So! First of all! The experience of the early preview itself, aside from the movie:
@cleolinda: Getting ready to go out; Lovely Emily says we may be standing out in the cold for a while.
@cleolinda: If I don't come back from Sparklemas alive: I REGRET NOTHING.
@cleolinda: Oh shit, you guys, THEY OVERBOOKED BY 50. TELL MY MOTHER I LOVE HER
@helgagrace: @cleolinda: It's been nice knowing you.
@kristenmchugh22: @cleolinda: Good luck, know where your exits are. This is important.
@particle_person: @cleolinda: ...bitches are going to get cut, aren't they?
@cleolinda: We're en route still. I fear. I wish I could take the iBella in and take pictures of the carnage.
@foresthouse: SRSLY, did @cleolinda get trampled by Team Edward or Team Jacob? Hasn't it been hours or something?
@cleolinda: I MADE IT OUT ALIVE
@cleolinda: YOU CAN'T STOP THE SPARKLE
@lapetitesinge: @cleolinda: OH GIRL, WE HAD A PRAYER CIRCLE.
So what happened was, The Lovely Emily and I left my house at about 5:20 to drive out to the Lee Branch Rave on the other end of the world, and about 5:30, the friend who got us the passes calls and says that the 100-seat room has been OVERBOOKED BY FIFTY. THE HELL YOU SAY. By the time we got there, there was a line wrapped around the building--but the friend was already in line with our group's passes about thirty feet from the beginning of it, so we just... joined her. I know, we're terrible people.
The outdoor line itself was kind of entertaining--there was a fairly foxy woman in her late 30s, I guess, with sparkleface. A woman who looked so incredibly like Catherine Hardwicke that it kind of spooked me had already gone in to get snacks for her group, so she was toting a giant Chagrined Edward soda cup. ("EMILY. IT'S STARING AT ME.") There were four teenage girls--I'd put them at roughly age 14--about fifteen feet behind us who talked way too loud and flopped down on the pavement in an impromptu sleepover circle or something and started teasing a pair of ten-year-old-ish boys (I know, what?): "Are you Twilighters? Are you Twiiiiharrrrrrds?" The boys then started climbing into the nearby trees (well, they were more like overambitious shrubs) out of sheer boredom. I don't know. God, I wish I'd had the iBella camera. ("EMILY. IT'S STILL STARING AT ME. MAKE IT STOP STARING AT ME.") At 6:40, they actually let us inside--if you were at the Lee Branch Rave and heard a girl yell "MOVEMENT!" for the benefit of the back end of the line, that was me.
("EMILY. IT'S STILL STARING AT ME.")
So then we're all trudging through the theater to the screening room at the back, and suddenly there is a TEEN GIRL STAMPEDE pelting past us, because apparently SOME OF US can't proceed in a fair, orderly fashion (said the girl who got jumped to the frontish of the line). "The old lady in me is pissed," said Emily. "Stay in line! Wait your turn! GET OFF MY LAWN!" Once we're at the right room, there are two crabbed old leprechauns (what? Times is hard, will work for gold) with security wands checking everyone as they go in. My purse even got searched: "I'm just looking to see if you've got a cell phone," he crabbed at me, "or a shotgun" (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP), to which I nearly blurted out, "What, is Robert Pattinson here or something?" Apparently the shorter of the leprechauns got a little handsy, though--he smacked a number of female rears with his wand, and the friend who got us the passes was reportedly hit in the crotch with it. We then got numbered, neon-green slips of paper (mine: #47) instead of actual ticket stubs, so that we could leave the room and come back if we needed to.
Once inside, we saw that a HUGE number of seats in the middle of the room had been set aside for "PRESS." (I totally need to snooker someone into bestowing a press pass upon me.) In the theater, there were women of all ages, from five to fifty, many of them quite attractive, and two men. Gentlemen of the het persuasion, let me tell you: go to this movie. It's better than a singles bar. Anyway: Em and I were seated by 6:45, but the entire line wasn't thoroughly searched until about 7 pm, based on what I overheard from my fellow patrons. I overheard a number of things, actually:
"Do all three of you have them? Are you all Team Edward? That's good times right there."
"There's this store called 'Hot Topic' at the Brookwood mall..."
"He's only seventeen! They have to be at least twenty-two."
"...I sparkle; we're all good."
And then a manager came in and cheerfully announced, "We're about to start the movie, so keep your phones off if you managed to get 'em in, because you might get kicked out!" The audience: "WOOOOOOO!" A girl behind me: "YEAH! KICK 'EM OUT!"
And then suddenly the movie started, right on time (7:30), but with no previews at all, so the audience was taken off its guard and took a moment to settle down. Honestly? There was no screaming, so it's just as well that I didn't risk smuggling in the iBella to try recording anything--much like the first time I saw the first movie, it was more of a worshipful church atmosphere. There were a number of combination laugh-gasps at the incredibly blatant Jacob fanservice, when Taylor Lautner strips off his shirt to dab ineffectually at a trickle of blood on Kristen Stewart's head. There were some laughs, some gasps, some sighs--I have "clapping" written down in my very cursory notes, but I forget what the occasion was.
