Last night, while in the chat with the same group of people aforementioned in Alison's posting, I decided It would be fun to do an assessment of one actor from the movie per week. I myself am an acting major at Columbia College in Chicago, so by default the subject is of interest to me (not to mention my obsession with the series...). Now, when I began this entry I had planned to do an analysis of Kristen Stewart (Bella). As it progressed, though, It turned into something more along the lines of my thoughts on the movie. I think it's important that this topic is established before I try to get into the specifics of the actors. Thus, this first entry is regarding Twilight The movie. Feel free to comment and discuss. I have opinions, and strong ones. I expect you to have your own, will respect them, and expect the same. I will most probably not, however, agree with the majority of them. But that's a part of the fun, isn't it? Enjoy!
Now first, let me first clear up what I believe is a huge and common misconception amongst Twilighters: Much of what many of us are deeming 'bad acting' really stems from directorial issues. An actor can only do so much with what he or she is given. Personally, I feel that a lot of fans have been a bit too harsh on the actors, particularly Kristen Stewart, when a lot of what people have problems with came from the director. For example, the infamous biology class scene. When Bella entered, many people felt that Edwards reaction was, in fact, an overreaction and perhaps a bit melodramatic. Many people have blamed this on Rob and Kristen, faulting bad acting; as if the dramatic music and slow-motion shots had nothing to do with the problem. In their defense, I really feel that the cheesy impression we were left with is a result of flawed directional choices. Rob and Kristen didn't call the shots or angles, were told when to move and where, how to react to each other, etc. From there, they're left to their interpretations. With what direction and scripting they were given, I'd say most actor's would have a hard time delivering a scene like that with minimal cheese. Which brings me to another point:
The book. Sitting in the theater, watching the movie, and on the subway home from the movie, people were continuously snickering and mocking some of the sappier moments in the movie. Examples of such were the aforementioned biology scene, the lion/lamb dialogue, and Edwards sunlit exposure. Now, I am the kind of person who appreciates things for what they are, for whatever purpose they are intended to serve. I have always known that Twilight is the farthest thing from reality, that it is frankly, quite melodramatic, sappy, and contains significant cheesy dialogue. I also recognize that these are all the reasons I was bitten and smitten in the first place! I get the impression that a lot of fans had unrealistic expectations going into the movie. It's easy to accept fantasy, forbidden love, and all the drama that comes with Twilight when it's left up to our imaginations to play it all out. When it becomes tangible and you see it with your own eyes, it's harder to relate to. I mean, how many thousand of girls out there have lost their hearts over the phrase "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb"? It has become the source of ridiculous numbers of internet tag-lines and female fantasy. In writing, it's poetic, beautiful, heart-warming, and envy-striking. Now again, how many of us heard that bit of dialogue in the movie and cringed a little? Hearing the words out loud, they suddenly seemed a little cheesy and awkward -- laughable, even. I expected this, and accepted it. It appears that most, however, didn't . Don't blame the actors, it's in the script. I would be truly impressed if any actors could deliver those lines without getting snickers in response.
Another point of controversy has been Edward's sparkly skin. Really, people, what did you expect? Stephenie describes him as having what looks like thousands of diamonds embedded in his skin. He sparkles in the sunlight. It really could have been so much worse. I was actually impressed and appreciated that the effects team went with less, rather than more. It was subtle, but made enough of a point. Any more would have just looked terribly tacky.
I will say, however, that the sound effect ruined it for me. As they lay in the meadow and the sun shines through the cloud banks and we have a beautiful, artistic shot of Bella and Edward with his glistening skin and THEN....: cue the shimmering chimes music. Why? We get it, he sparkles. The sound effects were distracting and took me out of it.
Now, none of this is to say that I thought the movie was perfect. It was far from it. But anyone who expected perfect was bound to be terribly disappointed. One of the most beautiful things about literature is that it is left to everyone's individual perspective and interpretation. It would have been impossible to satisfy everyone's interpretations, especially for the actors. The production was also severely limited by an unimpressive budget, which is sadly much more hindering than many would suspect. There were flaws in production, direction, and acting choices all around, but as far as I'm concerned, they were petty and insignificant.
The Twilight movie team had a daunting task in developing a movie out of a story that is close to the hearts of massive numbers of ardently passionate and opinionated (because Twilighters are nothing, if not passionate and certainly opinionated) fans. The movie could have so easily been a shallow action movie void of relationships and character depth, but they gave us more than that. The characters were honestly portrayed and the relationships were true; the two things that contribute most to the heart of what is Twilight. They worked very hard at making our beloved characters very real, breathing (most of the time), feeling people, and that is the thing I appreciate most.
So no, Twilight the movie was not perfect, nor could it have been. But it was darn near close enough for me to see it 6 times and counting!