Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Better On Celluloid Than On Paper

I haven't seen "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" movie yet - I'm holding out hope that I can figure out which of this weekend's showing times will contain the least number of chatty girls - so I'll have to come back and follow up to this post with an answer to what I'm about to propose.

But I'm proposing right now that, in the end, the Twilight series makes for better movies than books.

Now, hear me out. The first Twilight book is, IMO of course, a wonderful book. I enjoyed it thoroughly, unashamedly, and have no problems admitting I couldn't wait to read the next installment, New Moon. I think the book trumps the first Twilight movie although I also think the movie treated the book fairly as far as interpretations go (if you care, you can see what I thought here).

However, after New Moon the Book, I feel that the third and fourth books took serious nose dives in terms of, well, pretty much every aspect. The plots were forced, the characters unrecognizable, and, at least in Breaking Dawn, the whole premise gone to crap. Within the pages of Eclipse, Bella turned into a whiny, self-centered brat, Edward became not much more than a doormat and Jacob an outright bully, and the whole WTF? love triangle between the three main characters completely diluted the supposedly soul-mate pureness of the Edward/Bella pairing and almost nearly destroyed any ability for me to reread Twilight ever again. I won't even speak of my loathing for the whole Renesmee/imprinting garbage - I couldn't even finish Breaking Dawn.

However, I think that New Moon the Movie did a lot to make the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle believable. Maybe that's because we weren't subjected to all of the endless goings-on in Bella's mind that we got in Twilight/New Moon the Books about how Edward is/was/ever will be for all eternity the one and only true love of Bella's life. The movie did a better job defining the friendship between Bella and Jacob and creating a foundation on which we might believe that their feelings for each other go deeper. I can believe that Movie Bella is actually conflicted in her choice between Edward and Jacob. Book Bella just came off as looking ungrateful, disloyal, and a first class tease. (FYI, My review of New Moon the Movie is here.)

I'm going out on a limb to say that Eclipse the Movie will only strengthen this viewpoint. Unlike we did in the book, the movie won't require us to slog through page after page of Bella's thoughts about how much she loves Edward-and-only-Edward only to then completely negate all of that when, oops, all of the sudden she thinks maybe she could be in love with Jacob after all. Instead we'll see her interacting with Edward and interacting with Jacob and, wow, two hunky guys, what girl wouldn't be a bit confused?

Like I said, I owe myself a follow-up to this post. But I propose that when it's all said and done, the four Twilight films will at least present characters who remain consistent and a plot that flows somewhat believably. As it is now, I've decided to pretend that Eclipse and Breaking Dawn the books were never written. The fact that I couldn't even finish Breaking Dawn the Book yet I do look forward to the Breaking Dawn the Movies speaks volumes.

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