Friday, November 28, 2008

Transcendentally Twilight

My sis Kat wanted to review Twilight also. Here are her thoughts on the movie...

Transcendentally Twilight: Twilight movie guest review, 11/25/08

I must disclose that I am the blood sister of a woman who's converted forty-one people into the world of Twilight. I am one of the forty-one disciples. That's no small feat. When Jane started blogging about Twilight earlier this year, I thought she was writing about a paranormal tale of aliens coming to take over this earth. Something has taken over this earth indeed, but I'd say the Cullens are much more attractive than aliens.

While reading the saga and taking in all the hype about the movie in post-production, about three things I was positive: First, the trailers were broodingly seductive and awakened the latent gothic adolescent in me. Second, under Catherine Hardwicke's creative force, I knew the movie was going to be magical. And third, Rob Pattinson is easily the sexiest vampire of all time, beating out the favorite vampire of my youth, Kiefer Sutherland.

When I was in art school, the subject of transporting your viewer into the realm of the work often came up. After all, that was the hallmark of greatness. Is the viewer transcended from their everyday world, into the world of fantasy spread before them? Reading Stephenie Meyer's books, I crossed that bridge often. In the movie, my ticket to transcendence occurred during the meadow, the kiss, and the prom scenes. Not surprisingly, those were moments when Edward and Bella's intimacy were captured at their most electric.

Cinematographically, the meadow was beautiful and lush yet dark, mystical, dangerous and foreboding. It conjured up memories of Brothers Grimm fairy tales. When Edward trapped Bella between his arms and began the lines, "and so the lion fell in love with the lamb...," I was totally transported into the ether between them, for all its unselfconscious sincerity and yearning. Fade to the next shot of Edward and Bella lying on the bed of moss, not touching, eyes just locked in a mesmerizing gaze as the camera swirled slowly above them. This is the essence of the deeply archetypal meadow scene: Lovers, lying side by side, in what could otherwise be the Garden of Eden. It was transcendent.

Same goes for the kiss on Bella's bed, and the dance in the gazebo at prom. In slow dialogues oozing with negotiations between unleashing desire and moral control, I sat transfixed between those negotiations as the viewer. Stephenie unraveled this dilemma in great detail in the books, and that was what we enjoyed so much as readers. To see it acted so well on the screen is a feat to be commended.

Rob Pattinson was, simply put, Edward. Having seen so many interviews of him, it's easy to see why he fit the role so well: He saw through the illusion that was supposed to be Edward, The Ideal Man, and played him as a somewhat broken, and at times hauntingly human, vampire.

Kristen Stewart gave Bella intelligence, depth, and a quiet strength. Only seventeen when they shot Twilight, she possessed a maturity beyond her years, a quality central to Bella's character. Like Rob, she played her character's vulnerability and strength in equal measure, most notably in the ballet studio and hospital scenes.

Often accompanying my passage through the saga were the playlists on Stephenie's website. Music was such an important component in beaming myself to Forks, that I had regarded Twilight somewhat as a rock opera. It was to my delight that each song on the soundtrack matched the scenes perfectly in the movie. Perry Farrell's "Going All the Way," which I hated before seeing it in context, was perfect for disco dancing at the prom. "Supermassive Black Hole," one of Muse's loudest headbanging songs, knocked the ball game out of the park. Iron and Wine's "Flightless Bird, American Mouth," brought me to tears. Carter Burwell's "Bella's Lullaby" was the sweet, gentle and haunting caress it was supposed to be. And the guitar riffs of Collective Soul's "Trembling for My Love" that followed the car crash sent my adrenaline running. That's when you knew that, like the movie's tagline states, "nothing will ever be the same."

There's an addictive quality to Twilight that all fans of the series can attest to: If you've ever smoked crack, this is the literary equivalent. Stephenie's magical world has found presence beyond the page now. With the movie, indelible images of Edward, Bella, Jacob, the Cullens, and Forks are forever embedded into our minds. I've gone back for my fix twice now. I predict I'll be going back to theatres at least twice more before the year is over.

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