11 October, 2008

New Twilight Trailer


Can we just discuss the new Twilight Trailer? I'm starting to worry that I'm not going to be able to look at the film objectively and critically at this point because whenever I see a new scene or a new image from the film I just get excited, and possibly a little giggly when staring at Rob Pattinson.

I think that's because I already have a lot of faith in the filmmakers though. I'm not waiting 'to see' or 'to be disappointed.' I already know that they are treating this adaptation better than most could imagine; I've already seen some pages, some scenes, and I know that it hasn't clashed with my perceptions of the novel, and it certainly helps that Stephenie Meyer was involved in every step of the process, approves all of it, and endorses it wholeheartedly. Just seeing the care that they've put into shooting every scene and the work poured over the editing process, well, it gives me some hope that this won't turn into a situation like The Golden Compass or The Seeker (ugh...depressingly appalling adaptations).

I'm sure all filmmakers care about the film they are working on, but I'm guessing that many just think of a film as a job and nothing more. While I know that the crew of Twilight have never once forgotten that this is still a business and they are responsible for its success or failure, I feel like they've truly cared about making the film for the fans, because they are fans too. They didn't want the film to be too different because it would alienate their own vision of the novel, not to mention the millions of fans they'd disappoint too.

And this new trailer... okay, the scene opens with an establishing shot of the Olympic peninsula, effectively setting the scene with tones of purple and gray with striking green hills to illustrate the mysterious and other-worldly feel of the location, and the first thing that struck me from a film-study perspective was the transitions, particularly in the first thirty seconds or so as the ethereal music comes up, until just after Edward stops the van from hitting Bella. If you'll notice, almost every cut is a quick fade to black and a quick re-light. To me, this looks like eyelids closing sluggishly and opening back up again on a new and equally as fantastic scene (fantastic as in fantasy-like). This technique throughout the entire trailer reveals in snippets what Bella is seeing, and how she is figuring out the story. I think this is a great device, as the book is from Bella's point of view, this opening and closing of 'the eyes' makes me feel like I'm a bit in a dream and watching this fantastical scene unfold in front of me through her eyes. Even though it's not from her point of view, it still feels like the trailer places you in an observatory point of view. It's not just clips cut together (although there are a few clear cuts) to show the action, it's an experience that draws you in. Also, the moment that Edward swoops in to save her in the trailer, the picture goes to negative, which I think is just brilliant. It's in that moment that Edward has decided (or not decided, but acted instinctively) to reveal himself entirely to Bella. His cover is down, and everything is reversed, and it all changes after this point; so the brief flash of the scene in the negative effectively illustrates this. Brilliant. With the other-worldly music at the beginning, and the suspense-filled phrases: On November 21... Nothing will be the same.... From the Worldwide Bestseller.... Forever... Begins... Now... the sweeping shots of the Gorge, the slow-motion of Edward and Bella walking to school together to emphasize their unusual relationship and how it sticks out to those around them, the focus on the supernatural elements of the Cullens leaping and running... it all makes for a very well put together trailer.

It's interesting how much of the supernatural they are releasing in this one trailer too. Having Bella say 'Vampire' especially after hearing about radioactive spiders, kryptonite, heroes, bad guys and watching Edward rip apart a tree and gracefully catch an apple off of his own foot super-hacky-sack style... it raises the interest as well as the expectation for what we're about to see. He's a different character than most have ever experienced before, and I think the trailer illustrates that well. Many vampires have existed in the history of literature and film, but not one that abstains from his drinking-from-humans tendencies ("My family, we're different from others of our kind"), lives as a member of a loving family, falls in love with a human and proceeds to date her (the kiss... oh, the kiss... need I say more? You can almost see Bella 'attacking' him and him obviously enjoying it, but trying to restrain and back off at all times, and "You are my life now," Yes, I swooned. I know I've talked about the visible chemistry between Kristen and Rob, and Stephenie Meyer has also talked about it at length, but hopefully you can see a bit of it now too)... these are new territories in the realms of storytelling; hence, perhaps, part of the huge appeal of Twilight to readers, although just the dreaminess factor of Edward alone doesn't hurt.

I also enjoyed seeing some of the scenes that I watched being filmed in April- now edited, filtered, cleaned up and rehashed on film. It's bringing the whole experience full-circle. Like the restaurant scene- there was only the one small clip in the trailer, but it looks so different from what I saw filmed in April. The light is softer, the sound clearer, the focus more exact. It makes me wonder which of the hundred takes taken that day they used, and how they decided that those shots were the perfect ones to piece that scene together. And I think about how that was a really rainy day, it was cold and very long, they shot that angle of Rob's face with the back/side of Kristen Stewart's face at least two dozen times, Kristen was full of mushroom ravioli and was worried about eating more, and how none of that peripheral drama plays into the scene at all. It still amazes me how when creating a film all of that side action of 'real life' is forgotten and the focus immediately comes back to the text and the story. Just think about how often in a day you get mad, or hungry, or giggly; can you imagine having a small slice in the middle of whatever emotion you're feeling be completely removed from that situation? I don't think I can turn things on and off like that... I guess that's why I'm not an actor!



















(This first picture is the restaurant with no special lighting; it was before they started setting it up for filming and I was able to duck in and take a picture. It's all a bit chinky and somewhat awkward, and the second one is a screen shot of the day, and you can see how it already looks more appropriate and romantic with the lighting etc, and then see the clip from the trailer and it looks spot on. It's so interesting what they can do with art directors, set dressers, and lighting.)

