‘Twilight’ won’t leave me alone

22 Jul

Perhaps my skull is thicker than most, but I’m the kind of person that it really takes time for things to soak in.  For example, I have to watch films over and over to really get a handle on what they are all about.  The beauty of a good film/story is in the details, and so many times I find my mind racing to keep up with major plot points that I miss all the juiciest bits the first time in the theatre.  I don’t know how movie reviewers do it!

‘Twilight’ has been one of those experiences for me.  After seeing the trilogy in the theatre, I checked ‘Twilight’ out from the library.  This film franchise continues to speak to me on a very personal level, so I’ve decided to devote a few more posts to the topic.  I hope you’ll indulge me.

(Please remember that I am writing from a movie-watching experience only.)

The music has haunted me.  The score certainly, but the soundtrack rocks my world.  It has lodged itself between my ears and won’t come out.  It amazes me how perfect the music is for the film — certainly the musicians knew what story they were writing for, but even so, I’ve seldom seen such a beautiful fit.  The music of a film is so significant it can either make or break it.  When the music is right, it helps tell the story…and keep the story alive in the heart and mind of the viewer even after they’ve left the theatre.  ‘Twilight’ got it right.  I actually woke up yesterday hearing the music play in my mind.  So I bought the soundtrack.

The baseball scene.  Just wow.  Need I say more?  Fab-u-lous editing that began with fab-u-lous planning in storyboard choreography.  All of my filmmaking friends in editing have gotta see ‘Twilight’ just for those two minutes of pure fun.

Funny story that probably no one will laugh at except me: So I’m walking into the mall before it opens one day, earphones in, jammin’ to ‘Spotlight’ as I pass by Banana Republic when a men’s outfit grabs my attention.  It’s nearly a copy of Edward Cullen’s trench, and I totally crack up right there on the spot in front of all the mallwalkers.  Yeah.  All you guys out there who go around saying ‘Twilight’ is just for chicks.  Yeah.  It hasn’t affected you at all.  Edward Cullen is fashion forward, baby.  Make note.  Go get the trench.  And then get the girls.

This morning I watched the film again with the characterization of Bella in mind, and I realized the answer to what’s been bothering me about her.  In all the narration, in all her dialogue, there are loads of information about her circumstances, but we don’t learn anything about her.  Lots about what she is doing, but nothing about what she is being.  The compassion that I instantly felt for her was based on her situation as a child of a broken home.  But as that evaporated over the course of the movie, I found my only compassion for her based on my love for the character of Edward.  I wouldn’t want anything to happen to Bella…for Edward’s sake.  Not for her own.  It feels as if Edward truly should have been the main character rather than Bella, and three movies into this franchise, it’s a little late to be remedying the audience’s need for a heroine they can care about.  By this point it’s a bit moot.

Along the lines of characterization discrepancies, there is one other issue that’s under my skin with no hope of remedy.  Have you ever had a friend go away for a long time, and when they came back there were indefinable ways that they had been physically altered by age and time?  When I’ve been reunited with old friends, I always catch my breath.  If they’re so different on the outside, are they that different inside?  What do you mean their life went on without me?  With any film franchise, we do expect a little change.  In the case of ‘Twilight’ and ‘New Moon’ just a small change, mind you, considering only a year had passed between filming the two.  But the change in production staff (director, designers, etc.) leads to a much more substantial change.  ‘New Moon’ may be a bit off topic here, but the dramatic change of appearance among the Cullens who I grew to love in ‘Twilight’ leaves me feeling unsettled and wondering what has changed so much in their lives in just a few months that they would look so different without explanation.  I hate it when filmmakers do that.  Note to self: when making a sequel, do myself a favor and keep the small details as much the same as humanly possible.  Please.  Don’t mess with the hair.  As we say in Oklahoma, if it ain’t broke, don’t toss millions at it trying to fix it.  Loyalty to source material is good.  Loyalty to the story that’s already been halfway told is pure gold.

Watching the special features made me a fan of Catherine Hardwicke.  She made me consider the importance of making films just for teenagers, films that capture their imaginations and help shape them into the adults they will become.  How important it is for me not to set aside my own story ideas because I think they might be too juvenile.  How important it is to be professional but also remain a child at heart in loving your craft and those you work with and the audience you work for.

I promise my next ‘Twilight’ post won’t be so superficial.  I’ll let you in on where the subtext of the film took me.  Not to Forks, but to the monster within.

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