The movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's third novel in the Twilight saga has been out for just over two weeks. It's safe to say that most fans have seen the film, at least once.
Everytime I go to see one of the Twilight movies, the film itself is never as entertaining as the audience watching it. In 2008, when the first film appeared on silverscreens everywhere, BEFORE Twilight & Philosophy hit bookstores, the tween-teen-plus female audience swooned with every sigh from Edward. It was a collective reaction, unlike anything else I've ever experienced in a theatre. Two years later, the audience has flipped.
Twilight & Philosophy was the FIRST published book to not only explore the Twilight series, but to articulate the problem with Edward--who truly does behave like a "real" stalker. The book was published in September 2009, and in my opinion, it influenced the direction of this film. The line during the graduation speech about how a degree in philosophy can't lead to a career was the not-so-subtle hint that my little book had indeed been read.... ;)
In the movie, amongst other classic stalker behaviors, Edward even goes so far as to tamper with Bella's car when he learns she's planning to visit Jacob. His possessive and criminal actions toward a barely legal girl while he himself is nearly 100 is just plain scary. If Edward were an Edwina, and Bella a Bob--conservatives would be screaming at the top of their lungs. But because it's an older male--a much older male--with a high school girl (nearly every man's fantasy--"barely legal teens" seem to be the hot topic), hardly anyone appears to care.
This film did a much better job at showing how Jacob is the right choice--even if he's not the ultimate choice Bella makes. Bella is 17. She can't possibly know what she wants from life--she's barely lived it. But we wouldn't expect her to know this. We do, however, expect her 100-year old boyfriend to.
The audience was practically cheering when Jacob called Edward on his "unselfish" behavior (that took place in the previous film), telling him outright that if he'd just stayed away for another six months, Bella would not only be happy, she'd be healthy, safe, and able to live a long, human life.
In this movie, Edward often comes off as the asshole, and I want to congratulate Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter, for finally making Edward more clear, particularly for those very young girls who simply enjoy the fantasy-romance, unable to see why a guy like Edward, in "real" life, is NOT the kind of boyfriend you'd actually want. You might be obsessed with an Edward--like Bella so clearly is--but obsession isn't love. Friendship is the basis for long-term love affairs. First crushes, early obsessions--they fade fast. But how would Bella yet know this? Frankly, this points to some lacks in the original author.
Melissa Rosenberg wrote the screenplays for Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse. She is also penning the screenplays for the TWO installments of Breaking Dawn, being released in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Both films are in pre-production.
Jacob is the defined hero in this film. And Taylor Lautner is clearly one of the best actors working in the franchise. Kristen Stewart does a good job conveying Bella's blind stupidity--it's the classic teen scenario--no matter who tells them what, they have to make their own mistakes. And like Bella's impending mistake, some are irreparable. Like Edward. Rob Pattinson, who I've been a fan of since he appeared in the Harry Potter franchise, leaves something to be desired this time around--but honestly, as an actor, I'd imagine it would be difficult to play the "asshole" character well--especially if you're Rob Pattinson (who is definitely not an asshole in "real" life). Aussie-born Xavier Samuels plays Riley Biers--and he's a showstopper. The 27-year old actor has been practicing his craft for about a decade and I see even bigger things on Samuel's acting-horizon.
All in all, the film is about an 8 out of 10 on the Housel-scale. Worth the price of admission if you're a fan of Twilight...or Taylor Lautner. Either way, you'll get your money's worth.
As for me, the value in the time and dollars spent was simply to see the girls in the audience cheering on Jacob instead of Edward, saying "No!" when Bella chooses "wrong" (yet again). My big question to Rosenberg is this, how will you ever be able to write the Breaking Dawn scenes where Bella and Edward have sex, and Bella walks away with bruises? Or the horrors that befalls Bella during her expedited pregnancy, including the baby clawing it's way out, aided by Edward's fangs? Or the wacky imprinting Jacob makes on an infant??? The pop culture waters have been polluted for quite a while, but this latest twist in vampire mythology is a whole new pop poison.
My best advice: See the movie...just don't drink the water.