A MinD in MoTown

I’ve come to suck your blood.

(Warning: This contains a few spoilers about Twilight. However, the real warning is that today’s blog is rather long. But really, it all had to be said. If you want to skip this post altogether – either because long blog entries frighten you or you don’t give a rat’s behind about Twilight – feel free. I’m sure Matt and most other males will, so you can, too, I suppose.)

As some of you may recall, I caved about two months ago and bought Twilight despite a strong urge to disregard the series entirely. I’d heard a lot of negative comments about the book – everything from a juvenile plot to Mormon undertones to being poorly written – which, for a long time, swayed me into completely believing that a vampire tale geared primarily toward teenagers would not hold my interest.

The TwitPic from when I bought the book.

The TwitPic from when I bought the book.

But, at that point, the hype became too much to bear. The movie was just released to DVD and I was feeling somewhat like I was on the outside of an “inside” story. Being “out of the know” is rather unpleasant for a journalist as utterly nosey as myself. Thus, I felt compelled to drop $12 on a text I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy whatsoever simply for the relief of understanding, or simply knowing, what the commotion was all about.

And I unexpectedly found myself quite engulfed in the tale of Bella and Edward. To say I was shocked at my eagerness to finish the book would be putting it mildly. It was as if I needed to know what would happen, rendering me almost powerless against Stephenie Meyer’s words.

I’m not about to spoil the book for those few of you who may not have read it. Though I will say that I was certainly swept up into the “high school love” the text possessed. I’m sure it’s just a “girl thing,” but it was rather easy to associate with the strong emotions Bella, the main character, felt and how enthralled she was with Edward, even if he was a vampire. I also seemed to enjoy the back stories, if you will, into how each vampire came into that new life of the undead. I’ve always found vampires and all tales concerning them fascinating – hence a love for the Underworld films and HBO’s True Blood – so that was a definite point of interest in Twilight.

However, with the good, there was the bad.

The text seemed contrived, without a doubt. The pieces fit together far too perfectly for the plot to continue its path, and I found that more than a little bothersome at times. Even the sub-conflict of the book – personally, I’d consider the love between a human and a vampire to be the primary conflict, but obviously the “action” toward the latter half was another issue that needed resolving – seemed forced, as if the author realized 300 pages into writing that a more defined antagonist and climax was necessary. That entire sub-conflict, if you ask me, was probably needed, yet truly left much more to be desired, including a more believable/valid explanation into its occurrence.

Also, a vampire that glitters? Come on! For the purposes of Meyer’s setting – high school – Edward obviously needed the ability to walk in the daylight, thus the immense cloud cover of a Washington-state lifestyle seemingly fit well. And then the author had to toss in the glittering effect a vampire’s body had when the sun shone, and I found that aspect ridiculous. I know my opinion matters little – but if you’re still reading, you have some interest in what I’m saying about this book – but it’d be perfectly plausible for vampires to be day-walkers so long as they avoided direct sunlight. There was no need whatsoever for a sparkly Edward, unless an entirely preposterous, laughable element was deemed vital, and I highly doubt that.

Lastly, it took me at least 50 or so pages to actually become invested in what I was reading. I didn’t expect to suddenly feel an attachment to the story, especially considering the wall I had already built between Twilight and myself. But the book took me nearly two weeks to read because for almost 18 percent of it, I found it dull and rather lackluster, leaving me unimpressed. But in sticking with it, I couldn’t pull myself away from the pages. I just wish it hadn’t so long to get to that point. I can imagine several readers finding the beginning portion somewhat tedious and never finishing the book as a result, and that’s a shame.

If I was forced to choose between either “good” or “bad” concerning Twilight, I’d go with the former. Sure, it had its pitfalls and disappointments, but like I said, the book wasn’t written for an adult audience, so how much blame can I seriously place on it for those faults? With that said, they remained apparent distractions that I simply can’t overlook.

….. My rating? 3.3/5 …..

Twilight: The Movie

After finishing the book, I definitely craved more Twilight, as sad as that sounds coming from an almost 24-year-old. So within three days, I rented the movie, finally ready to visually see if all the film buildup held merit … and it most certainly DID NOT. That’s right, I hated the movie SO MUCH that I’m busting out the caps lock.

