Movie Edward vs. Book Edward: An In Depth Discussion

As stated in my last post, Eclipse is a little over a month or so away. Like with any fandom of a movie that began as a book, we are anxiously holding our collective breath to find out what this movie is going to look like in the visual and how it's going to compare with our beloved novels.

This got me to thinking one day while re-reading the series back to back over a two day period: how do I feel about the movie versions of these characters in comparison with the books? For example when I read the books, I am completely team Edward. It's not that I dislike Jacob, it's just that I don't see how there would be any confusion as to who is right for Bella. It's just how it is. And that has a lot to do with Edward and Jacob's personalities. But I have to grudgingly admit that while watching New Moon, I found myself self slightily leaning towards Team Jacob simply because of the way the characters are portrayed in the movie by the actors.

Now before you Robsessed lovelies star making little vodoo dolls of whatever you think I look like, put down your pins. I am not attacking the actors, Robert Pattinson especially, and their acting abilties (I'm going to give the poor guy a break because he's a Taurus like moi and today IS his birthday). This is strictly an objective attempt to analyze the dynamics that an actor brings to a character that was written originally for a novel and how that can change the tone of a character and what the audience takes away from each form.

Believe it or not, this is really important, because if the actor makes certain choices (and to be fair and specific, the actor does base his a good portion of his choices on the mood of the script and its direction, so Melissa Rosenberg has to take initial responsibility for any failures to properly translate the book's character to screen) whether they are in agreeance with canon or deviate, this does change how we feel about that person, and in particular the story itself.

For the most part, I feel that the actors' portrayal of the various characters have been mostly spot on with my perceptions and imagination of the book's characters. But then, to a certain point these characters are not the dominant ones in the book, so primarily my discussion will be about Edward and Bella/Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

This week, we'll start with Robert Pattinson and his portrayal of Edward Cullen.

Edward (The Book Version)

When the reader first hears about Edward Cullen, of course she's seeing him through Bella Swan's eyes. We know that he's hot as hell for lack of a better phrase and that Bella is almost immediately drawn to him and later, we find out from Edward himself that he felt the same way about Bella and then some! A few pages later, Bella's first encounter with Edward is, understandably, unpleasant at best. Edward wants to kill Bella and he's thinking of all the ways he could, so appealing is her blood to him, that he can do nothing but clutch the desks tightly and hold his breath. But he does somehow maintain self control all while simutaneously being enthralled with the fact that he can't read this human's thoughts, and (shoot me, I did read Midnight Sun last month, finally, when I felt like Stephenie was never going to finish it) being physically attracted to her as well.

As a vampire, Edward does have the ability to compartmentalize his thoughts, but to have such a flow of emotions going on all at once says a lot about who Edward is as a man as opposed to the low opinion he's had of himself for the past eighty years. I have to say that I never thought Edward was a jerk to be a jerk. As Bella stated, you could clearly see it was as if he was struggling with befriending her for a reason. As he and Bella started working their way to each other, what attracted me most to Edward was despite his angsty and brooding nature, there were glimmers of a man who (and I'm sure this carried over from his life as a human) was very witty and playful. I think sometimes when he was with Bella he was suprised at himself for being able to be that way with her (not to say that he wasn't that way with others, but considering the seriousness and intensity of the situation...you get what I'm saying). But we see later on in the series, especially with his relationship with Alice, that while he is all EMO-ed out at times, he can see the folly in many things and can make jokes about his situation. In other words, he can be un-serious. And those were some of my favorite moments of Edward in Twilight during the meadow scene. It was like watching a flowre began bloom in the early stages of spring.

All in all, I felt the book version of Edward had a lot of depth and different sides to his personality and that is something we can all relate to. No one is just all of one thing. He was relfective and having lots of that inner turmoil that we think is so sexy, but I liked that there was evidence that he didn't spend his whole life shut in his room doing nothing but brooding over the mysteries and tragedies of his unlife.

