Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Books vs Movies #1 - Twilight

Oh, thanks for the support guys! I figured this would be another one of those weird things that no one would want to read, but maybe I've stumbled onto something here (but then again, you haven't read my arguments yet, so you may change your minds!).

Yep, I have fallen back into one of my bad obsessions...Twilight. Bad because I get WAY too absorbed for someone of my age and bad because I can literally think of NOTHING else. In my "off" Twilight times, I call myself hating the series and sometimes I even think I believe it. Damn Amazon Prime for putting the movies in front of my face again, but it was partly my fault (I'll get to that in a minute). And I apologize in advance, this is gonna be long (but when are my posts NOT long?).

For those that don't know the series (and I'm not sure how that is possible, but some may not), there are technically four books in the series...Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, although I count five and a half, adding Midnight Sun, the unfinished manuscript of Twilight from Edward's point of view (Midnight Sun was leaked online before she had a chance to finish it, so she just got pissed and released it as-is on her website and, to be honest, I like it better than Twilight, finished or not) and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, all written by Stephenie Meyer. Then there are five movies...Breaking Dawn is broken up into two halves, directed by various directors.

I should also add that this was the first real "obsession" that my Sister had as well. She thinks she had it much worse than I did, but I think she got a real taste of what my life is like on a daily basis...getting so obsessed over something that it physically makes you sick. You can't sleep or eat or do anything else but absorb yourself 24/7 in all things "insert obsession here". To this day, it's still hard for her to hear the "T" word. Welcome to my life baby Sis. She still thinks she had it worse than me, so I just let her think that if it makes her feel better.

What started this was something so mundane, I'm still in shock myself. In an effort to break the Supernatural habit, I decided to start watching True Blood. I never finished the TV series and I stopped reading book 7 when I realized that Sookie and Bill weren't going to get back together (and I don't think that's a major spoiler for anyone). I won't speak too much on this, because this might be another good series to do, but once I finished TB, Prime changed my viewing preferences to vampire-related material. I wish streaming services wouldn't do this. I can pick my own movies, thank you. But, front and center of my recommendations, was the Twilight series. I laughed it off at first, but I was bored, nothing else looked good, so I thought, "oh well, couldn't hurt, right?". Yeah, I should know myself better than that by now.

When I first re-watched the Twilight movies (the first time in years, mind you), I was kind of shocked because I don't think it occurred to me how "off" and kind of "stalkerish" Bella and Edward's relationship was. I mean he literally watched her sleep for months before they even started dating! The first time they talked, they were professing their undying love for one another and how they couldn't live without each other. And considering it's a teen series, although they didn't have sex until they were married, they still slept together every single night they were together. Not really a good influence for the youth. I know I sometimes go on and on about how people complain at how Disney movies set unrealistic goals for little girls, but Sleeping Beauty has NOTHING on this stuff!

I even came to work the next day and discussed my new found "disgust" with a fellow co-worker who also used to be obsessed with the series and she kind of just went "are you just now figuring that out?". Guess I didn't notice it before because obsessions kind of blind you to the bad sometimes. I was kind of proud of myself for feeling this way because I thought that the dirt in my Pet Sematary hadn't been disturbed...I was wrong.

Purely by accident, days later even, I was putting something in one of my many junk drawers, and I ran across my stack of old Twilight ticket stubs from when I saw it in the theater. I kept all my stubs from each movie because I planned to make a display like the Cullens' graduation cap display with my tickets (don't ask me how many times I saw each movie in the theater BTWs, it's shameful), but by the time I got through Breaking Dawn Part 2, I misplaced the Twilight stubs. So I put the others away in a safe place for when I found the stubs from the first movie. Suddenly, there they were, right in front of me and the hunt began for the other stubs. As of now, I STILL can't find where that so-called "safe" place is and it's driving me crazy. Now I have the first set and not the other four!

Needless to say, because of the ticket hunt, I got to thinking that maybe the books weren't as stalkerish as the movies and maybe I needed to re-read the books and the chain of movie-watching/book-reading hasn't stopped since. I stop only to search again for the missing ticket stubs, looking in places I've looked dozens of times before (yes, I'm aware that's the very definition of insanity) and then I get mad and go back to reading or watching again until I think of another place to look or another place I want to re-look. Even the pups think I'm bonkers.

I do read them in order and I am a fast reader, so I can clear all six in two or three days, depending on what time I get off work (which has been earlier since I've been rushing home so I can read and watch). I still manage to clear at least one movie a night and all of them on the nights I don't read.