THE MOVIE ITSELF
Overview: I hate to say this, but... the filmmaking on New Moon (direction, visual style, cinematography, etc.) is better on an aesthetic level, but... I think Twilight holds up better as a piece of storytelling. I KNOW, RIGHT? And I don't think it's Chris Weitz's fault (SHUT UP, I LOVE HIM), because I hate, hate hate hate, this book. It's basically a case of whiplash--you have this romance you're (theoretically) invested in, this perfect dreamy cupcake marble Adonis, etc., and then he LEAVES. So then you're dealing with this bullshit excuse for a love triangle, and I find it almost insulting that it boils down to, "I will always love him more, but jerking you around makes me feel good." So you just can't ever get invested in it, because you KNOW we're going to flip back by the end of the book/movie, particularly with all the heavy-handed Volturi foreshadowing. So then POW, Sparkles is back. And it's like--that whole hour in the middle, if we were just treading water until we got back to Bella's Truuuuue Love, what the hell was the point? And there's no action at all--they manage to show the Laurent fight a smidge and have Victoria running through the woods rather than have Bella only hear about both incidents later, and there's a huge long Let's Pile-Drive Edward Into As Many Hard Surfaces As Possible fight they trumped up for the end. That's it. The rest of it is the ever-so-thrilling push-pull of Bella and Jacob never having the least chance of getting together because she's irrevocably, inevitably in love with her eternal-emoteen vampire (she actually SAYS, "Don't make me choose. Because it'll always be him"), but they're still drawn to each other because Bella is destined to give birth to his future soulmate. Yeah. Kinda harshes your dazzle.
(Here's my question: if Jacob is drawn to the romantic potential of Bella's genes, why isn't he also madly in love with Edward?)
By contrast, nothing happens in Twilight, but it not-happens in a consistent fashion that builds steadily. It's got its own wonky iconic bad-movie charm, I don't know--that First Movie in a Series simplicity, and it works. I mean, comparatively.
@cleolinda: Home now. Spoiler-free thoughts: constant Taylor Lautner chestularity is really unnerving; didn't like Desplat score as much as Burwell's;
@cleolinda: Chris Weitz comes through with much more visual flair but goes heavy with the EXTREME CLOSEUPS; sparkling effect is greatly improved
@meggytron: @cleolinda: Is the chestularity like, his chest could cut glass or is it cos he's TWELVE?
@cleolinda: @meggytron: BOTH. It's so wrong. With the Marky Mark undawears hanging out and everything.
1. I really liked what Carter Burwell did with the Twilight score, particularly the "I Know What You Are" piece, which you hear throughout the movie but is probably best recognized as playing over Bella's sepia-toned vampire movie fantasy. Because, seriously: where is that movie? Can we watch that movie instead?
2. Dude, you thought the EXTREEEEEME closeup eyesex was bad in the first one, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
3. It really is. This time the sparkle reflects little rays of light, so at least it looks less like sweat. Of course, they kind of blow their wad by revealing it in the first scene.
@cleolinda: and Michael Sheen is NOTE PERFECT. He IS giddy dotty Aro, it's awesome.
HE SO IS. Obviously Michael Sheen is younger than the Dumblevamp I had envisioned, but his line readings were EXACTLY what I heard in my head as I was reading. It was hilarious.
@cleolinda: P.S. Alice's outfits disappoint me. I think she was wearing a painter's smock at one point.
Tonner, you best not put the Alice doll in any of the New Moon outfits, or I will be vexed.
@RainbowAshlyn: @cleolinda: But what I really want to know is how the monthspassingby thing was done! Was it as hilariously bad as I'm hoping? Literal black?
@cleolinda: @RainbowAshlyn: IT WAS DONE WITH THE ACTUAL NAMES OF MONTHS ON THE SCREEN
While the seasons change computer-graphically outside her window, no less!
On an unrelated note, I say this with all the respect in the world for the profession of cosmetic artistry, but: while the vampire pallor is generally better and more even, Robert Pattinson's lipstick is even worse in this one, which I had not believed possible. I think what may have happened was that Catherine Hardwicke's omnipresent blue filter may have taken a bit of the screaming magenta tone out of it in the first movie--something's definitely going on with the berry-red mouth on this weirdo guy in Bella's biology class, but hey, he's a vampire, I kind of see what they're going for--but Weitz, using more of a golden filter, inadvertently highlights it. And... it's bad. Really bad. P.S. ALWAYS BLEND AT THE NECK.
@queenanthai: @cleolinda: But HOW MANY FURSPLOSIONS DID YOU HEAR
@cleolinda: @queenanthai: NONE! None of my people are in Birmingham, I guess. ;_;
Meaning, how many cries of "Fursplosion!" at the appropriate moment(s), which people had joked they would do. Of course, what was I going to do? Blurt out "HAY GUYS!" in the middle of the theater?
