sort of liking the book Twilight, I was curious to see the movie. I liked the second half of the book because things actually happened, so I figured any movie adaptation would focus more on the action and be forced to leave out some parts of the story. Imagine my surprise when I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the movie and found the second half rather underwhelming.
Stephenie Meyer is not much of a wordsmith. I don't mean to malign her. I think she can write a compelling story, but I am not wowed with her command of the English language. The clunky, dull first half of the book was mesmerizing visually. The backdrop of the Pacific Northwest became a character in the film; it's beauty was stunning. In the book, many things seemed redundant and over-the-top, but the film used finesse to introduce the audience to the characters.
Kristen Stewart was fantastic. I haven't seen her in anything but interviews, and I was amazed how much I enjoyed her performance, how much she enhanced the character of Bella, and how little like herself she was. Bella didn't annoy me. I liked the movie Bella; I rooted for her. I would hang out with this Bella. I also admit, Robert Pattinson was good too. I still don't buy him as a Greek godlike character, but I don't think he needs to be. This Edward was good. The characters I found most annoying in the book were the superfluous high school friends: Jessica, Mike, etc. All of the bit characters shined in the film. Yes, they played on teen drama conventions to illustrate their attributes, but it worked. More importantly, it was all far more believable than the way Meyer wrote it.
I enjoyed the film more than the book, which reinforces one of my problems as a reader: I'm immensely distracted by poor structure and writing. While Meyer won me over by the end of the book, it took a lot of action to make me not focus on her often awkward prose. Her characters are good, and the story was good. It's not great literature, and few will argue it is, but it is entertaining. As a reader, I couldn't get past the writing, but as a movie watcher, I could focus on the characters and setting from the beginning. I was impressed how true to the book the movie was. There weren't new characters, and there weren't characters left out. It was the same story, but it was told better, largely due to wonderful casting and fantastic actors.
After seeing the movie, I'm actually excited to read New Moon and see the film.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Running time: 122 minutes
Release date: it's on dvd now
Source: I rented it from Netflix