I do NOT include Life and Death. I don't know what she was thinking with that one (other than she wanted to make more money off of the original series...why not just finish Midnight Sun?), but Life and Death sucks ass (and yes, I hold that strong of an opinion about it). I am not a fan of fan fiction (although you guys know I love a good fan video), and that book is pure-de-old fan fiction written by the author herself. She switched the characters gender around and basically wrote the same story, but with a gorgeous girl vampire and a plain boy. What girl would want to read that story? Especially one that was already obsessed with the characters in a set way? I can't be the only person that feels this way, but if someone actually likes this book, I'd love to hear your argument as to why. Maybe you can change my mind (or at least not make me hate it as much, I think my mind is pretty much locked on the subject).

I tend to think of fan fiction as bastardizing the original text and it crawls all over me in the worst of ways. My Sister loves it (and even writes some). How I ended up loving Once Upon A Time is beyond me, because it's basically Disney fan fiction (maybe because Disney was in charge?). I will say though, there is another exception to this rule and that's "professional" Jane Austen fan fiction (think Death at Pemberley and the like), but that's another story. I'm kind of glad I don't like fan fiction anyway, I'd be horrible at writing it. I kind of see the characters and their paths as sacred properties of their authors. Granted, I can't control where my mind goes in dreams (and I dream of Jasper a lot lately...my favorite Cullen or Hale or Whitlock, depending on which last name you prefer...and is it surprising that he is my favorite? The most physiologically damaged one?), but when it comes to writing any of it down...nope, I'm not worthy. If others want to, that's fine, I just don't have to read it (and no, I haven't read a single bit my Sister has ever written and probably never will, I don't even know her pen name).

When it comes to the movies, I had read the books long before the movies came out, so I had a preconceived notion of the characters in my head. The casting agents did a good job of picking actors and this is a sore spot for me because most of the actors they cast I hate otherwise. There are a few exceptions, all male, of course. I do love Robert Pattinson, but I haven't seen another one of his movies that I have liked (and I think I've pretty much seen them all...Harry Potter doesn't count and that's another list). I like that movie that Kellan Lutz did with Mandy Moore called Love, Wedding, Marriage, but other than that, his back catalog blurs in my head. Obviously, since Jasper is my favorite, I love Jackson Rathbone, but I honestly can't say I've seen another movie he's done (maybe a TV episode or two). And poor little Taylor Lautner...he's made a ton of movies, but I can't see him as anything other than Jacob. I don't think he's been typecast in Hollywood, just in my head. I keep trying though, every movie of his that comes out, I watch, but I only see Jacob doing other non-werewolf/shape-shifter things.

It is extremely rare for me to watch a movie with actors I hate and I can't stand Kristen Stewart (her speaking pauses drive me insane and I can't get the image of those photos of her having an affair on Robert Pattinson with that married director out of my head) or Ashley Greene (who, I'm not sure why I don't like, I just don't). But, for some reason, I don't see them as them, but as the characters and I can see past the quirks that make me hate them. Other actors, like Tom Cruise (who I also can't stand), don't get that honor, I refuse to watch any of his movies (although I did see Top Gun, for the sake of Anthony Edwards, but walked out of the theater when he got killed, so that was that), so it must be the obsession blinding me again. Same thing with Once and Jennifer Morrison...I hate her but I loved that show. My Sister hates her so much I never could get her to watch Once, although I know she would have loved it if she could have seen past Jennifer. I'm also not a big fan of Anna Kendrick, but she's been in a lot of movies I like, especially Mr. Right with Sam Rockwell (that's one of my top 10 favorite movies right now) but again, I think it's because of Sam and not her. Sometimes, the men can outshine the females and the Twilight movies are the exception that proves the rule.

I mentioned it earlier, but yes, I am team Jasper. He's the one I would be more attracted to than the others, but I'm also a Captain Wentworth girl when the rest of the world goes for Mr. Darcy, so that's not so surprising. I have a type. I don't think I have much in common with Alice (well, other than that whole being locked in a mental institution thing) or any other girl character for that matter, but if I had to pick a Cullen, it would definitely be Jasper, hands down. I don't think he gets enough screen time and, as much as I don't like Ashley Greene, I do wish they would have at least mentioned her past just a bit, if only her brief connection to James. I would have also liked to visually see the moment she was waiting for Jasper when they first met...it would have been nice to see true love bloom in more than one Cullen. They gave LONG backstories for Carlisle and Rosalie, ones that I don't think were that necessary, especially when Alice's was far more interesting. At least they did give a long one for Jasper, even if it wasn't the one I wanted to see. It would have been nice to get more of Emmett's as well, even though his wasn't that exciting, in either book or movie form.

