Tuesday, November 25, 2008

(Exhaustive) Movie Revue: Twilight!

As promised, here is my exhaustive review of Twilight: The Movie!

Bella was a normal girl, until she moved to the dreary, tiny town of Forks, Washington. There she meets Edward, a mysterious boy who is actually a vampire. He and his family feed off of animals instead of humans, but temptation is always there...especially when Edward meets Bella. Will he give in to temptation, or fall in love with her instead?

After...seven?...seven (long, LOOONG) months of waiting, T:TM hit theaters on Friday, November 21. I purchased my tickets around noon for the seven PM showing. We arrived at the theater around 6:55, and I was immediately glad we'd already bought our tickets. The line at the concession stand was so long that we decided not to get popcorn (and any time I pass up movie theater popcorn, that means I REALLY don't want to miss anything). We walked into the theater and started looking for two seats together. We heard the fangirls. There was an invisible line dividing Team Edward and Team Jacob, and they were chanting.
"MIKE!" (That was me, partly because Michael Welsh/Mike Newton is awesome and partly because Mike's character is a running joke in the books--he symbolizes everything that is "normal" in Forks).

Then there were the interrupters ("Shut up!" "Stop it!"), who won as soon as the previews started. There were a few complaints that we had to watch any previews at all.

People talked during this movie. A lot. Actually, "screamed" would be more accurate. Like at the beginning of the movie. And when the title screen appeared. Jacob's first scene. Edward's first appearance. The first time Edward spoke. Any time Edward did anything (okay, slight exaggeration there). But after a while, either I tuned them out or they quieted down.

As for the movie itself: I thought that everyone involved did a great job. I knew the basic plot, but they threw in a lot of little scenes that weren't in the book. They also ended up removing quite a few scenes as well. Despite all that, I thought the movie remained true to the spirit of the book. As I mentioned during our "Page to Screen" episode, what bugs me about movies based on books is when they do things that WOULDN'T happen within the world of the books...which actually relates to my feelings on fan fiction: nothing bugs me more than writing characters out of character.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie (which they changed from the book) was when Bella goes to the Cullens' house for the first time and finds them all in the kitchen, trying to cook for Bella. All the characters fit into the picture I'd created in my head...especially Rosalie. I laughed, mostly because I would completely expect her to do what she did in that scene (if you've seen the movie, you'll know what I mean...and I always thought Emmett was "Hulk Smash!").

One general change I noticed from the book to the movie is that the movie focused more on rounding out the human characters and downplayed the vampires--we find out details about Bella's human friends that weren't in the books, but hardly any of the vampires aside from Edward have much screen time. I was disappointed at first, but then I reasoned that the less time we spend with the vampires, the less they have to spend on special effects. For all of its hype, Twilight is still an "indie" (an independent film--be honest, had you ever heard of Summit Entertainment before "Twilight"?) and there's a reason most fantasy movies aren't indies. The Chicago Tribune movie critic gave T:TM 2 1/2 stars because, and I quote, "Edward's hair is the most special effect." I would agree that the special effects aren't as sophisticated as in, say, "Lord of the Rings" or even "Heroes," but Catherine did exceptionally well with what she had to work with.

The omission I was most surprised about was the pivotal "meadow scene" where Edward finally decides that he could not live with himself if he killed Bella. He also shows what happens to Stephenie's vampires in sunlight (they sparkle like diamonds) and he and Bella share their first kiss. To top it off, the scene in the book is based on Stephenie's dream that inspired the entire series. If you ask Twilight fans to name their favorite scene in the first book, they will probably say, "The meadow scene" and a good number of them will also have the exact chapter number and title.

It wasn't really in the movie. It was, sort of, but not really. Edward runs with Bella through the woods and finds a break in the trees so he can show her how he looks in the sun. It actually looks kinda cheesy, and there's the generic "glitter" sound effect (you know what I'm talking about). So maybe it's better that they didn't try to do it exactly as in the book. I could tell that the only reason they had some version of the meadow scene was because the fans would demand it, which was kind of weird.

The acting was solid all around. My favorite characters in the movie were Charlie (I didn't picture him with a John Stossel mustache in the books, but he had some great lines here) and Carlisle (who looked EXACTLY the way I'd pictured him in my head. He's almost as hot as Edward...but I digress...). My favorite character in the books is Alice; I'm going to reserve judgment on Alice-in-the-movie because she didn't get enough screen time. Johnny said he thought Alice was creepy. She's not supposed to be creepy; she's supposed to be slightly insane and manic. I actually know someone who reminds me a lot of Alice, both physically and personality-wise, so I suppose that's how I'll always picture her.

