After watching Twilight I got curious enough to read the books. I bought the whole collection one Saturday and read them all in little over a week. Then I read them again. Then I found the draft for Midnight Sun and read that (I thought it was a published book and was a bit disappointed when I couldn’t find it on sale anywhere. I wish Stephenie Meyer would finish the thing already).
Compared to the books, the movie really isn’t that great. My review still stands and the baseball and prom themes felt just as silly in the book as they did in the movie, but the intimate way the books are written, the level of detail and the sincerity and complete lack of mocking tone made me really get into the story. All the emotion is very melodramatic but the truth is that I do remember feeling that strongly as a teenager and it rings true in that sense.
That doesn’t mean I would recommend these books to anyone. What I said about the movie is true about the books: the target in mainly female. I’m sure a lot of older women like myself are able to enjoy the books as much as teens do because it’s easy to relate to feelings you’ve had in the past and feel like a teenager again as you read them.
One thing I didn’t expect is that I found some parts really funny. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or if it was just me but I actually laughed out loud a couple of times. One detail I liked was the way the chapter names change in Breaking Dawn when it changes from Bella to Jacob’s point of view – from chapters simply called ‘Gesture’ or ‘Unexpected’ we move to chapters like ‘why didn’t I just walk away? Oh right, because I’m an idiot’ or ‘You know things are bad when you feel guilty for being rude to vampires’.
I realise that admitting to liking something like the Twilight series makes me go down a few points in some people’s estimation but I fail to see why I should care about that. I’ve always been a fan of mindless escapism. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, I loved Bridget Jones’ Diary and read the complete Princess Diaries series after I was 30, and don’t feel the need to apologize for any of it. I like harmless fun.
It all started with Jane Austen, actually. Just because her books are now considered classics, and therefore a more suitable read, doesn’t mean they don’t fit in the same category. I’m a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice and there’s no doubt that Twilight gets a lot of inspiration from it. Actually, there are very few romantic comedies that don’t actually steal from Miss Austen.
I’ve read other romantic classics after Austen, like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, etc, and I like them too but none of them had the same innocence and optimism that I loved in Austen so I started looking elsewhere.
Even knowing the movies can never get close enough to the enjoyment I got from the books, because they’re too compressed, I couldn’t resist going to see New Moon last Saturday. As a movie, I think it’s better than Twilight. At least it’s a more ‘normal’ film. There’s less mushy stuff and more action but I still feel like laughing when I hear the people involved trying to sell it to guys – it’s still not a guy movie, I’m afraid. Less vampire, more werewolf but still a chick movie.
I liked that they kept it close enough to the book to not feel confusing after having just read it. It felt a little flat, emotionally, after the book, but that was probably just me. It’s a fun movie, well paced, well acted and with lots of half naked guys, so nothing much to complain about.
As for casting, even though I saw the Twilight movie before reading the books, I can’t really see some of the characters as the actors. Rosalie feels different and especially Bella and Edward, even though the actors did a great job, I just picture them differently. But quite frankly I couldn’t say what actor would look closer to the picture in my head so that’s hardly relevant.