by Matt Ruff on April 8, 2009

Lisa and I watched this over the weekend. We were hoping it would be enjoyably bad, but it didn’t inspire that much clever byplay. Mostly we kept cycling through variations on the same three riffs:

Me: Is the dialogue/plotting/character development in the book as awful as this?
Lisa: Yes, but you’re seeing everything through Bella’s eyes, so it works somehow, despite sucking.
Me: [Insert gruesome joke about including a pair of Bella’s eyes in the DVD package.]

Lisa: He [Edward Cullen, the boyfriend] is really unattractive.
Me: Are you referring to his physical appearance, or his habit of constantly informing Bella that he’d like to kill her?
Lisa: Both. In the book, he’s described as being unearthly beautiful.
Me: What about the death threats?
Lisa: He does that in the book, too, but…
Me: …you see it through Bella’s eyes. And she’s an idiot.

RIFF #3, Variant A
Lisa: One thing I don’t understand is why the vampires don’t pretend to be home-schooled. If I were immortal, the last I’d want to do is keep going to high school.
Me: Yes, but you’re not a pedophile.

RIFF #3, Variant B
Me: Oh look, she’s standing on his feet while they’re dancing together. Just like you would IF YOU WERE A LITTLE GIRL DANCING WITH HER FATHER.

There were some things we liked:
* Kristen Stewart. She actually made a good Bella, and the film would have been much better if she’d been paired with an Edward who could act and who she had real chemistry with (even real sick and twisted chemistry).
* Bella’s (real) dad.
* Edward’s vampire family. My favorite bit, and it hinted at a good-story-that-could-have-been. The introductory dinner party had real (but mostly unrealized) potential, and the thunderstorm baseball game was the best scene in the movie.

Previous post:

Next post: