Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tepid on Twilight

I finally saw Twilight last night. I watched it with my 17 year old son who has not read the book, and it was fun having the persepective of someone who is the same age as the protagonist. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I would like the movie or not because I've read so many snarky comments on different blogs and on Twitter. So as I watched, I was influenced by these comments I've read, what my son thought, and my own impressions of how the story should go based on my reading of the book. My verdict...the movie successfully brought the book to life. If you didn't like the book, then don't bother with the movie.

First of all, the movie stayed very close to the plot of the book. Of course, with a massive built-in audience, the moviemakers didn't have a lot of choice. Alice looked different than I mentally pictured her, and I imagined the vampires' sparkly skin to be more rainbow-like, but overall the movie was true.

When I think about the snarky comments, I think they speak more to story than to movie-making. Paranormal romance is hot right now, and I read a lot of it. My favorite paranormals are edgy. Heros and heroines must find their way to one another through the most extreme situations. I like romantic suspense for the same reason. Twilight just isn't edgy enough for the adult paranormal romance reader. Of course, Twilight wasn't written for the adult paranormal reader. Yeah, I know...Meyer uses Edward's vampiric tendencies to enforce her own moral agenda, but as writers we get to make those choices. A whole bevy of teenage readers love it.

This brings me to my own teenager's reaction. "Too much lovey dovey...not enough action, but it was okay." He's a boy, so this isn't surprising. Given a choice, the men in my family would choose an action flick over a romantic comedy any day of the week. We did have a fun conversation about vampire powers, and he totally picked up on the fact that in this story sex=death. He wanted to know what powers I'd given the vampires in my story and why. I liked that he was interested.

Given that New Moon, the second book in the series, is heavy on angst and lighter on action than the first, I wonder how the movie folks will compensate. Honestly, I'll probably wait for the video again.


  1. I didn't like the book but thought the movie was pretty good. It had a plot, where as the book...not so much.

  2. I need to read the book. From what I've heard, I'm not going to like it.

    I actually started reading the book the other day, when I was babysitting for a friend who had it on her bookshelf. I read the first chapter (all 28 pages of it) and was not impressed. The writing seemed very young and amateur -- like the book was in need of some serious slashing by a ruthless crit group. Bella came across as a whiny spoiled brat, and the characters were such extremes I had a hard time reading because of all my eye-rolling.

    But I can't judge it without reading it... so I need to read it. The idea that sex=death is not one I'm keen on. Sure, we don't want teens having sex, but when you tell girls that having sex is evil, then you ingrain in them an idea they won't magically outgrow once they say "I do." We need to stop making sex something evil and start talking about it honestly, and explaining to teens why they want to wait to have sex (instead of trying to scare them into compliance, which is obviously not working anyway).

    Sorry for the rant... I get carried away on this topic.

  3. Rant away! I agree, Criss. And I'm not sure she conveyed the message she intended. *spoiler alert* Bella and Edward wait until the fourth book and marriage to finally have sex, but not because of the sancitity of marriage and all that...they wait so he won't kill her during the act. LOL...then they finally have sex, she gets pregnant the very first time, and almost dies in childbirth. Nothing like pounding you over the head with a morality stick. The message doesn't glorify waiting. It villifies sex.

    I will admit that the idealized love story speaks to adolescent girls. Honestly, most romance novels idealize relationships. No matter how good our real life relationship is, it can never live up to those standards.

  4. (Well, since I have your permission... :P )

    I think that makes this whole story worse. I hadn't heard the pregnancy and near-death in childbirth part, but the "let's get married AT THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN because we love each other so much" makes my blood boil. Teenage girls are melodramatic enough -- very few people find "true love" in high school. (My sister married her high school sweetheart, but they waited six years and broke up several times between high school and marriage. They experienced life before jumping into the chapel.)

    I think it is now my mission in life to write YA romances where the girl ends up SINGLE and HAPPY -- fulfilled, complete, independent -- at the end of the book. :P

  5. Hey Kathy,

    Hmm. Actually, this was one of the few instances where I loved the movie, and am tepid on the book. I think it's because I don't like reading first person POV as much.

    Oftentimes, I see the movie, read the book, see the movie again. The book's detail helps me appreciate the movie the second time, without ruining my expectations of "it's not like the book!" when I first see it.

    I am reading the book now, and I do like it...just not as much as I did the movie. A good example of loving both is "Sideways." Saw the film. LOVED it. Read the book. LOVED it. Saw the film again. Loved it more.

    Good post though, and good insights...I keep wondering how the book would have been if it were written in 3rd person instead of 1st.