Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Twilight: The Trashening

It is no secret that I find the popularity of the Twilight series completely ridiculous. The biggest reason being that I'm a fan of the darker vampires, such as those of Ann Rice, Blade, or Underworld (I've no idea why Kate Beckinsale is not considered one of the hottest woman on earth). I wish that just the silliness of these books was the travesty that I am bringing to you today, but alas, it is not.

I was quite content with the option of never having to see the recently released movie. My wife went with friends without me. I was glad to hear it. Last night I endured torture of the likes that would make Daniel Craig's Bond scream out in pain. I saw...Twilight.

What follows is my attempt at describing the pathetic dung heap that is this movie called Twilight. Oh that I were just talking about the story, the sappiness, or the differences in my view of vampires verses those on display. But no, the production quality of this film may be the worst I've seen in a very very long time. Twilight, is in essence, a home movie (and not of the high quality kind such as The Blair Witch Project) billed as a blockbuster . Robert Redford wouldn't have allowed this kind of crap at the Sundance Film Festival. I spent half the movie in a fit of giggles at just how bad this movie is.

Let's begin with the most positive thing I can say about this. The premise of the story is good. Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, boy likes girl, boy wants to eat girl, girl wants to be eaten by boy, others want to kill boy and eat girl. Pretty standard fare for Hollywood.

The absolute worst acting I've seen at least all year, and I'm sure going farther back than that. Edward was OK, and James was OK, and I'm not decided on Dr. Cullen. Other than those 3, it was pathetic. Lines were delivered as if they were memorized seconds earlier, with no knowledge of how they fit into the story. Nearly every action taken felt completely inorganic. I could understand the vampires being a little wooden, but the mortals should appear like they have a pulse and not like 80's era animatronics. I swear that one of the vampires, when told he was playing a monster, thought Frankenstein and not Dracula. Bella seems to have not been up on her tetanus shots, because she seemed to have lock-jaw through most of the movie. And could someone mention in the comments if Bella stutters? If that is true to the book, I won't make fun, but if it's just because she can't remember her lines, that's just sad.

To go hand in hand with the acting is casting. I'm told the blonde vampire is supposed to be attractive. L.A. has a myriad of wanna-be actresses, it's not like that part had any acting to do. Find someone to just stand there and look pretty OK, is that so hard? Other than Edward was there a single person in this movie with any experience at all? What did they spend their money on?

And what about that dialog eh? The movie was almost entirely made up of exposition. It's ok to spell out everything in words in a book, but in a movie there are more tools at your disposal...use them. Every other scene had dialog that explained what happened in the scene before. Not to mention the Bella narrative that could have been easily replaced with actual acting. I would also rail on the sappiness of some of the lines, but that would be like beating a crippled leper, for lying in your path. I can only be so mean...yes, even me.

Not all of the blame can be laid at the feet of the piss poor selection of actors. The director should never have let half those takes end up in the can. Ever heard of take 2, take 3, etc.? If your actors are getting it this wrong, you need to provide them some direction, maybe a couple run-throughs, and multiple takes if necessary.

There is a common problem that crops up in half of the movies made from books. The author gets involved and can't bare to part with any - I mean ANY - of the scenes. So instead of actually developing any of the scenes on screen, they provide a taste of what the scene should be then move on to the next, like a hyper active nat. They then make up for the discordance with narrative and overly wordy dialog to explain what happened in the previous or current scene. "This is what you should have taken from the previous 15 seconds. OK on to the next 15 seconds!" Develop the freaking story with visuals, don't read it to me!

The camera work. I lack the words. If everything else in your movie is done by amateurs, the last thing in the world you need is a handheld camera to muck things up even worse. There isn't a single thing going for this movie, the least they could do is frame shots half way decent. This film didn't have the chops for a handheld, use a tri-pod. Dolly's would help with the sporadic panning as well. If you don't know what zoom is for, don't use it.

What you get at the end of production is largely the result of editing. You have to provide the editor with quality building blocks (which this movie didn't), then it's up to them, with the director, to put together the final vision. If the vision was disconnected ramblings of a 60's B movie with ADHD, they were spot on.

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15 Comments:

Blogger Erin Taylor said...

Hmmmm.... well.... although I really DID like the books, I have to agree the movie fell flat! Unlike you, I liked most of the actors, just not the script or the direction or editing, or... well, ditto to the rest. (Oh, and my husband would agree with you about Kate Beckinsale.)