First, let me explain that I’m the kind of person who very strongly believes that if you make a movie BASED ON A BOOK, one should do EVERYTHING in his or her power to keep that 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours as close to the author’s narrative as possible, and Twilight fell extremely short in doing so. Because I’m refraining from divulging the story itself, I can only list a few small examples I saw throughout the film (and please keep in mind that there were huge, overshadowing changes as well to the general plot):

  • Jacob and Billy Black certainly appear much later in the book than they do in the movie, with a completely different introduction – as well as a slightly less-close relationship – than the film portrays.
  • An entire character – Lauren – is missing. And while that relationship wasn’t vital to the story, her lack of appearance in the movie was noticed.
  • Prom in the movie/not prom in the book.
  • People died in the film that weren’t even mentioned in the text.
  • Bella never had a cell phone and corresponded with her mother via email, mostly. Do I grasp that the book was published in 2005 and cell phones were slightly less pervasive? Yes. But regardless, Bella’s only 16. Not having a cell phone isn’t entirely unfathomable.
  • I don’t recall Edward climbing up trees with Bella in the book. Did I entirely miss that?

twilight_dvd_artworkAnd these are just a few points that clouded my viewing abilities.

Need I even mention the poor manner in which the plot was pulled together for the short film timespan? I actually find it hard to believe viewers would grasp the story in front of them without having read the book.

Poor film quality, poor special effects – although I did enjoy the baseball scene – and a rather childish portrayal of the book. I also find Robert Pattinson (who played Edward) rather unattractive and I don’t believe Peter Facinelli fit the role of Dr. Carlisle Cullen well whatsoever. Need I even mention how ABSURD the diamond-glittering vampire-in-the-sunshine effect was?!?!

My boyfriend, who was forced into watching Twilight to begin with, found the movie so pitiful, so immature, that he left the room only halfway through, refusing to accompany me for the remaining hour. He has never stopped watching a movie with me before just because he wasn’t enjoying it (and I’m talking about some real crap that has graced our TV). His departure says a lot.

I absolutely hated this movie. I was left utterly disheartened and unsatisfied. I expected better, for sure, and was quite frustrated at myself for having wasted two hours of my life watching that disaster of a film unfold. Whoever truly took pleasure in that trainwreck – yep, I’m talking to you (possibly) – is clearly a nutcase.

….. My rating? -7 (that’s a negative)/5 …..

Despite all of this, I purchased New Moon (and I’ve already heard I should keep my expectations low) over the weekend, curious to find out what happens in the saga of Edward and Bella. But, believe this, I have no plans nor any desire to see the movie. None. At all. Perhaps I’ll change my mind if pigs fly, tap water tastes like Coca-Cola and I grow to be 5’6″. If all three of those things occur, we’ll talk. ‘Til then, no chance in hell will I waste my cash money on that craparoni.

15 Comments so far
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After spending nearly a month in Washington, it’s not always cloud covered. I was visiting my sister there and she is hardcore into the books. I watched the movie while there and, like your boyfriend, found myself laughing and disgusted by it. For as popular as the series was, I thought the movie would have good visual effects and a nice story. Even without reason the books, I could tell there was a lot missed (such as the scene when she is walking inthe alley way and the guys surround her. Edward saves her and they talk while one the car but the whole scene sucked. My sister explained how the book played it out and it wouldn’t have been hard to put that into the movie). The way the author changed everything about vampires did upset me. Edward sparkling made me laugh. Hell, make the sunlight reveal the demon in him would be better then him looking like a cheerleader with too much glitter.
They need a better director for the next movie, look what Peter Jackson has accomplished with the books he brought to film. I agree with your rating for the movie. I’m a huge movie fan, an if the movie was stand alone(not based on the book series) it would’ve been the biggest joke of the year…but the hardcore fans don’t care.

It seems like it would fit well on “The N” tv network as a series lol (and I do watch “The N”…but mainly for That 70’s Show)

When did your sister move to Washington? I thought she lived in Hawaii…

Comment by Jonathan

One year ago this month, chuck got transferred there. They are think Germany next but hopefully he will get that white house job in 2011

Ah, okay. From Hawaii to Washington, what a bummer. But D.C. would be nice, I’m sure, and much closer to you guys.

Comment by Jonathan

I’ve read the whole series and it DOES get better. I especially enjoyed Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. You learn even more on the backstory on the Cullens and various other vampire covens they know.