Edward (Movie Version)

In terms of Robert Pattinson's interpretation of Edward, I have to admit that I do have mixed feelings about this issue. In the aforementioned, I stated that a lot of this is really through no fault of Pattinson's own. The fact that he could get through some of the dialouge that Melissa Rosenberg gave him and other actors, is pretty much a a huge feat in its own right and he should be commended for it because he did the best with what he had for sure. Another part also recognizes that as brilliant as Rob is in the early stages of his career, he is still very green. It is clear that he did study this character in depth and that he was committed to telling Edward's story to the best of his ability. I felt this in Twilight even more so than I did in New Moon. I've also said that compared to Robert's other film characters, he's having to be something that he really is not and cannot relate to in anyway, and that's being an American male around the first World War. Now, not that any 24 year old could know what that feels like, obviously, but if you are an American, you have some type of experience to draw on because you have a grandfather or a great uncle or a neighbor, someone who you know that was born around that time that you draw from, and being a part of that American fabric there are things that you innately can pull from just because. And he has not had enough experience to be able to do the type of stuff that Meryl Streep does (which is basically be every nationality and be perfect with almost all accents under the sun). So these are the things that I had to consider even before delving into Robert's portrayal of Edward.

And this is where I am confliced when it comes to the movie Edward.

In this movie version, Edward comes off as a bit of a caricature for me; as if we're being winked at as to the fantastical being that is Edward. Robert plays him brilliantly as serious and tortured, but sometimes I feel like it's all a bit too much and I'm thinking, "Was Edward like that all the time in the book?" And that makes certain scenes that I've come to love in the book annoying when I'm actually seeing it. For instance, when Edward reveals himself to Bella in the film version, I was completely apalled. In the book, this scene was heartbreaking, a bit scary, sexy, romantic, and FUNNY all at the same time. Again this is Melissa's fault because of the way she had Edward tell Bella he was a vampire. Bella earned Edward's trust after keeping the secret about his saving her from Tyler's hideous van. When he realized that he could tell her almost anything, he bought her to the meadow. I have to say for all the things that I loved about Twi (the movie) this was one that I was slightly dissapointed because it changed how I felt about Edward. It had none of Edward's subtle qualities, such as his sense of humor displayed in that moment and that was sorely needed to lighten things up a little.

This is not to say that Rob didn't try to work in some of those qualities into the scenes. The vampire baseball scene comes to mind. And had they would have left in the deleted scene of Edward telling Bella her number was up, I would have totally been silenced on Edward's lack of playfulness. That would have been perfect and balanced everything out in the end.

I kind of feel like Edward is so depressing in New Moon, almost from the very first scene (although there were a few light moments) that I don't get why Bella would want to be with such a Debbie Downer. And then Jacob comes in all sunny and happy you feel like you can breathe again. And for the record, even during Edward's dissapearance in the books, I didn't care how much Jacob was there for Bella, I was still all about Team Edward. This is what I mean when I say it all comes down to the little nuances these actors give their characters and how the screenplay unfolds. It can really give you a totally different view then from canon.

A lot of people attack Rob's "constipation" or "consternation" face that he pulls out during almost every scene. I won't say I agree whole heartedly with this as I believe this is method of showing how Edward is constantly trying to keep his baser urgers to devour Bella, either literally or figuratively, in check. Can he go over board at times? Yes but, in general, I feel that this is, at least in the first film, is on par with how Edward was in the book. Edward says at the end of New Moon (the book) that he's basically lost any feeling of temptation when it comes to drinking Bella's blood, after their run in with the Volturi, so I'm hoping that in Eclipse Rob will translate a more relaxed looking Edward on screen.

So there you have it. My little two cents on the war of the Edwards. Next time I'll be discussing Bella and the clip that Apple released of Eclipse. Until then... en vino veritas!

