The first book of a series that has sold more than 17 million copies worldwide, Twilight has attracted readers of every age. Though classified as young adult reading, the four book saga now has followers ranging anywhere from ten to 60.
With the release of a film version of the first book last month, and the second, New Moon, already in the works, it is hard not to have heard of Twilight, the phenomenon started by author Stephenie Meyer. The original book is set in the town of Forks, Washington and follows the forbidden love of Edward Cullen, an absurdly beautiful vampire, and Bella Swan, an average, self-conscious 17 year old. The two quickly fall in love, learning the secrets behind Edward’s family and kind, and having to keep the secrets quiet.
Readers all have different reasons why they love the books. Steve Izarek, an aspiring filmmaker from Easton, PA, feels as though the history behind the Cullen clan, such as their back-story and the process of becoming a vampire, were explained well. This makes the books more original and interesting. Both Ashley Troxell, a Bloomsburg junior, and Amanda Rennig, a Penn State senior, think that the way the books are written is so detailed that the reader actually as though they are there. This allows the reader to really get to know the characters, forming bonds with them.
Even though the saga has seemed to turn into a global love affair with vampires, there are still those “Twihards,” as the followers are called, who were not sure how the movie would accurately fill the shoes of their beloved Edward and Bella.
Izarek felt as though the movie was “a fair portrayal” of the novel. He thinks it could have been better done, but the viewer needs to realize that only important parts of a 500 page book can fit into a two hour movie.
Again, Rennig and Troxell have shared opinions. They both feel as though too many important parts were, indeed, left out. Troxell wishes that the relationships Bella has with her classmates were better detailed. She also agrees with Rennig when saying that the relationship between the two main characters was not developed enough.
When discussing the main characters, there was a controversy with the casting of Edward Cullen since day one. Fans did not see actor Robert Pattinson, of Harry Potter fame, filling the shoes of the “vegetarian” vampire. Director Catherine Hardwicke cast an actor who could be both insanely gorgeous and terrifying at the same time.
Physically, Izarek is the only interviewee who felt as though Pattinson looks the part. He realized that no one can be as perfect as readers’ ideas of Edward. Pattinson made the character more approachable because he wasn’t overly gorgeous.
The film portrays the character as much more social and outgoing than the book version would ever be, Rennig feels. The book Edward does not really converse with the students of Forks High School, but the film version does on numerous occasions.
Kristen Stewart, the actress filling the part of Bella, seems to get good marks all around. Viewers feel as though the casting of this part was extremely well done. Stewart looks and acts exactly as Bella does in the book.
Despite the way viewers feel about the Edward and Bella portrayals, there are many more characters that are a part of what makes Twilight so successful. Some of these roles were not accurately cast, much to readers and viewers dismay.
First, Jackson Rathbone, the actor playing Jasper Hale, was not really the best candidate for the role. Jasper Hale is another vampire and Edward’s adoptive brother. In the book, Jasper was much warmer towards Bella than the movie led on. His physical appearance was also slightly “creepy,” as Rennig and Izarek both feel.
Charlie Swan, the Forks police chief and Bella’s father, was not a memorable character for Troxell. To her, Billy Burke did not really fulfill the physical expectations of the Charlie she had in mind. He did not really resemble a police chief.
There were still those characters that were a huge surprise to viewers. Prior to seeing the film, Izarek was a little wary about the casting of Elizabeth Reaser and Peter Facinelli in the roles of Esme and Carlisle Cullen. These characters are Edward’s adoptive parents, also vampires. In the film, though, Izarek realized that the casting was indeed perfect and led the viewer to “really like their characters because they were so warm and loving.”
Overall, however, all three “Twihards” said that the film was worth the $9.00 ticket price. Izarek gave the film a “B and would definitely recommend it.” He also “cannot wait to see what they do with New Moon.” Rennig also can’t wait for the second book to be recreated since she “has already invested so much time into the books.”
The public seems to agree. After raking in $70.6 million in its opening weekend, with a large amount of presales, the Twilight revolution continues to maintain extraordinary box office sales for theaters.