I was a VIP at a pre-screening. I’m a vocal non-fan, so scored an invitation. Scored? Perhaps saying I was punished is more appropriate. Since the inspiration for my first novel is Twilight’s romanticization of abuse, I figured I may as well watch the movies and read the books to make sure I understood the material. What better way that free? I want my brain cells back.
Alec slowly descended upon a man in an alley. From his hand emanated an opaque fog. Gently it swirled and puffed.
As it enveloped the man, his eyes grew wide and unseeing, his hands reaching out to feel.
Aro, dressed in robes similar to Alec’s, raised a finger and an eyebrow at his comrade.*
The fog withdrew. The frightened man shook his head, and finally could see his company.
If you won’t know what’s happening, there are two ways to inform the viewer/reader.
a) *Insert, “Alec, uncloud his senses.”
b) Have a voiceover/narrator say, “Alec had the ability to cloud your sight. He would take away your hearing, and make you unable to smell, or anything else.
I you say the first option is what should happen, you’d be correct. However we were mistreated to the second.
Here’s another fine example.
Benny’s mentor led their company to the door. He didn’t want them to leave. Gracefully Benny raised his hands. Crystalline water followed, forming a liquid wall.
Renesmee lifted her hand toward Benny. He placed a fistful of dirt in her palm and motioned clockwise above it. A small tornado formed above her hands, growing larger with its increasing speed.
We know he’s got the ability to control the elements. Do we really need a voice-over/narrator actually telling us, “Benny has the ability to control the elements. Water and dirt do what he commands”? Well, guess what. They all stand around admiring the tornado while Bella, in a voice-over, tells us.
A third example:
Person A: How many came?
Person B: Eighteen.
Voice-over: Eighteen came.
Really, voice-over? We didn’t know that from the conversation the characters literally just had?
With the visual media of moving pictures, you’d think that showing would be the only way to do it. But, Folks, even movies can do a lot of telling. In this case, little else.
How about this: We like characters with, well, character. Characters who do nothing but stand around in a circle watching each other lack…character. This shows a sense of co-dependence. If you’ve got a group that is nothing more than an audience, rethink the point of having them. All of the Cullens/Hales could have been compressed into three with nothing lost.
Here’s the biggest do-not-do. A method almost universally panned in television and film is something I can’t recall being used in books, but I’m sure has been. I don’t pretend for a moment to be familiar with every one out there.
Readers of the series already know that four books work up to an “epic” showdown where…nothing happens. The Volturi, the Slytherins of the Twilight-verse show up, realize that the good guys didn’t do anything wrong – oh, wait, the befriending werewolves is a crime! What? They’re not actually werewolves though them being werewolves has been important, nay, vital, to the plot? Okie-dokie. It’s the bad guys’ mistake. They go home.
I wish I was making that up. That’s how the series ends in the books. But how do you make an interesting movie out of this?
This, Ladies and Gents, is where deviation from the source material must occur. We found the characters in an epic showdown involving lots of fighting and even some good characters dying, starting with the Cullen patriarch. Another popular character of the family soon followed in demise. A few werewolves met their ends. Just when it seemed all was lost for those for whom we were supposed to cheer (I’m a Slytherin-girl, a Raiders fan, a supporter of the Volturi), Benny slams his fist into the ground, creating a massive canyon down to the level of molten lava that swallowed many of the Volturi and a few werewolves. Most of the remaining Volturi, down on their numbers, were beheaded as well. Bella plucked the head off of the equivalence of Voldemort and, just as she was about to set fatal flame to the still-living head of the leader…
Hey, this sounds cool, right? Well, I hate to inform you it was all the equivalent of dream sequence, the biggest cop-out of a way to add action, suspense, and excitement, to any media out there. Alice showed the head of the Volturi, in his mind, what would happen if there was a fight, but we didn’t know that was what it was until Bella was about to lay down that fire. Suddenly we were pulled out of the action and saw the leader stand there looking at Alice. “That is what will happen if you fight.”
A minor dream sequence here and there can show a character’s hopes, but when it’s passed off as the actual action and it’s not until afterward that the viewer/reader is informed, it can cause frustration. There were a lot of obvious die-hards in the theater tonight. A few people cheered aloud for Alice, but many more said, “What?” “What the hell?” You can think of a few other things that I won’t type into a family-friendly section of this forum.
For those interested in how the movie was otherwise, there were a lot more time-wasters than just voice-overs telling is what had just happened, or telling us what should happen while characters were walking around instead of showing us. We were mistreated to many beautiful panning shots of mountains and snowy terrain that added nothing but time. We were treated to a gratuitous strip-tease by Taylor Lautner for one scene we were only told about after in the book (he told Bella’s dad she’s alive and proved the existence of another world by stripping and turning into a werewolf). Best moment of the movie, I tell you. Best moment. We didn’t need an extended PG-rated sex scene. I’m still trying to figure out how sex managed to keep it PG. The computer-animated baby was reminiscent of the Dancing Baby (for those of you who won’t forever remember the sounds of AOL dialing up, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5x5OXfe9KY ). She was that fake. Shrek’s triplets looked more realistic. However the girl playing the older Renesme was adorable and looks like a brunette version of my child.
Wait until a friend rents or buys it and watch it then.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the producer of this terrible film is none other than the “how on earth was she published?” author herself, Stephenie Meyer.