I am not going to do a plot synopsis. If you don't know the plot then you need to read my blog more often. :-P
VERDICT: MUST see gain. MUST buy on DVD the day it comes out.
I loved it, all two hours and two minutes worth.
So, the points!
- The Opening Sequence is Bella in voice over "I never thought about how I'd die." Shows a deer drinking at a pond, and then Edward hunting it. But we can't tell it's Edward.
- The scenery is absolutely gorgeous.
- The biology class scenes are priceless. When Edward first smells Bella, his reaction is funny. He actually covers his nose. The second time they're in class together, he actually talks to her, which is a plus.
- The "saving from the van" sequence? Awesome.
- The Meadow scene--I thought the sparkling was quite nice. It was subtle but it was really cool. I didn't think it looked bad at all. And the meadow was so beautiful!
- Tree jumping/running: I also thought this was well done. Some critics have panned it, but this was a low-budget film, and they tried to make it look as "real" as possible, which means no crazy Spiderman/Batman stuff.
- The family meeting: Different than the book--the family is making Bella an Italian dinner. The CD playing is La Traviata ("The Fallen One"). Rosalie DOES NOT like Bella at all. So much so that she shatters a glass bowl. Alice, of course, is wonderful with her. I loved her "I'll be seeing more of you soon," line to Bella, and Edward's glower.
- Dinner in Port Angeles--very cool. Especially when Edward says, "I can read the minds of everyone in this room--except yours." He acts that scene so well (more on that below)
- Edward playing "Bella's Lullaby". Sigh. And yes, that is Robert Pattison playing the piano!
- Dance studio fight--wow. Much more physical than I thought. Bella gets a cut in her scalp, her leg breaks, and then she gets bitten. Really, she's bleeding everywhere. Alice gets some of her blood on her hand and drinks in the scent, before realizing that it's Bella we're talking about. Her leg bleeds so much that Carlisle has to put a torniquet on it (I think it's Alice's belt, actually). Emmett, Jasper and Alice take care of James while Carlisle tells Edward to suck out the venom. He almost can't stop. The scene itself is also visually beautiful--all the mirrors, the moonlight, the shadows.
- BASEBALL! It was awesome! And that's the scene where "Supermassive Black Hole" (my favorite song on the soundtrack) is played. TRIVIA: Robert Pattinson didn't know how to play baseball before the film (he's a Brit). The cast had to teach him. Apparently the crouching didn't come naturally.
- Hospital scene after the dance studio: Wow. Awesome, awesome acting. Bella is just so convincing, so desperate, in her desire for him.
- Prom was so sweet (and I mean sweet like sweet, not sweet like cool)! I loved them dancing alone, and Edward pretending to bite her (he actually kisses her instead). Bella is like the perfect femme fatale--her head back, hair falling down her back, neck vulnerable.
- The ending with Victoria at prom!! Awesome, and great tie-in to the next movie (Edward tries to track Victoria in New Moon).
Now, for the characters:
- Carlisle (who's called "Dr. Cullen" through the script) is played by Peter Facinelli. He does a wonderful job portraying the sensitive ER doc. In the book we get his back story, so we know that he is sort of tortured with his state, so he works to save people. In fact, that's how his coven (except for Alice) was turned. He is by turns warm, funny and commanding. My favorite scenes with him were the baseball sequence and the final scene in the studio, when he's telling Edward how to save Bella.
- Esme: (Elizabeth Reaser) has a smaller part, but she is terrifically fun and maternal. She takes to Bella instantly. She's the baseball "referee".
- Renee: Bella's Mom. Delightfully scatterbrained. Her hair is short and all over the place. She's kind of like a big kid. Funniest line: When she is talking to Bella on the phone and she asks if Bella is "being safe" with Edward. HUGE laughs, since they, um, can't have sex.
- Charlie: (Billy Burke) Reminded me a lot of my dad. Introspective, fairly quiet, watches a lot of baseball on TV (He wears a Mariners shirt at one point). He loves Bella deeply but isn't quite sure how to show it. Best scene: When Bella leaves him to run South.
- Jacob (Taylor Lautner) is a smaller part, but it's small in the book, too, so I take umbrage with one critic's remark that he's just a plant for the sequel. He does his job here--we see his interest in Bella, and he tells her enough for her to understand who the Cullens really are.
- Laurent (Edi Gathegi), French vampire, who has been dead at least 300 years. Part of James' coven but doesn't remain after James decides to attack Bella.
- James (Cam Gigandet) is a highly lethal "tracker" who desires Bella's blood the minute he smells her. He is totally without mercy and kills for the thrill of it, as we see in several previous murders that he and Victoria perform. Luckily, he dies. :) Gigandet is especially wonderful in the ballet studio sequence, where he doesn't just lunge for the kill--he sort of tortures Bella first.
- Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) is James' mate. She also enjoys the thrill of the kill and is very sensually motivated, using her beauty to lure prey. After James is killed, she swears to avenge him (important in New Moon). Lefevre did a great job with this character, making her menacing and beautiful.
- All of the Nomads have dark burgundy eyes. That's how the Cullens know they're "meat eaters", unlike the "vegetarian" Cullens.
THE CULLEN KIDS:
- Rosalie (Nikki Read): Wow. She really hates Bella. So much that she breaks a bowl! She is very resistant to the idea of helping save Bella until Carlisle talks some sense into her. She is, of course, gorgeous.
- Emmett ( Kellan Luntz): Just how I pictured him. Big and strong but really a teddy bear--unless he's talking about killing James. Then he's totally fierce and very, very scary.
- Jasper: (Jackson Rathbone) Does a great job playing the introverted Jasper. He's so afraid of hurting humans that he doesn't even shake Bella's hand.
- Alice (Ashley Greene) has great hair! And I love her choker. She is playful and very sweet to Bella--it's clear that they're "going to be great friends." She and Jasper run Bella south to Phoenix as they try to escape James. Favorite moment: When she enters the house by balancing on a tree branch and jumping through an open window.
And, our Stars:
- Bella (Kristen Stewart): Wow. She does a very nice job portraying the solitary Bella, who is so confused as to why Edward seems to hate her. In the forrest scene, she does a wonderful job displaying shock when Edward rips apart a tree. Her insistence that she loves him, no matter what, is very sincere. At times her face can seem blank, but if you know Bella from the books, you know she's probably just thinking. Her desire to save her mom overrides Alice's advice, and she goes to meet James at her old dance studio. Favorite moments: when she tells Edward she doesn't dance; the volleyball scene; the scene at the restaurant; the meadow; meeting his family; the dance studio; the hospital, and prom.
- Edward (Robert Pattinson): Sigh. First, he plays a Kawai grand (pretty much the best piano ever, right up there with Steinway). He plays a song that "Edward" wrote himself. He is really cute. His first scene with Bella is very well done; his sense of hatred/attraction is palpable. The anguish he feels at being a vampire is very evident in the forrest scene, when he tells Bella, "This is the skin of a killer. I'm a killer." When Bella says she doesn't care, you can see his face melt. That segues into their meadow scene. His first kiss with Bella is beyond electric. The furor he shows when he rescues her from the frat boys, and when James locks on her scent, are genuinely scary, which highlights his duel nature: beautiful, but dangerous. Bella's confidence in him is baffling--he doesn't understand how she can do it. He is closest to Carlisle, Alice and Esme, and doesn't really care for Rosalie (He tells Bella to "ignore her. I do.") Favorite moments: the piano; the biology lab; the first time he appears to Bella in her room; their kiss; kicking ass in the dance studio.
For the scenes they have together, they have excellent chemistry. She is fascinated by him and irrevocably in love. He loves her just as much but is so afraid of hurting her. Her solution is for him to change her, which is vehemently resists (at least at this point). He doesn't want to deny her human experiences. They make a fantastic pair and play off each other very well.
The bedroom scene is lovely. They have the perfect combination of sensuality and innocence. The prom scene is also very nice, where they dance alone in an outdoor gazebo.
And the dining out sequence--Edward is so tortured. He desperately wants to be with her but he's afraid of what could happen to her (either he'll mistakenly kill her or someone else will).
Some other notes:
--The only things that were visible were Edward's contacts in one extreme close-up. I thought that was sort of funny, because Bella asks him "Did you get contacts?" at one point, to which he replies "no."
--I love Alice, Esme and Carlisle. They are my favorite secondary characters. Jasper I like but he doesn't talk a whole lot. :)
-- La traviata, for you non-Opera buffs out there, is a Verdi opera about Violette, a Parisian courtesan who falls in love with Alfredo Germont. He convinces her to give up her lifestyle and move with him to a house in the countryside. When Alfredo's father discovers this, he visits Violetta and convinces her, for his son's honor, to leave him. When she is dying of consumption, he finally comes to her for a final farewell.
The connection, to me, would be the whole aspect of forbidden love--lovers from different worlds, who (supposedly) cannot be together. It is also, coincidentally, my favorite opera, and the first one I saw live.
--The other classical piece--where they dance in Edward's room--is DeBussy's Clair de Lune (which is also one of my favorite piano pieces to play--I was fingering it in my seat as the song came on). The title means "moonlight", which would be appropriate for them (even though the Cullens only have a problem with bright sunlight, because then they sparkle).
All right, enough for you? I will post more as I think about it....
But really--GO SEE IT.