After reading Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer, I now understand why Twilight the movie stinks.As discussed on this blog, Life and Death is Twilight perfected. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE ON TWILIGHT PERFECTED. When I first read Twilight, I was not that charmed. I liked the book very much, sure, but I wasn’t hooked like other Twi-hards.
So when the movie came out I didn’t understand why some were disappointed. Some even called Twilight the worst movie of all time. Seriously? I thought. No way. Twilight the movie had Edward the vampire who was into Bella, and most of the main points seemed to be there from the book. I still liked the movie quite well, thank you, and until reading Life and Death, I didn’t have much criticism.
But then I read Life and Death, which is Twilight the book perfected, written with all of the gender roles reversed. Edward is now Edythe. Bella is Beau. And so on. Upon reading this masterpiece, Life and Death, and falling under its spell, I understood clearly just why Twilight the movie actually stinks. I watched the Twilight movie, trying to image the gender roles reversed, and coming up mostly disappointed. (In all fairness here, I still like the movie, just not as much as I could have.) As I discuss how the movie was lacking, I will compare the movie to Life and Death, since this book is how it all should have been told in the first place. And so, these are the reasons that the movie could have been 10,000 times better:
1. The Restaurant Scene
In the book, Edythe shows up and rescues Beau unexpectedly in Port Angeles. He’s thrilled that she’s there, and even more thrilled to learn that she’s following him. But it’s the first time that he’s with her in an intimate setting, when he knows that she’s a vampire. The tension in the restaurant is palpable, especially the moment that Edythe lowers her eyes, and asks Beau quietly, whether he’s made any progress in trying to figure out what she is. He blushes and the tension peaks.
In the movie we’re left with a pretty pathetic scene with Edward admitting he reads minds, sure, and on a “special diet,” but then he rambles on about he can read everyone else’s mind in the room, including a guy who’s thinking about “cat.” Tension lost. Nothing to build on for the ride home, since they had agreed to exchange information at the restaurant.
2. The Drive Home from Port Angeles
On the ride home from Port Angles, the tension builds, and Beau tells Edythe that he knows she’s a vampire, but that “it doesn’t matter.” Edythe gets very upset, and even yells at him a bit, but then calms down, admitting that at ‘least she knows what he’s thinking.’ This was a very important moment, especially for her, because he’s telling her that no matter the chasm separating them, regardless of the imminent dangers he’s facing, he wants to be with her. And that is huge! She knows what she means to him, and although it hasn’t sunken in yet, she’s given a seed of hope that she might actually be able to be with him, despite her own concerns for his safety and wellbeing.
The Twilight movie completely messes up this very poignant and important scene, just brushing quickly over the moment. Pretty much the only thing that happens is Bella realizes that Edward is really cold. Big whoop. Then when she gets home, and later on-line, she reads her books, and coupled with what she learned from Jacob, she figures it out. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! This totally misses out on the importance of Beau telling Edythe that nothing matters but them being together in the car.
The car scene is also an important development in the book because this is when Beau first holds Edythe’s hand. She even offers it up to him, and again, she continues to let him hold her hand when she gets pretty upset that the thinks ‘it doesn’t matter’ that she’s a vampire. This is a major hump they get over and it doesn’t happen at all in the movie. Fail!
3. The Cafeteria Scenes – Mutual Obsession and Mutual Risk
In the book, Beau starts to sit with Edythe alone at a table after coming back from Port Angeles. His friends are shocked and jealous at this development, and some of Edythe’s family are also unhappy. And yet, Edythe doesn’t care and offers her hand to Beau in public, even while getting nasty glares from Royal. Again, this is another major hurtle for them. Edythe is willing to advertise to everyone that she’s into Beau, and this is very exciting, especially from the reader’s perspective.
The book just muddles over Edward’s and Bella’s interaction in the cafeteria, belittling their conversations to mundane banter at the salad bar, not intimately at a table. And there’s nothing showing with them holding hands and no depiction of the displeasure of some of Edward’s vampire family. This is a critical fail for the movie. While even Jessamine and Eleanor have nothing personal against Beau, they are still apprehensive and incredulous, because Edythe is “obsessed” with Beau, and her involvement with him could potentially put them all at risk because “if it ends badly” the vampires will all be implicated.
Remember that Beau was accused of being obsessed with Edythe, and he was embarrassed when he learned that Edythe heard Jeremy accuse him of that. But then Edthye tells him that she’s been accused of obsession with him, too, further demonstrated by the fact that she’s willing to flaunt the disapproval of her vampire family, through caution to the wind, and be with him anyway. This is a cool dynamic that brings these two together. Unfortunately, it’s totally lost in the movie, relegated to an off-hand comment (“If this ends badly? … Oh, I would become the meal…”) when Bella comes to the Cullen home for the first time (for dinner … of all the stupid things).
