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OBS BOOK VS. MOVIE: TWILIGHT

by Dawn, November 21, 2009

“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…,” he murmured… “What a stupid lamb,” I sighed. “What a sick, masochistic lion.”

When Bella Swan moves from sunny Phoenix to Forks, Washington, a damp and dreary town known for the most rainfall in the United States, to live with her dad, she isn’t expecting to like it. But the level of hostility displayed by her standoffish high school biology lab partner, Edward Cullen, surprises her. After several strange interactions, his preternatural beauty, strength, and speed have her intrigued. Edward is just as fascinated with Bella, and their attraction to one another grows. As Bella discovers more about Edward’s nature and his family, she is thrown headlong into a dangerous adventure that has her making a desperate sacrifice to save her one true love. (from amazon.com)

While Twilight had many passionate followers when the movie was announced, the book (first published in 2006) was unknown to the larger part of the world. By the time the movie hit theaters, however, it had a huge following. And yesterday New Moon broke opening weekend box office records–in a single day.

When Twilight was first optioned for the big screen, it had a few interested parties, including MTV. But their version would have involved Bella as a basketball player, with who knows how many other changes. Luckily, Stephenie Meyer retained the right to say no; so when Summit came along she knew it was the right fit. They committed to staying true to the book, and she was actually on set for some of the pivotal scenes.

Director Catherine Hardwicke wanted to stay true to the tone of the book, and added a few scenes in order to amplify the feeling of true love and peril. She added her own touches that distinguish the movie from the book without altering the atmosphere. Bella also became a stronger, more forceful character. As the director of the movie Thirteen, Catherine knew how to handle a teenage viewpoint without becoming patronizing. Screenplay writer Melissa Rosenberg was careful to add quotes throughout to appease fans who were prepared to pick apart the movie bringing their favorite couple to life.

The movie was filmed mostly in Oregon, but First Beach and Forks High School were used in establishing shots and recreated later due to budget reasons. Thankfully, accuracy and attention to detail were more important to the crew than artistic license.

Similarities:

– The characters names and personalities didn’t change, nor did the overall tone.
– The major scenes remained untouched: the van crash, the baseball scene, the meadow, the restaurant, etc.
– Some lines straight from the book made it into the movie.
– Music in general and specifically Claire de Lune are still important.

Differences:

– Some characters didn’t make the cut, like Ben, and Lauren was cut down. But the character of Waylon was added to give the “villain” vampires an extra scene to add to their menace.
– The Cullen crest. Catherine Hardwicke added it to give a sense of family and history.
– The beach scene changed from sunny to rainy, but only because of the filming schedule.
– Bella is a vegetarian in the movie, to amplify the Cullen’s being vegetarians.
– The tree-climbing scene and the line about “spider monkey”.

Overall Accuracy: 4 out of 5
In this case the difference is in the details; they are there to make up for the scenes cut for time.

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