When it comes to movies vs books though, this is one of those rare occasions when I'm gonna go movies over books although it's a close race and I flop on this issue constantly from obsessive phase (this time it's apparently movies). The books enhance the movies because a two-second touch means more because you had a two-page description in the book, or a smile or movement has deeper meaning because you know why, thanks to the books but, other than that, I'm perfectly content with the movies because they do get a lot of it right and don't leave too much out (although some things they do leave out bother me, more in a mo-mo). But I would still suggest reading the books so you know all those little details. Maybe watch the movies, read the books, and then re-watch the movies to see what you missed.

Since I'm not a fan of a lot of the actors, I can't answer why I prefer the movies because what they do leave out does bug me. Important details like Alice's past or cutting scenes from Twilight that explain Jasper's abilities (it was literally four little words, not a big time saver folks) and then they just spring it on you in New Moon that he can control moods, like you should already know it. Sure, if you've read the books, you know, but if you hadn't or seen the deleted scenes from the first disc and you hit that scene, you're like "wha?". Or when Edward gives Bella the gigantic diamond to add to Jacobs little hand-carved wolf bracelet and she just blows it off because she thinks it's a crystal...the movie does the same leaving the audience thinking as Bella does. Only those that read the book know that's a massive rock. That bugs me. And then they add in things they shouldn't like the big battle at the end of Breaking Dawn Part 2 that didn't happen in the book and that still makes me cry every.single.time. It's really weird. By all accounts, I should prefer the books. Little things they could have added that wouldn't have added much time to the movies but could have made all the difference from the page to the screen. Movies nowadays are almost 3 hours anyway, so what's 20 or 30 more minutes, especially considering the first two movies are barely over an hour and a half.

And speaking of, I do own the extended versions of each of the movies, so there is usually 20-30 minutes of extra material that adds in some gaps from the books. I also got lazy and bought the digital versions of them from Amazon so I wouldn't have to keep changing discs. It's one of the few series that really does take a lot of the dialogue from the books verbatim and doesn't leave much out. Most series don't do that or change the story line altogether although the Twilight movies often switch dialogue between characters (Edward might say something in the movie that Bella actually said in the book or vice versa). That drives me bonkers, especially if I want to see it visually or if I have it in my head one way and I see it another and I can't reverse it, but I do that in life too...I can drive easily to Gulfport without GPS since I've been dozens of times, but I have to use it on the way back every single time because I get confused even though I should know it by heart. I can't separate them as two separate trips, but rather, I see the homeward way as reverse of the to way and it's like walking backwards. It's why I don't come home from work the same way I go to work...I'd have to think too hard about the route, despite 23 years of working here. It's just easier to go two different ways.

But in some cases, the changes in the movies had a stronger effect on my obsession. The extended baseball scene from the movie (which was barely a deal in the books) caused me to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to learn baseball bat aerobatics like Jasper during the first go-round. I don't have a steel bat anymore, or I'd probably be in the yard every night doing it again.

And don't get me started on the music...I literally hear certain songs playing in my head as I'm reading certain scenes in the books. It's annoying, especially when I'm not that big of a fan of the music (well, except for the first one because I adore Linkin Park...betcha didn't see that one coming considering my penchant for certain types of music and I typically can't listen to singers after they die, but Chester Bennington is the exception because Linkin Park is my "stay away from me if I'm listening to it" music). I don't own the soundtracks past the first one, and I'm trying desperately to keep myself from buying them. They haven't gone down in price like the movies have and I can't afford them, at least not all at once. I also know myself well enough to know that I couldn't just buy them one at a time, so best not to even start that.

So here I am, locked again the Cullen/Swan/Black world, cringing during the day because I have to rush home to read or watch or hunt (or all three). Granted, it's been a great diet because it's hard to read and eat at the same time. I have gone back to sleeping in the bed though, which is kind of unbelievable considering I've been sleeping on the couch for almost two years. I dream better in the bed and I typically dream of Jasper most nights. Again, I hate myself for even typing those words. I am too old to behave this way and it's a good thing I'm not seeing the shrinks right now because they'd probably up my meds (if I was on them). Of course, this isn't even my worst case of Twilight-itis, so I guess I should be grateful, but I still feel a bit like an idiot.

