Anticipating the Twilight Movie: Twilight Trailers
Fan girls worldwide are getting geared up for the movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer‘s best selling novel Twilight. It is the first novel of four of The Twilight Saga and has a fan following of a similar nature to J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series. With midnight release parties, an author shot into celebrity status, 50 million books sold, and a huge online following, Twilight looks set to become an instant success.
The difference between Twilight‘s success and Harry Potter‘s is that whilst Twilight has a very dedicated following, it contains only teenage girls and young women. For that reason, the film and the books, will probably never be as big as the inclusive and generally appealing Harry Potter series. However, a following of young girls and women is probably the best type of the following when trying to hold the public’s attention for a period of time, and teenage girls and their obsessive nature (much in the same way for boy bands and baby faced actors) are sure to be giving their undivided attention when their Edward Cullen graces the big screen. However, just how long can Twilight last as a movie franchise? Could it ever be as successful as Harry Potter? Probably not, and I’ll discuss why.
The series focuses on an “ordinary” teenage girl named Isabella “Bella” Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) who falls in love with the beautiful, but deadly Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson) who just so happens to be a vampire. The story concentrates on their struggles to be with one another as Edward could snap at any time and literally have Bella for dinner. The first novel in particular mostly tells of their meeting, their growing feelings, and getting to know one another with a flimsy tacked on action sequence at the novel’s close. As such, this film may not have the same troubles as Harry Potter, which had to cut out action after action from the books to try to fit the bare bones into the film. Twilight may actually attempt to draw out the bare bones of action from Twilight, because really, not much happens. This actually becomes apparent in the second teaser trailer released for the film:
The story has already been given the Hollywood treatment; the trailer conveys the film to be about a vampire hunt for Bella (the novel sticks this at the end as an after thought). Perhaps the trailer will convince boyfriends to accompany their girlfriends to the cinema as there appears to be a car chase, one on one battle between Edward and the villainous vampire, James, murders (security guard gets killed by an “animal”) and so on. None of this happens in the books, of course, but who can be blamed for adding something exciting to the mix? As the novel drones on with conversations between the two protagonists, and constant thoughts of how much Bella is in love with Edward, perhaps the film does focus more on James. I’ll make a prediction though, and guess that it is the first trailer that is much more accurate:
This trailer is loyal to the tone and contents of the novel, simply highlighting their relationship and how it progresses. Perhaps it seems a little dull, and I suppose that it is. The difficultly with adapting this novel is that so much of it is introverted, and the excitement and suspense flows from Bella’s internal turmoil and her consistent misunderstandings of everything that happens around her. Whilst novels of this nature can be successfully adapted (think of Ian McEwan‘s Atonement), Twilight does not have the complexity and variety to be fully convincing on screen.
There’s another problem. Whilst it is very helpful to have a devout following of fans there is a flip side. Expectations are high and there are already complaints in the fan world. I have come across comments complaining about the first trailer because Edward and Bella have the age conversation in a forest, and not in the car as they are supposed to be. Edward is described so often in the novel as a perfect looking man that there is probably no such man in their minds that does “novel Edward” justice. Any actor hired as Edward would have automatically been scrutinised, and Robert Pattinson’s casting is no exception. Countless youtube videos, petitions and facebook groups have been made to express the fans disapproval of Pattinson, claiming that he is not “pretty” enough. It’s not the first time that Pattinson has been cast for his boyish good looks. He was cast as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; a character particularly renowned for his extreme good looks in the books. He gained a small following for his minor role in the franchise, and was even dubbed as “the next Jude Law“. His casting in Twilight is no doubt another way to draw in the huge Harry Potter audience and yet again, draw parallels between the success of Twilight and Harry Potter. It was of little surprise, then, when Twilight took Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’s release spot on the 21st November.
The most prominent problem for this would-be franchise is its shelf life. In a probably one of a kind situation, many fans turned their back on Meyer after the scandalous release of the fourth and final novel of the series, Breaking Dawn. The adaptation of the series finale proves to be almost, not impossible, but humiliating to make. When reading reviews for the novel, the most common terms you’ll find are ‘Mary Sue’, ‘fan fiction’, ‘inconsistent’ and ‘worst book ever’. Meyer lost control and the novel is so bad that directors will want to distance themselves away from it. Directors will need to come up with ideas of how to portray a vampire and a human having sex, have Edward rip into Bella’s womb with his teeth in a “Alien bursting out of chest” style of giving birth, have a perfect beautiful hybrid baby that can talk and move fluently and convincingly have a full grown man “imprint” (or fall in love) with a two week old child without coming across as super creepy and pedophiliac (a point that the novel also fails at). It is not even the physical things that have to be done, but also the bad messages that the plot gives out to such a mainstream audience. The only thing for it is to change major plot lines to make the film even workable. And what kind of Hollywood director wants to make a film when it ends with a “non-battle” that the whole story had been building up to? Not many. On the other hand, many fans may appreciate an alternative version to the controversial novel.
What are the positive aspects of the upcoming film? Fans will always love a “picture book” to their favourite novels, and like Harry Potter, may well be critic proof when it is released in November. Regardless of positive of negative reviews, fans will remain curious until they have paid for their ticket and put money into the cash machine. Although Pattinson has suffered some hostility from fans. he has also gained many open minded fans hearts, and his fan base as increased ten fold. Stewart seems to be very popular with Twilight fans, as does the casting of the rest of the Cullen family: Alice (Ashley Greene), Rosalie (Nikki Reed), Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), Emmett (Kellan Lutz), Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) and Esme (Elizabeth Reaser). A novelty point is that Pattinson has composed Bella’s Lullaby himself. A composition in the novels that Edward composes for Bella.
The film seems relatively well shot, if a little bland, and will be enough to satisfy and perhaps please many fans. This film will definitely be a big box office hit in America and Canada in November, but its reception elsewhere remains to be seen. Will New Moon, the second novel in the series, be adapted to film too? Or will it suffer in the same way Eragon did? Personally, I do not think it will make it to Breaking Dawn. The series has been completed before the release of the first film, and the series ended in the wrong kind of bang. It will not hold the power of suspense like Harry Potter which still had three more books to go at its first film release.