2:53 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I love you! You're the best, baby, you're the best.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

This reminds me of a comment I heard once about Joe Cocker. (I know that none of you youngins know who I'm talking about, so let me explain. He was a rock & roll singer who acted like he was having an epileptic seizure every time he sang.) The comment was something to the effect, "Epilepsy be damned, he contorts all the way to the bank." "Twilight" has made over $100 million dollars in 10 days. Bad movie be damned, they are sucking at acting, producing, directing, whatever, all the way to the bank!"
Side notes: James was my favorite.
Also, I think Edward had a difficult time speaking because he actually has a British accent. Bella? There's no excuse for her.
Question: Did you see the pirated version? If so, the quality is poor, poor, poor. I watched part of it with Evan, and it is not anywhere near the quality of the acual movie. I'm not defending it, just wondered.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I refuse to see this movie based on the fact all the actors are so fugly! The book described them to be so beautiful, but those butch?? Geez, I can't even call them pretty.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

PS: The director just got fired.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Capn John said...

Kathleen, I'm guessing the reason it made $100 million in 10 days is because of all the teenage girls going to see it, swooning over "Edward", and superimposing an enjoyable book (IMO) over a (possibly) simply horrid movie.

I enjoyed the books (yep, just finished #4) so I have no intention of going to see Twilight, because as far as I'm concerned, the only good books-made-into-movies were Jacko's Lord of the Rings. The movies of every other book I ever read, & enjoyed, sucked. I suspect Twilight The Movie sucks, too.

9:09 PM  
Blogger BugHunter said...

It was the pirated version, so I knew I had no grounds for attacking the poor lens choice (crap fuzziness to everything), sound quality, special effects, or low quality media. This post would have been even longer if I had gone into any of the things that could have been the result of poor pirating quality.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

If you are really bored you can read the waring comments on Amazon over the first book:

http://www.amazon.com/Twilight-Saga-Book-1/dp/0316015849/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228958479&sr=8-2

I thought I'd see the movie as a rental at some point because I thought that it would at least be entertaining after being "Hollywood-ized" but wasn't going to touch the books with a ten foot pole.

After the reviews I've read though I've decided to give that a skip as well.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Matt "The Bull" said...

I only have a second. Rosalie the hot blonde has some serious acting to do in future espisodes ergo...

Jasper the Vampire(frankenstine) fella has a reason for looking like that. future espisode again.
later

6:20 AM  
Anonymous melissa said...

I went into the movie with ZERO expectations. I HATE when they make a book into a movie. So I just assumed I would hate it. However, I liked it. I was pleasantly surprised. You really should read the books. you read fast it would only be a sacrifice of a few days.

6:45 AM  
Blogger BugHunter said...

Some of you seem to have missed the point. The story isn't what I'm talking about. It's the horribly low production quality of the film.

Rosalie - You're implying there aren't any attractive blondes (dyed or not) that can act (even as badly as the actress they used)?

Jasper - I asked Andrea about him before writing my critique. My impression is that he did not have tetanus or full body paralysis before being turned (Becoming a Meyer's variety vampire doesn't fix stuff like that? even lamer than I thought). He was a soldier or something in the civil war and attacked by vampires. How would that leave him with the inability to move his limbs or neck?

9:20 AM  
Blogger Matt "The Bull" said...

This book made movie is diffrent than most I think. I think they followed the book so closely. to a fault. putting words on screen normally takes some dramatization and sensationalism see (eragon). This movie is lacking the luster but is what book fans wanted. they wanted to see exactly what they saw in their imagination.

as a side note Bella who is a actually played by a moron who hasn't read the series. additionally Bella the character is in my mind supposed to be an unattractive, bumbling klutzy idiot whom might at times studded. I thought they got bella spot on. I belive there are hotter blonds in LA. usually the hot ones can't act so they do adult film. This role could not be filled by any fluzy. see (breaking dawn)

6:36 AM  
Blogger BugHunter said...

But they already cast a fluzy, just not a hot one. So right now they didn't get her looks or acting ability right. With a hot fluzy, at least they'd have 1 out of 2.

What you seem to be saying is that the book fans (this happens a lot of the time) wanted a book on CD accompanied by a picture book. Which is what the movie felt like ("turn the page at the tone").

9:24 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

The books are teeny bopper crap, why would the movie be any different. It wouldn't matter what actors they got or what director they had, you can't turn crap into gold, but wait that is exactly what they did...

More of the dumming down of America.

8:30 AM  

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