The people at work who know I go through obsessive phases, sometimes ask me "hey, what are you into now?" and I'm starting to get that. I either don't answer, or say "nothing important". I think that probably makes me look more suspicious, but it's better than admitting the truth...that I've fallen back into tween-dom. Should I be embarrassed, or am I being silly? Should a 47 year-old female with my conditions be embarrassed over having an obsessive phase with Twilight...again? I just don't know anymore.

What are y'alls Twilight stories? Hate it? Love it? Books vs movies? Got any good thoughts about Life and Death?

Addendum:
Two hours after I published this, I bought the other four albums and then another two hours later, I bought the one movie companion book I'm missing and another complete movie companion book. Yeah, I suck. It's probably only gonna get worse because I've already started looking for cross stitch patterns on Etsy (and ironically, I've found NOTHING...wonder if that's bad or good?).

6 comments:

Keebles said...

Khristine Doiron said...

I think it is totally fine! Who cares how old you are :)

And I liked the books better. I was so excited for the movies and I liked most of the actors at first but the real life baloney between Robert and Kirsten ruined the whole series for me. It took me years to watch all the movies and to be honest I'm not sure I actually finished all of them. I think I did but I can't say for sure. And it has been so long since I read the books and saw the movies that I can't think of specific things they left out of the movies but I know there were a few that bothered me at the time. One thing I do remember is when they recast Victoria. Rachelle Lefevre was a much better Victoria. Anywho, I loved reading what you thought about Twilight! Can't wait to see what you pick next to compare :)

Leonore Winterer said...

I agree with Khristine - it's totally fins to obsess about almost everything at any given age (with the few obvious exceptions that could get you into jail!). I kind of wanted to add 'as long as it makes you feel good', but I guess 'as long as it is what you need right now' might be more appropriate.
Although, honestly, I might hate you at tiny little bit right now because I thought I had left my own Twilight obsessed phase safely in my late teens, and now I feel like going home and rewatch those movies (which Felix will probably prevent - but I actually managed to get him to go to the movies with me to one of the first ones, back before we were even dating...he can deny all he wants, I knew he was into me!) or re-read the books. I haven't read Bree Tanner yet....hm. I think I read about one chapter of Midnight Sun, but didn't know Meyer was going to do the whole book like that. And when I saw Life and Death on amazon for the first time, I really thought this has to be a choke - I've been debating whether to read it (and probably laugh about it) or not ever since!
I didn't really like the first three movies too much, but that's possibly because by the time I watched them I had already realized how stalker-y and cring-y that whole Bella/Edward relationship is...but I did enjoy Breaking Dawn, both the book and the movies. I can't remember things to clearly now, but I do recall I even liked the changes they did for the movie version, it was really fun to watch and I even heard several non-TL-fans say so.
Now look how you got me rambling, haha! I think I'll stop this hear and not start discussing actors (I'm terribly at remembering names and keep having to look up faces on google anyway). Hope you find those ticket stubs soon, so at least that part of you will be satisfied!

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Great post and a great critique of the films and books. It's fine to have an obsession over this no matter your age! I read them when I was a Librarian in a High School and had to fight the kids to get to the books first LOL.
I was much more Team Jacob than Edward. He was definitely a stalker type!
What do you think of The Lost Boys? That was my favourite vampire movie. I was about to say "modern vampire movie" then I remembered how old it is now LOL

Mii Stitch said...

I must admit I have only watched the movies quite recently, last year I think. So obviously unaware of all the craze at the time they came out in cinemas and all the real life drama with some of the actors. I was hooked when I watched them and love love love, absolutely love the song they've used for the wedding scenes. This said, I don't fancy reading the books. This can't be said with the Harry Potter series. I am crazy about the movies, absolutely love the books, always want to keep visiting the studio tour and simply wish this world could exist. They could do so much more, more side books about the Malfoy or Black families... I am obsessed with HP, so no shame in being with Twilight ;)

Bethan said...

There is nothing wrong with being 'obsessed' by a series. I have folders of stuff about Lord of the Rings, and know the extended editions by heart! Harry Potter is a close second! I loved Twilight when it first came out, but was not a fan of the movies; I found Kristen Stewart particularly annoying, and all the stuff missed out drove me mad. I have re-read the books recently, and I would say my favourite is Twilight, but I wouldn't miss the other books if they weren't there (especially New Moon. I can't stand Bella in New Moon). Thank you for an interesting read! x