I agree that the movie was badly directed, choppy, and could have come out much better in the end. New Moon does have a new director as far as I’ve heard. The effects look better too. Have you seen the trailer? Much of New Moon focuses on Jake, so I think the actor who plays him will steal the show.

I’ve also heard the series gets worse… I hope you’re right though!

I’m refusing to watch the Trailer because I’m literally on page 1 of New Moon, so I don’t want its plot to be spoiled in the least bit (I know absolutely nothing about it). But maybe I’ll write my thoughts on New Moon once I finish. I hope this movie is better, though I can’t imagine it getting much worse.

Comment by Kristen

I have to say, the first book didn’t win me over until the baseball scene. Then it got really going. The movie, the first time I saw it, I nearly went crazy because it was SO F*CKING BAD. But then I watched it months later with lower expectations and liked it more. The trailer of New Moon looks good though, or better than the first.

I was hooked to the book before the baseball scene, but that part was a nice insight into the vampire lives. I def enjoyed that, and that’s clearly where the book took a turn in the action. I can see why it took so long for you to be “won over.”

Comment by Jessica

I read the first two books in a weekend and loved them…and just completely fell in love – which does sound stupid for a grown up person! I really got entangled more in the way he felt for her and the intensity of it all… *sigh*
I’ve not seen the film and don’t know if I will for fear of a)getting annoyed at the changes or b)falling more in love. Unlike you, I love Pattinson almost as much as I love Edward, so I think the film is far too dangerous to watch!

The trailer for New Moon looks right good though and gave me goosebumps, looks and is apparently much better than the first, but they have gone and changed even more of the book 😦

The intensity was a strong pull, wasn’t it? That’s what I got caught up in, even as a grown up, ha. You’d probably find some fault with the movie, but I bet your love for Pattinson would make you lean toward enjoying it. He portrays Edward pretty well, if you ask me. But for me, who doesn’t find him good looking, it’s tough to look at him as Edward – who was the epitome of amazing in the book – and feel that same connection to the character as I did in the text. Lame, but true, ha.

Changed more of the book in the new movie? Damn. You think they would’ve learned from the first one! How unfortunate.

Comment by pinkjellybaby

The thing was, I knew who played him in the film, so through out the whole book, I was picturing Edward and RPatz…so I kind of fell in love with them both at the same time.

Yeah, in the book he says he won’t sleep with her/change her unless she marries him….in the film apparently it’s something else. But that’s kind of the whole point of the next book (3) so I don’t know what they’re doing!

I knew it was Pattinson as I read the book, too – considering I just finished it last week – but still couldn’t picture him. Strange, isn’t it?

I haven’t started New Moon yet, but why would you combine elements from the third book into the second movie? That would take away the need for a third book, so you’d think. And I’m pretty sure I’m just reading to see if he does change her to a vampire. I kind of want him to do so… And somewhere, through someone, I heard it eventually happens. I guess I’m reading ’til I get to that point.

Comment by pinkjellybaby

It was the glittering that did it for me. Hell to the no. Give me True Blood!

For sure. That glittering was WAY over the top.

Comment by LiLu

I appreciate the disclaimer!!!!

You are welcome.

Comment by Matt

I was never interested in that series of books. I too heard about the crazy LDS (Latter Day Saints/Mormon) subtext. Several people even mentioned that the vampire-ism is actually a metaphor for AIDS, crazy no?

I saw the movie as a feeble attempt at impressing a girl and her cousin. It was a horrid experience! I held my tongue as best I could, but the monkey, tree climbing scene was where I cracked and burst out laughing uncontrollably. Glowing vampires, playing baseball, and climbing trees like monkeys…*sigh* vampires have been done a great disservice.

A metaphor for AIDS? Really? I did not hear that one, that’s for sure. I mean, looking at the book, I suppose it’s a possibility though… Or maybe it’s people just reading far too into the text.

The vampires were definitely portrayed differently than someone interested in vampire lore would like. While I liked the baseball game, the glowing and climbing were too ridiculous to believe. I guess that girl you were trying to impress didn’t find humor in your laughing at the film though, huh?

Comment by omegaradium

I’m not a Twilighter, and have no interest in the books or movies. I’m afraid if I picked up a book I’d get sucked in…

And you would. I had zero interest, then finally caved. Now I’m sort of hooked.

Comment by Ronnica

Definitely not a Twihard here….

