Seriously? In fact....I think I would go totally insane from the never ending foreplay. I laughed till I cried when he probed her with insignificant questions for 3 days. Men don't even know themselves that well, much less want to know their girlfriends that well.
2. Edward is very protective. There are good reasons for this, but to me Bella seems a bit owned. I don't like relationships where the woman is owned. It is hard for me to believe that the dude could be an ass, and she still just adores him with absolute love and sincerity and forgiveness. They can't even make up properly!
So my only complaints about the book are about the romance stuff...so not bad. Now for the movie. I thought it was completely lame. I don't do chick flicks....because I tend to think Hollywood's portrayal of romance is shallow. So you can take this critique with a grain of salt. If you love chick flicks, you would probably love this movie. But here's my critique of the movie:
1. Insignificant details were changed for no apparent reason....kitchen cabinets should have been yellow not blue. Bella needed to wear a sleeveless white eyelet shirt in the first scene. The vampire's house is large and white, not modern and brown. She wore a high-heel shoe to the prom. She was bitten on the hand, not the wrist. I am annoyed when screen writers change details from the book that are not important to moving the story along. I understand the need to alter some events so that the story can take place in a shorter time frame, but to be untrue to the book when you could have been true is just irritating to me.
2. I didn't buy the relationship. There wasn't enough development about how Bella and Edward moved from hatred, to friendship, to love. I know some of it was time constraints, but I just wasn't sold on it. I didn't feel the heat between the two of them.
3. I thought the vampires were portrayed as preps instead of dangerous, beautiful people. It seemed to me like maybe we were trying to recreate High School Musical with vampires.
4. The meadow scene was a disaster. Definitely not one of the top sexiest scenes ever in a movie. In fact, not even very memorable. (And I was really looking forward to it.)
Now to be fair....I am rarely pleased with movies if I've read the book first. There are honestly only two exceptions....Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Noting Twilight's success in the theaters, it seems obvious that most people don't agree with me at all. Which leads me to the last part of my blog.
The audience for these books and the movie really intrigued me.
1. Teenage girls and young single women. This is pretty obvious. Intriguing romance.....danger.....being loved by a god-like male who thinks you are fabulous when you are really ordinary......and they are truly very well-written books. Definitely understand this audience. As a younger woman, I probably would have bought the movie and watched it repeatedly with my girlfriends while we oohed and aahed. So this audience is totally cool with me.
2. Middle-aged women. This audience really confuses me. Why are they so ga-ga over a teenage romance? The discussions I'm hearing are not following the plot line and the vampire saga, but the romance. I'm pretty much coming up empty on this one. Is it that these women feel insecure and like the idea of a male who would pursue them passionately for all of eternity? Or do they like the idea of immortality? Or do they like that there is no sex, just romance? I don't know. Yet again, I am demonstrating my lack of ability to fully understand the female mind. Somewhere I missed out on some female genes, I guess.
So that's my opinion. Take it for what it's worth. Enjoy the books....wait and rent the movie.