The wolves are decent, by the way. When they first show up, I had a huge terrifying flashback to The Neverending Story, for what it's worth.
@cleolinda: Oh, wolves were pretty good. The last line is an unexpected cliffhanger. Sort of. We did have a genuine preteen stampede, but no screaming.
@bardic_lady: @cleolinda: No screaming at all?
@cleolinda: @bardic_lady: A few sighs and giggles, and one sarcastic AWWW at the last line.
(The last line, by the way, is: "[Pause. Pause pause pause. Pauuuuuuuse.] Marry me." *BELLA GASP* *SLAM TO BLACK.* I'm guessing this is because Bella's reply in the books is something along the lines of NOOOOO I DON'T WANT TO GET MARRIED BECAUSE MY PARENTS ARE DIVORCED AND 18 IS TOO YOUNG TO GET MARRIED, I JUST WANT THE PREMARITAL VAMPIRING BEFORE I GET OOOOOOOLD. A quagmire of a discussion to end a movie with, really.)
(Oh, and also? I'd seen a hilariously odd movie still a few weeks back, and since Book!Bella at one point mentions an Anne of Green Gables-style fantasy she has of what it would be like if she'd been alive in 1910 with Alive!Edward, etc., I thought, that must be what that is. NOPE. It's AN ALICE FLASHFORWARD TO BREAKING DAWN. I mean, I'm sure it's a hypothetical imaginary flashforward and it won't actually look like that, but OH MY GOD.)
So I'm pretty sure this movie's going to make a metric shit-ton of money. You ask me why women will go see these movies fifteen times each--you know I've spent like a year and a half discussing this and trying to figure out the appeal of this series, and you know that I've come up with several theories, most of which operate concurrently. In other words, it's no one thing; it's the sheer combination of so many emotional/psychological factors that's made this thing such a juggernaut. But here's my newest theory to throw on top of the pile: the popularity of the movies is all about the way the two leads look at each other. Well, mostly the way he looks at her; Kristen Stewart tends to play Bella with a permanent look of dazed lust most of the time (not that this is out of character). No, it's the way he looks at her, Edward at Bella (I'd really like to keep the real-life whatever out of this, because that kind of thing always creeps me out; I feel like I've been forced to become a voyeur rather than a viewer), like the sheer magnitude of his love for her is killing him, OMG IT IS KILLING HIM INSIDE, YOU GUYS. And both movies have featured constant, extreme closeups of said looking--entire scenes of nothing but what is basically tormented eyesex. It's emotional porn. That is exactly what it is. And due to the differing natures of various media, you don't get the visual of it in the books, which is why I think the movies have created even more of a monster than the books have.
Which got me started thinking--I read Kristen Stewart saying something about finding honesty "romantic," which... I can kind of see what she's going for there, but... hm. So I started thinking about romance myself, and I think I've figured it out: the key component of romance is tenderness. Because something can be totally sexyhot without tenderness; it's tenderness that creates the "romantic" atmosphere, the one that a lot of guys tend to turn their noses up at--because tenderness requires you to be vulnerable, to open yourself up and say, I want you, I need you, I am incredibly blessed to even be touching you right now. (Maybe that's where the honesty comes in after all.) So if you buy your girlfriend a dozen roses at the supermarket and toss them at her on Valentine's Day all, "LOOK, here you are, now SHUT UP until next year," you are doing it so very, very wrong, and she probably feels it. It's not about hearts and flowers and chocolates and money spent, and in fact all that ephemera is a convenient way to dodge actual tenderness, because you can feel like you've done something without putting any real feeling into it. And Twilight? Is all about the freakin' tenderness. It's larded with tenderness; feeling drips off the pages and oozes from the film stock and romantics eat it up and then turn around and line up for more. I mean, that slow dance at the end of the first movie, he is crying while they're eyesexing, for God's sake. That's like--the emotional equivalent of--I don't even have an adequate pornographic metaphor for that. (Dayna! A little help here!) And I confess, it gets to me too at times--Lord, let a man someday look at me that way--but I've also got the neurotic sparkle hilarity and the feminist rage issues to keep me sane and snarky. But this is also why I think Team Movie!Jacob will just never be as popular as Team Movie!Edward, because Robert Pattinson is just infinitely better at the angsty eyesex than poor teenage Taylor Lautner.
And if I'm right about this? Gentlemen of the generally unromantic persuasion, if you take any of this to heart, I have just upped your game by at least 50%. You can thank me later.
@cleolinda: ICE-COLD MARBLE-SKIN BURN from @ebertchicago: http://tinyurl.com/yfd28cp
@cleolinda: RT @queenanthai: Okay, fine. FINE! Very truncated review of the Twilight Parody Porno here: http://tinyurl.com/yeb5lm2 GOD JUST KILL IT.
(Zomg e-book! The Annotated Movies in Fifteen Minutes: Wizards!)