The movie is never as good as the book
Watership Down – remember it? It was a cartoon about bunnies on a common in England.
Fiver has a weird dream; Hazel gets killed by the brown rabbits; and Art Garfunkel sang Bright Eyes while we wept buckets.
The Harry Potters – you must have seen them? Did you see the last one where Hermoine finally got control of her hair? No? In the beginning there were books and we all used our imagination to live the vision of a good writer who took us on a magical journey exercising our imaginations.
We endured the authors who wasted page after page on boring descriptions of every knicknack in the room and sped read the others who used dialogue to make us laugh out loud.
Now we rely on some director and editor to give us their version of a story, which is further interpreted by actors and often changed by a studio exec with an eye on the bottom line.
Sometimes they get it spot on, as Rowling has said about the Harry Potter series. Other times, they don’t get it right at all – and this is what I’m picking up about Twilight.
And it’s a shame because the book is great. A must-read for anyone of any age, regardless of whether or not they’re fans of Bram Stoker or just after a penny-dreadful to kill a weekend with.
The book is jam-packed with morals, delicately threaded through subtext so no teenager on earth will know they’re being preached at to help around the house, be a good daughter/son and do his/her homework.
I doubt any kid will realise the internal conflict in Edward, is constant. Born a decent, human being, he was changed and now has to battle his inherent weakness every day.
We could all hold Edward up as a role model. Giving up coffee? Well if Edward could smell Bella’s blood and not drink it, I can overcome the temptation of the smell of coffee/cigarettes/chocolate too.
My favourite subliminal message is the chivalry. I’d had a feeling it wasn’t dead, it was just living with the walking dead. (Have I confused vampirism with zombi-ism?)
Either way, the fact that Edward holds back from Bella because he doesn’t trust his strength, is a beautiful thing. He knows that he has to fight to maintain his resolve around her, and in the beginning tries to stay away from her. But the compelling force of love makes him want to be with her.
You hear that, guys? Don’t pounce on the first date!
Will Twilight lead to teenagers leaning against each other in fields for hours instead of having random sex in the bushes when they’re drunk?
Speaking of drunk, no one does anything more naughty than take cold tablets to make sure they get a good night’s sleep. There’s a marvellous lack of alcohol and drugs.
I read Twilight during the Schoolies Week media feeding frenzy where every teenager under the sun, is under the sun, drunk, wearing something skanky (if at all) and having sex.
Could Twilight influence a new generation of kids to wait for the perfect love rather than next weekend?
Then there’s the sunsmart message. Bella doesn’t have, nor tries to get, a tan. As the palest person in Queensland, I applaud this message.
There’s not one crop top, bikini or shortie short in the entire book. It’s skank free, parent utopian reading.
I realise a Mormon wrote this book, probably because she wanted to read something that didn’t have a needle or a bottle in it. Even if you’re not a Christian, these values are universally respectable.
If a director can get all of that into a movie of 126 minutes, and make it stick in the hormone-dazed, fractured concentrations of post-modernists, then good on him.
But movies are about the effects, not the morals. I think a lot of the things I loved about the book will be lost in a flurry of Crouching Tiger fight scenes.
If your kids are badgering you to see the movie, make them read the book first. Maybe they’ll have some messages reinforced with a visual image.
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