Two more notes: Bella's lullaby is wonderful. Wow. Oh, and I discovered that the best place for the soundtrack is from the Amazon MP3 store ($6.99!). Also, the countdown to New Moon: The Movie (NM:TM) starts NOW! It has officially been approved!! Heck yes. (Not that my opinion will have any weight, but I think Christopher Lloyd should play Aro).

Overall: T:TM earns 4 stars/5

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The new Video Revue!

At last, another podcast! Download it from iTunes, or click here for the Podshow version.

Johnny and I saw Twilight on Friday night! A full review is coming soon, but at the moment I'm in the middle of an important project (nothing increases productivity like last-minute panic).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

While waiting for the Twilight movie premiere...

Check out this great video! After several unsuccessful attempts to put it directly on the blog, I've decided to just link to it. Fantastic parody of "Twilight" from an online video series called Juice Box.

Apparently, the fastest way to bring new fans to your site is to do something Twilight-related...well, it usually works.

So. I was all hyped up for the midnight showing. I bought my ticket a full week in advance and cleared up my schedule. Upon reflection, I discovered a slight flaw in this problem: I don't have a car.

To be fair, 95% of the time this doesn't really matter. The local movie theater is three blocks away from the college campus where I live, and I can walk there in ten or fifteen minutes. But, of course, this is a much better idea at five in the afternoon, or even ten at night, than two in the morning. Which is when the movie gets out.

Alas, I will have to delay my trip to the movie theater by nearly twenty-four hours. But Johnny and I are going on Friday at 7, and we will have a review up on Friday night.

Twilight FTW!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The "Holiday Season"

Okay, so everyone has their thoughts on this topic, so I thought I'd throw in my two cents. First up: When the season actually starts. Personally, I don't think there should be ANY Christmas commercials until the day after Thanksgiving. There is a holiday between Halloween and Christmas, in case you'd forgotten. I'm fortunate enough to work someplace that recognizes the importance of Thanksgiving (and so do our customers). Also, Christmas commercials are a reminder that winter is on the way, which is not exactly welcome in early November. I don't know, the day after Halloween just seems too soon to start hawking snow globes or Christmas sales. Also, nothing annoys me more than ABC Family's "Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas." It's not enough to have a pre-Christmas movie special; we need 25 Christmas movies before Christmas. But even that isn't enough anymore; now we need the pre-pre-Christmas show.

Second: Is it "Merry Christmas" or "Happy holidays"? My answer is both. The truth of the matter is that while Christmas may be the most widely celebrated holiday in this country, it's not the only one. So I generally tell people "Happy holidays" through most of December because there's a whole season of days to celebrate. But then right before December 25th I switch to "Merry Christmas." My rationale for this is that, even if someone doesn't celebrate Christmas, you can still wish them well for the day. Like wishing a happy Fourth of July to someone in Canada or England. Personally, if someone were to wish me a happy Hanukkah I wouldn't be insulted.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ten, nine, eight...

We are officially a week away from the Twilight movie premiere!! And as if I weren't excited enough already, I hold in my hand (well, actually my purse, but still) a ticket to the MIDNIGHT SHOWING! I was just walking around today in the downtown area of my local college town and I decided to stop and ask if they were doing a midnight showing at the movie theater (I tried to check on Movies.com, and I would like to thank that website for being as un-helpful as possible. And remember, all these problems started after Movies.com joined up with FANDANGO!). Anyway, I found out that not only were they doing a midnight showing, they were already selling tickets! Now I don't have to worry about showing up at midnight and finding out tickets are sold out.

In other news, I must procure the Twilight soundtrack. I've had my own Twilight playlist for a while now, so I will share it with you, along with a short explanation for each song. It's kind of short, because I listen to a lot of classic rock and it doesn't really fit as well. I also found music videos for the songs, but only the last 2 are "Twilight"-related.

1: "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" by Travis. I stole this one from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight playlist, because it really does fit with the beginning of the book: Bella hates living in rainy, dreary Forks. Favorite line: "Even when the sun is shining/I can't avoid the lightning/Where did the blue skies go?"

2: "Pinch Me" by Barenaked Ladies. This is for right after Jacob tells Bella the Cullens' secret. There's a lot going on in Bella's head because she has to rethink everything about the world. Favorite line: "I feel fine enough, I guess/Considering everything's a mess." Also, the chorus: "It's like a dream you try to remember but it's gone, then you/Try to scream but it only comes out as a yawn when you/Try to see the world beyond your front door."

