A MinD in MoTown

Team Jacob.

On Thursday, at midnight, I did it. I stood in line with hundreds – seven theaters worth, so that’s my assumption – of teenage girls, book-loving adults, whipped boyfriends and a few others to see New Moon.

And I loved it! Maybe it’s because I started the evening with some SoCo and Yuengling, but the book portrayal was pretty close and Taylor Lautner truly embodied the character of Jacob Black to a tee … and we remember how I feel about Jake, right?

Like many others who saw the first saga film, Twilight, my expectations for #2 were rather low. But with a new director on board – and previews that seemed a bit more promising – my anticipation got the best of me and I bought my ticket a few days in advance. And to say I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome on the screen would certainly be an understatement. Though when you’re expecting subpar, I suppose it’s rather simple to go above and beyond.

Although there were some obvious flaws – including the rather-forced Volturi/Italy scenes, (though it was that way in the book as well, but moreso in the movie) and the slight differences between the book and film (I get it, time constraints, but the movie should always stay as close as possibly to the book context) – I think New Moon was summed up pretty well on the big screen.

….. My rating? 3.7/5 …..

With that said, seeing this movie at midnight (despite the liquid courage) made me more certain than ever that I loathe teenage girls. I’m clearly beyond that point in my life – thank God! – and highly annoyed by masses of them surrounding me at once. I easily could have done without the Ooooing and Ahhhing whenever anything remotely male or sexual occurred. But I knew what I was getting myself into and I’m still fairly glad I took the first opportunity possible to see the latest Twilight installment.

I’ll probably go see Eclipse at midnight, too. I’m super awesome like that. Now, how many months do we have left…? June 30, 2010 cannot come soon enough. I’m already jonesing a Jacob-fix!

P.S. I’ve always been this big of a dork. This is just more proof of that.

I love this tee-shirt!

I must be 14 years old again.
New Moon

New Moon book cover

That’s right, another Twilight post. Er, New Moon rather. And the only reason I’m writing about it is because, damn it, I can’t get the book out of my head! Trust me, I’d avoid writing about this topic if humanly possible, but I have so many things swirling through my mind and not a single soul I *actually* know (to my knowledge) has read the series. Thus, I turn to my blog – which is typically far more serious than this post will be, so I’m extremely apologetic if this is your first visit – to get my rant on.

If you haven’t read New Moon (or Twilight, for that matter) yet, or you are waiting for the film version and prefer to avoid spoilers, stop reading immediately!

…Any lingerers still here? ‘Cause you’ve been properly notified that I might ruin the story for you.

…Last chance.

Okay. I want Bella with Jacob. That’s right, I said it.

I read Twilight and although I had numerous issues with the book – mostly coming from my English-degree standpoint – I continued the series because I truly enjoyed the tale of Bella and Edward. I had wanted to see their love flourish and grow, plus discover if/when Edward decided to make his love a vampire and how that would unfold.

And then the breakup occurred in New Moon, and like I probably would have reacted if the same event happened to a real-life friend of mine, I grew quite angry with Edward. I saw it coming, of course, thanks to a spoiler I accidentally read, but that one event changed my feelings toward a character who I previously held in high regards, concerning this storyline anyway.

So when Bella started turning to Jacob to fill the “hole in her heart,” or at least ignore its existence, I could feel the same butterflies in my stomach as that friendship blossomed into something a bit more. Jacob put his feelings on the line on multiple occasions, hoping to win over the still broken-hearted Bella, and it was difficult not to cheer him on. Perhaps somewhere in my head, he was the kind of boy that my teenage self would have wanted, saying all the words a girl that age – or hell, even older maybe – would want to hear. To me, Jake was written as the guy every girl would be lucky to call her own.

I was rooting for Jake, through and through. And then with maybe 100 pages left in the book, Edward returns and any hope for a real loving relationship between Bella and Jake becomes little more than a memory. With her Edward-relationship seemingly blissful again, poor Jacob is thrown to the side and become little more than a friend, though more like an enemy.

Once Edward made his reappearance, I was notably less interested in reading. I was perturbed that he could just apologize, offer a few hugs and kisses, and instantly be forgiven. And all the while, this other guy who genuinely cared for Bella was dismissed without another thought.

New Moon made me dislike Edward, and I wonder if that will change as I continue the series. I’ll most certainly be purchasing Eclipse later tonight and reading it as soon as possible. But I’m also remaining on Team Jacob and crossing my fingers that these books don’t turn out as I’m expecting them. For once, I’d seriously like the underdog to win the girl.

P.S. Please don’t tell me what happens. I’m assuming what will go down already, but no confirmations or denials, if you don’t mind.

P.P.S. I need to find more serious, thought-provoking topics to discuss here before my blog becomes overwhelmed and overrun with my thoughts on Twilight. I desperately tried to avoid writing about this series – for a second time – but sometimes, I need to use this blogging outlet as it was intended, for my each and every share-worthy thought, rather than just somewhat intellectual garble.

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.