I was in the movie theater opening night (seeing a different movie). Saw the line-up of teenagers snaking down the hall and nearly out the door for a movie that didn't start for another 20-30 minutes. Wondered how long the group at the front of the line had been there.
The previews didn't grab me. The TV hype didn't grab me. I haven't read the books. The fact that a bunch of pimple-poppers gave up an extra 90 minutes of their Friday evening to catch the movie on opening night wasn't really a big sell either. Top that with the fact that both my 11-year old son and 25-year old au pair wanted to see the movie - clearly, this would be one that I would miss.
I've seen it twice. I'm a convert. I even got Betty to go see it with me.
- I'm a sucker for love stories. Not so much vampire stories. But at the end of the day, this was a love story.
- Robert Pattinson, as Edward, was hot. I'm horrified to say that. He's 22. Technically, if I'd gotten busier a little earlier, he could have been my son. And he was playing a 17-year old. I'm kind of grossing myself out, but he was H-O-T. Hot. My only consolation? Technically, in the movie, he was over 100 years old, so really, he could have been my sugar-daddy.
- I liked that all the high school kids were pretty normal looking kids. Not all 90210-ish. They looked like kids you could find going to school at a rural Washington high school.
- I liked that Bella was the heroine, and was pretty in a normal, natural way. And not that fake "ugly at the start of the movie, pretty at the end" kind of way Hollywood likes to do. She was real. Dressed real. Drove of a piece of crap truck like you're supposed to do in high school.
- The small tweaks to typical vampire legend were interesting, as well as the way they wove it into Native American myth. Kind of taking it out of the Eastern European, dark, dank blood-sucking genre. Liked the sparkly thing.
- Vampires have much better taste in housing and decorating than I expected.
- The scenery was beautiful. We've been out to Port Angeles, but not to The Push, and not to the rest of the places out on the Olympic Peninsula. Guess where the next in state trip for the Chakos will be?
- The sexual tension was KILLING me. It was awesome, and kudos to the directors. Seeing it the second time was almost better, for that aspect. The way he was physically affected by the scent of her blood. The way you could hear her breathing when they first kissed. The way her chest rose and fell. The franticness of the first kiss. You could feel his restraint. It was the agony of firsts all over again. But with better cinematography than I remember in my real life.
- My 11-year old saw an action film. He even tolerated (and liked?) the love scenes, primarily because it was critical to setting up the conflict between the vampire clans. He loved the fight scene in the ballet studio. Chick vampires ripping heads off appeals to him, apparently. He's psyched for the sequel.
- My au pair saw a movie about chaste and pure love. The theme of restraint is important to her, and her Christian values, and as she prepares for marriage. She found it inspiring that Edward, because of his love for Bella, had to exercise restraint and suppress his baser instincts. "Remember who we are," struck a chord with her, in a society that constantly challenges her values.
- I saw a movie of instinct and passion. That the director captured perfectly in looks, smells, the way a jaw clenched, a muscle flexed, the distance between faces. I sat with my hands over my mouth a good portion of the time, holding my breath. Feeling it in the pit of my stomach. Not knowing how it would end. Wanting love to win out.
So if you're a disappointed reader of the book series, I'm sorry. You're going to have to learn how to detach the screenwriting from the book - it will never be the same. But for those of us who haven't read the books, I think they did a great job of making a movie that appeals to a broader range than you might expect.
Not quite Oscar material . . . but ladies, go stare at Edwards lips, flushed red, and see if you don't want to throw yourself in front of that sparkling, immortal bus . . .