4. Jealousy – Invitations – and Beau Talking In His Sleep
Edythe’s jealousy about Beau’s invitations from other girls to the dance is another key event that is completely lost in the movie. After Edythe rescued Beau, despite her fascination with him, and the fact that she couldn’t read his thoughts, she tries to ignore him. Beau suffers for several weeks as Edythe acts like he doesn’t exist. Then McKayla invites him to the dance, and Edythe is shocked by how jealous she was. And she became more anxious as other girls lined up to ask him to the dance, but she was relieved each time he turned them down. Edythe began to wonder what his answer would be if she asked him. That was the first time that she went to Beau’s home (his bedroom) in secret at night to watch him sleep. As she watched, feeling the distance between what she wanted and what she was supposed to do (ignore him), he said her name, more than once, in his sleep. Edythe knew she couldn’t ignore him anymore. The next morning, she offers him a ride to Seattle, which is to happen on the day of the dance.
These scenes were awesome in the book, instrumental to the development of the story, explaining Edythe’s motivations and building more tension to the romance. But in the movie, the whole bit about Edward overhearing Bella say his name is completely absent, and the whole part about Edward coming back around to Bella due to jealousy is more or less lost. Sure, there’s a scene when Edward was looking over Mike’s shoulder as Mike asked Bella to the dance, but Edward was already coming back around without jealousy. Any significance there is pretty much lost in the movie.
5. The Famous Meadow Scene
In the book, Edythe invites Beau on a hike to a special place where she likes to go when the weather is good. The purpose of the visit is to show Beau what she looks like in the sun, and more than that, to see if they can really be together. Will she kill him or will they work it out? In the book, there was so much build up to this event, including tension about whether Beau should back out, whether he should tell Charlie that he’ll be with Edythe to give her some motivation to bring him back alive, and whether they will make it as a real couple with a future.
The movie doesn’t really have the meadow scene at all. Just about the time Bella figures out he’s a vampire, she and Edward take an impromptu hike in the forest, she tells him she knows what he is, and he gives her a piggy back ride up into the mountains, where he tells her and shows her just how much of a real vampire he really is. Yawn.
The love and tenderness of the meadow scene is completely absent in the movie. In the book, Beau and Edythe slowly get more physically close to one another. Even after she nearly kills him, and there’s an inference that she might still, she confesses that he is the most important thing to her ever, which is a major climax and heart stopping moment. Then they get closer, and when they make it back to the truck, they have their first kiss. These wonderful dynamics are gone in the movie. ‘Hi, Bella, I’m really a vampire, and I’m dangerous … “ Yawn. The opportunity to portray a major romantic scene were completely lost in the movie.
6. The Sleepover
After making back from the meadow, Edythe stays over, sleeping in Beau’s bed no less. Here, Edythe explains much of what she was thinking in prior events, which is riveting, and the topic of sex comes up. Awesome! And importantly, Beau says he loves Edythe in his sleep, and tells her again when she’s still there when he wakes up. Geat stuff! But these scenes are all gone in the movie.
7. The Visit to the Cullen Home
The movie screwed this up, too. In the book, Beau is shocked when Edythe invites him to meet her parents. He does the right thing, though, so as to not be shady. The implication is that they are practically engaged, especially in Edythe’s mind, and she wants her parents to meet her new mate. (The importance of interaction with the parents is again emphasized when Beau talks privately with Earnest at the baseball game, and Earnest tells Beau that he approves of him. The inference is that Beau is asking Earnest for Edythe’s hand in marriage, which is very moving.) This is powerful stuff, which is again pretty much lost in the movie. Beau obviously wasn’t going to the Cullen home to eat dinner. In the book, Beau meets the parents and the rest of the family, and then Edythe plays “his” song on the piano, and tells him how exited Ernest is that Edythe is with Beau.
Then Edythe tells Beau more about her family’s history, and importantly, tells him that she once went out on her own to hunted humans. But it doesn’t matter to him, it seems reasonable, and this is again another major hurtle for them, which seems to be a final hurtle. After he tells her it doesn’t matter, she’s happy, and when he kids that she’s just not that scary, she shows him her scary side in jest. A very sexy moment. All gone in the movie.
There’s several other major differences, especially the ending for Edward and Bella in the movie, and the sublime fate of Edyte and Beau in Life and Death. The movie is still great, actually. But it could have been much, much better. It’s not too late, though. Maybe someone in Hollywood still has the guts and inspiration to breathe on-screen life into the most romantic story of all time.