Transmuting Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series into film is a tall order given the supernatural twists and turns in the story. The first film, Twilight, was a story on its own, developing sub plots that were nowhere in the book. The explanation for the differences – the book was too long to fit into the movie. Nonetheless, the camera on Robert Pattinson/Edward Cullen all the time was more than enough to keep the fans from questioning the bizarre turns the storyline took.
New Moon was more faithful in terms of sticking closely to the book’s storyline. The first noticeable sign was the Cullens’ fashion sense. No drab colors and nondescript ensembles like in the first film – the family members were every bit a fashion plate as they were portrayed in the book. The wolves were ferocious, snarly and gargantuan, and the Volturi clan was as unnerving as ever. Aro was menacing but it was a controlled form of intimidation, as underlined in the book. Similarly, diminutive Jane packed a mean wallop with her ability to inflict pain mentally.
Then disappointment set in. Episodes in the book I thought should have been dramatized were not adapted on screen. The walk underground into the lair of the Volturi was conspicuously missing. Entering the Volturis’ residence in the book was like trying to get into a heavily guarded fortress, but it was like strolling in the park in the film. Bella shivering and Edward unable to keep her warm was skipped, and her histrionics shortly before they were allowed to leave the Volturis’ place were omitted as well. These scenes heightened the huge differences between their worlds and Bella’s fortitude against the challenges posed by these differences on their relationship. Rosalie’s apology to Bella – who was catatonic – in the car was absent too. The latter was crucial because it underscored the evolving relationship of Rosalie and Bella.
But there lies the problem of transmuting books into films. The vision changes as materials are passed from one creative hand to another. Creativity allows only for one interpretation or visualization. Nevertheless, wouldn’t it be obvious that certain scenes must be dramatized? Let’s hope that Eclipse doesn’t stray from the book and that the scenes that should be adapted on screen be adapted and vice versa.
Another film Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince comes to mind, which was a big letdown. It prompted a friend of mine to sign a petition online calling for the replacement of the director for the last film installment. I was frustrated but not that frustrated. My main quibble with the sixth movie is the exclusion of major scenes primarily the big battle between Severus Snapes, Draco Malfoy and Professor Dumbledore, and Professor Dumbledore’s funeral where wizards and magical creatures paid their last respects to the beloved Headmaster of Hogwarts. Computer animation would have helped greatly in translating the battle and funeral from paper to film, wouldn’t it?
Another point of discontent was the scene where Harry Potter flirted with a waitress in a subway restaurant. Harry could barely speak to women, with the exception of Hermione, and there he was picking up a complete stranger. It’s risible – Harry as Don Juan.