3: "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer. The meadow scene!! Need I say more? (Read the book, or wait a week and then see the movie). Favorite line: "Kiss me beneath the milky twilight" (hehehee).

4: "Who Needs Sleep?" by Barenaked Ladies. Yes, I like BNL. A lot. This is for Edward watching Bella sleep, and a little joke on the fact that the Twilight vampires can't sleep. Favorite line: "Lids down, count sheep, count heartbeats/The only thing that counts is that I won't sleep." Runner-up: "So much joy in life, so many pleasures all around/The pleasure of insomnia is one I've never found."
YouTube (the live version!)

5: "Calling You" by Blue October. Oh my GOSH, I LOVE this song. It's interesting that while Blue October is almost a staple on Twilight playlists, this song doesn't show up very often. (Side note: I bought this song because it was featured in an episode of Moonlight! Which has been replaced by a show starring the actress who plays Esme in T:TM. And her character's name is Bella. Confused yet?). Anyway, back to the song: It's just so romantic and it reminds me of Edward and Bella. Favorite line: "I will keep calling you to see/If you're sleeping, are you dreaming/If you're dreaming, are you dreaming of me/I can't believe you actually picked me."

6: "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" by BNL. Can you guess who my favorite contemporary band is?? No, but seriously, this is still the perfect Twilight song in my mind. Almost every line fits so well with the book it's almost creepy. Favorite line: "These fragile bodies of touch and taste/This fragrant skin, this hair like lace."

7: "Lion" by Rebecca St. James. This song was actually part of the "Music inspired by Chronicles of Narnia" album, so it's technically "supposed" to be about Aslan. But it works for Edward too. Hmm...Edward=Aslan, and Aslan=Jesus. So THAT'S why the Twilight fangirls write "OME" (Oh my Edward) instead of "OMG." Favorite line: "This is not a dream that I'm living/This is just a world of our own/You took me from all that I knew/Showed me how it feels to hope."

8: "Your Guardian Angel" by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. This was the winner in Twilight Guy's contest to vote for the #1 Twilight song. It's a little tween-boy-band for my tastes, but I guess it works for the book pretty well too. Though I can't see Edward singing this to Bella, somehow. Favorite line: "I will never let you fall/I'll stand up for you forever/I'll be there for you through it all."

Okay, so my goal is to have ten songs for each book. So far, I've got 8 for Twilight (which isn't bad; I've got 9 for New Moon, 7 for Eclipse, and only 4 for Breaking Dawn). Any more suggestions? What's your "perfect Twilight song"? Let me know!

And look for my exhaustive review of T:TM some time between the 21st and the 23rd (don't know exactly when I'll have time to review it...unlike the Cullens, I do need sleep!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Movie reviews and other news

First up: news on the show. Johnny and I had a long discussion about this a while ago, and we agreed that he was going to be the one to edit the show and get it up and running. So this one's on him, and I don't know when our next episode will be available.

Also: Our e-mail contest is still running! Let's just say that if you've already entered, you've got a VERY GOOD chance of winning. If you haven't entered yet, why not?? (Step one: listen to the show. Step two: send us an e-mail with a comment about the show. Step three: win a Netflix subscription!)

And now for more of my famous ten-word movie reviews!
Van Helsing: Modern, big-budget update of Universal classics. Campy? Yes. Good? Absolutely!

Night of the Living Dead: Dead rise, eat people. Original zombie movie; seriously depressing ending.

Back to the Future (part 1): Christopher Lloyd, time travel, and an awesome car. Personal favorite.

Matango (Attack of the Mushroom People): Weird sixties Japanese movie. You are what you eat, apparently.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Historic Moment

...and right after this, they announced that we have, in fact, elected a Hawaiian president! I hope everyone who was eligible voted yesterday, no matter who you voted for. I was very excited to be part of the election process, and I vowed to stay up until they called the election. I was slightly (VERY slightly) disappointed when the final results were announced at 10:00, because the election was over already. But in all honesty, this is a great day for America, and I am proud to say that I was one of the people who helped elect this country's first black president. This was the first presidential election I was able to vote in, too.

John McCain was very gracious in conceding the election--much more so than the people who were booing Obama during his speech--and I'm glad for that. He's really not a bad guy. I don't agree with his stand on the issues, and I'm glad that he won't be in charge for four years, but he's not a jackass. The weird thing about elections is that both parties spend so much time vilifying the other candidate that they almost forget that they'll have to make nice when the election is over.

For once in recent history, we had a better choice than Tweedledee and Tweedledum (2000) or Tweedledum and Tweedledumber (2004). We had two strong candidates, and I'm so glad to hear that there was such a huge turnout, because this election really meant something.