… My roommate owned the books and I was looking for an easy read. Which is what I found. Then they took me out to the movie.. opening day. dear lord. NEVER AGAIN. (obviously, but you won’t see me there for any of the others!) …

I finished the books, but as I mentioned before, I was miming seppuku during a lot of it.

Also.. The vampires as a metaphor for AIDS… I don’t think I heard AIDS, but other STD/STIs… My friend who was going on the rant about that never read the books, but has read a lot of vampire lore (and lit theory stuff too I’m guessing)…

Finish at your own risk. But I recommend not spending money to do so.

Well, I already spent the $12 on New Moon. We’ll see how this one goes before I delve into Eclipse.

And opening night of Twilight must have been a disaster! All those little teenage girls everywhere. ACK! I heard teens were painting vampire bite marks on their necks as they attended the first showings. Creepy. Totally creepy and weird and so many more words I could think of.

Comment by rini

like harry potter, this is another book/movie series that i simply DO NOT GET.

I tried reading Harry Potter, but after watching the movie, I was far less interested in the books. I suppose I didn’t want to ruin the images in my mind of Hogwarts, etc. That’s why I read Twilight first, and now I can’t enjoy the film. Talk about a double-edged sword!

Comment by thatShortChick

I didn’t read the book. I swore off the movie, until one day, I bought it. I fell in love.

After 8439543 times of watching it, I realized that I just fell in love with love because I’m a lonely-ass soul surrounded by New Jersey guys who don’t know their hearts from the penises (though isn’t that everywhere?)

Back to Twilight – my biggest HATE (caps lock, just for you) of the movie is Kristen Stewart’s acting. It sucks. I was thinking “How in the hell did the director let this happen?” and “Is she really that awkward in real life?”

After watching some interviews of her on YouTube and seeing her on the more recent MTV Movie awards, the answer is: YES.

She’s a noob.

But you’re not! Just thought I’d swing on by. I always see you on other people’s blogs that I read, so I thought I’d stop in and say YO, and complain about Twilight and NJ guys and my loneliness.

Hahaha, well thanks for stopping by!! I def wonder if my opinion of the movie would have been different if I hadn’t read the book, but I guess I’ll never know. And I think that’s why I liked the book: I love love, as lame as that is. I’m such a sap for a good love story!

The number of times I’ve watched 27 Dresses? 123892357892357235. Juno? 528925389023 (x) 13753952. It’s sad really.

And I grew up in Pennsylvania, so I know what a Jersey guy is like. Ha. Good luck with that!!

Comment by Katie

I have endless opinions on the book and the movie, so I could talk forever. But,yeah, you can’t approach the movie seriously, because it is a disaster. But, if you watch it for fun and laugh at things like “spider monkey” and dazzling Edward, it’s much more enjoyable. I don’t have any problems with the changes they made, except for the tree climbing thing. Many of the changes corrected problems with the book, because Stephenie didn’t write it with any intention of writing sequels and Jacob is important to the sequels.

I’m so happy that you were engaged by the book, because if you don’t have that, then you just see all the problems. And there are a lot of problems.

Part of my initial love for it had to do with being from Western Washington, of course.

New Moon is okay. My favorite to read was Eclipse. And Breaking Dawn is a book that I could rage against forever. I can’t tell you how many times a friend and I have ripped it to shreds.

Since I haven’t read New Moon yet, I don’t see Jacob’s importance, which may be why that bothered me. But perhaps as I read more of the series, the changes to the movie will make more sense.

It’s interesting that part of why you love the books is the western Washington setting. There’s an author – Tawni O’Dell – who writes about Pennsylvania, coal mines, mentions Penn State, etc. and I love her books, and part of my reasoning was that I could accurately picture the settings she discussed. I’ve gone on more coal mine tours than I can count, and being from PA, it’s easy to relate to her novels (which, if you read just one, go for Back Roads. It’s amazing!).

Comment by Ashley

I have read Back Roads! It’s a great book. I think I picked it up years ago because Oprah told me to.

Yep, it was on Oprah’s book club. Tawni O’Dell spoke at Penn State – she actually lives in State College, about five minutes away from campus – and I went to see her. She talked about being chosen by Oprah. She also mentioned the book is eventually supposed to become a movie. I hope that’s true, but if so, that they stay very accurate to the plot.

Comment by Ashley

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