Views: 137

Tags: Analysis, Books, Character, Cullen, Edward, Moon, New, Pattinson, Robert, Saga, More…Series, Twilight

Comment by Twilighter76 on May 13, 2010 at 11:48am
I love Rob and he's sweet and talented BUT I SO MUCH PREFER THE BOOK EDWARD. There is something missing from the movies.
Edward isn't a wuss and he isn't emo. Edward in the books is strong, has personality and witty. I'm just sad we don't get to see that.
And what's up with the ridiculous faces Edward makes when kissing Bella in the movies ? It's awkward. Maybe Rob just looks weird when he kisses I don't know.
Comment by Satyana on May 13, 2010 at 11:52am
i prefer robert in twilight.. and hate the kissing in New Moon.. he makes strange sounds like he's about to throw up! and i'm pretty sure i heard same sounds in the new eclipse trailer!
Comment by Layna_Lane on May 13, 2010 at 12:30pm
I agree with your assessments Victoria- I always thought book Edward had a lot more lighter moments where he was actually funny and sweet but as far as that factor in the movies go- I blame Melissa. I can honestly say that I wish they would have dumped her after Twilight, I don't think she's that great. And you're right, Edward would be a hard character to relate to and is something you can only try to understand. I think Rob did his research, he lived in Portland alone for several months before production to get in the mind set of just being alone but you can only do so much with the material and the direction you're given and he did well. I'm not going to really touch on their ticks as actors, in Twilight especially, because in my opinion all the young actors were green. I don't care how long they've been doing it and yes I'm including Kristen in that lot because she has them too. We know (or hope at least) that they'll learn and get better. I will say after watching NM Taylor's performance was the only thing that could possibly make me like Jake even a little because I can't stand book Jake. Lastly I was just as disappointed with the meadow scene in the film- it was the creation of the entire series, it was the best chapter in the book for me and it should of had some more attention. So here's to hoping MR gets it right for Eclipse but I won't hold my breath...
Comment by Chastity on May 13, 2010 at 1:15pm
i sooooooooo totally agree!!!!i love book Edward!!!he is funny and serious,but he is in a lighter mood and not always so serious.and that goes for bella as well.....she is suposed to be happy and totally unserious joking around!!!!!she is so bubly.but in the movies they are ALL TOO SERIOUS....i think they should bring out the happy and cherfull side of the characters the one in the book wich is soo lost in the movie most of the times....
Comment by Carooo on May 13, 2010 at 1:46pm
Book Edward ♥
I LOOOOVE Rob, seriously but book edward is so yeah especially in book one yeah so funny, lovely & so careful. I think Rob could play Edward like this too, but the films ar too shhort. But Robert does his best :)
Comment by Satyana on May 13, 2010 at 3:21pm
if you're going to kiss a person for the last time.. you just don't make that sound... at least you dont need sounds to make it intense! kissing was much better .. and sexier in twilight ;)
Comment by catherine on May 13, 2010 at 8:16pm
yeah I agree. Screen Edward definitely leaves some things to be desired. He totally sucked in New Moon. Book Eddie is soooo much better. It's the subtler instances in the book that shape his character. Rob hasn't gotten there. In the Twilight movie he was easier to be attracted to. I seriously hope he got it together in Eclipse. I mean really. I can't take much more disappointment. I love the books. Make me love the movies! Melissa might need to lift few more lines from the book because some of her dialogue has me cringing; it's so freaking maudlin! I know it has teen themes and all that but seriously does it have to be filled with all the corny s*** from teenage years. Like even on the clip today when Eddie said the against her will stuff. . .jeez man. Get it together. It's Melissa's fault really. I mean Rob can only do so much! (*crosses her fingers. . .*)
Comment by Kit on May 14, 2010 at 7:18am
I agree wtih pretty much everything you said..
I don't believe Melissa Rosenberg did a very good job of bringing the essence of the book to the big screen.
She misses key points, and turns others completely around.

One example from New Moon........after Bella cuts her finger, and is thrown out of the way....Edward is the one who stands protectively infront of her.....protecting her from his family....even though the smell of her blood for him is pure torture.....he still does it, it takes everything in him to do it....and in the movie...Carlisle goes to her and just puts his hand up......I mean..COME ON !!

The whole scene was about Edward protecting Bella...from his family......FROM HIS FAMILY......that's when he realizes he must leave to protect her....it's a hugely pivitol scene !! But in the movie...he just stands there.....with this weird look on his face....and then walks away.

Horrible writing Melissa.....HORRIBLE.

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