And while I'm on this tangent... I think I've said this before, but it was also interesting watching the preparation processes of Kristen and Rob. Kristen would disappear for a long time between scenes, spend a lot of time in her trailer, and she didn't linger around with the other actors much. She would prepare, focus, come into the scene and shoot it brilliantly, checking herself in the middle of takes, asking to do it again if it wasn't right with her etc., whereas Rob would meander, do what he pleased, and when it came time to film he would pause for about twenty or thirty seconds before action, stare at a spot on the floor or off into the distance, and then he'd be in it; he'd be Edward. It was just neat to witness how differently they prepared and how well each tactic seemed to work for them.

Of course I'm now even more intrigued than I was to see the film in it's entirety (I didn't think that was possible...). I'm working on an article right now on how Twilight is adapting a work the way that I think works should be adapted...at least in the realm of fantasy literature, although the principles described can apply to any adaptation. I just feel like when a film is created by fans for fans, with the help and approval of the author, if that underlying passion and desire to present the film as well and with as much of the spirit of the book present as possible is there- it just easily translates to the film. There's no way not to feel the passion and care put into a work when people really care (i.e. The Lord of the Rings. That was a whole set of Tolkien fans, and look at how well the films turned out, winning scads of Academy Awards and winning over millions of book-loving fans).

I. Cannot. Wait. It's been such a brilliant experience to live with this adaptation from the beginning. Well, not the super beginning as I wasn't there when Greg Mooradian bought the rights, but seeing it from filming, to editing, to marketing, and soon to release... it's all very exciting. Just the filming techniques put into the trailer give me hope that the film will be even more specific and thought-out.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

In addition to The Golden Compass and The Seeker's films...you have Eragon, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. The latter was even WORSE because they combined three books into one :\
Nice overview, though. After watching the trailer again (my heart is still racing despite it being like my millionth view), I agree with your transition comment. It makes me very, very excited :]

Bridgette said...

First time ever to your website, and I just have to tell you, its just fantastic. I can't believe I havent been here before! :) I just wanted to throw a few comments out there. I am also very, very excited about the movie as well. But I just wish somebody could agree with me on one point: Rob Pattinson. Ok, I know he has a HUGE following, especially for this movie, but for me, he's not Edward. Big shoes to fill yes, but not even close! I know that could be because I had such a different picture in my mind as I read but, how could it just be me? Just wanted to throw that out there and see how you, or anybody felt. :) Thanks again, your blog is wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Wow, great analysis! I think you summed up all my feelings(but of course more eloquently)and more. Keep on posting, you're great :)

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog today, and I read it all the way back to November of last year. I was so glad to find you - your perspective on adapting text to film is so helpful to me. I have read nothing but positive comments about the trailer(s) and my daughter (14), my sister (26) and myself (39) were beginning to wonder if we were the only ones who weren't so sure if the movie was going to do justice to our book. Your input really helped me understand more about what it takes to turn a book into a movie, and I thought I was fairly informed about that before. :) I'm going to make sure my sister and daughter read your blog. Thanks again! I'm excited about the movie again!
Oh...and I'm unbelievably envious of your education/job. If only I'd known you could get a PhD in Twilight and Harry Potter! :)

Natasha said...

Bridgette,

Prepare to eat your words about Rob.

That is all.

Muggle Mom said...

awesome blog! thanks for your insights!

bridgette said...

Natasha,

Yes, yes I know. I think that Rob is a very good looking guy and an amazing actor, but for me he just doesnt fit the role. Sorry! Didn't mean to offend anybody, just wanted to express how I felt and seeing there was somebody out there that felt the same way!

mjp said...

wow.. this article's realy good.. and you have a very interesting phD.. you provided a good information about what will happen with the movie and what we will expect.. and for your article, i think it;ll be my basis for my judgment, since you are studying them.. may God bless you always in everything you do! :)

Anonymous said...

oh.. and i would like to add: bridgette, never judge a book by its cover.. you never know what really lies beneath. rob may not be the edward we think of, but most of us think that he'll be (and he is so far) great in PORTRAYING edward. that's what this movie is all about after all: portrayal. :) i didnt mean anything harsh or anything, i'm just saying my point. i'm sorry for butting in.. God bless!

Leah said...

At least one of the twilight websites, probably the Lex, has directed me to your website a couple of times before. It was fun to see what you were seeing during the filming process. I had decided a few days ago that I was going to stop reading comments and articles on the trailer. First of all, I am a mom. So, definitely not a part of the nonsensical demographic. I have been so irritated by some remarks that I seriously decided to be Twilight free until the movie. Of course, it is a process because now I'm here commenting to your blog. I just want to say THANK YOU! I have loved these books for over a year and my daughter and I are so excited for the movie. Your perspective is thrilling and awesome and has renewed my excitement! Thanks!

richelle said...

holy crap! you are a blog superstar! i really don't need to repeat what so many others have said, but i will just a little. you were spot on the trailer. i have watched it at least 20 times since friday and i can't find anything i do not like about it. i am so stoked and cannot wait to see it together.

Paige said...

Thanks for posting this analysis. I so enjoyed reading your perspective. I'm a TwilightMom ~ someone who never expected to have an 'obsession' like this one. ;)

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! I can't wait to read more. Thanks for all your time =)

Phoebe said...

I loved your perspective of the trailer, and your comparisons to seeing it in real life. I thought the different ways in which the actors prepared themselves was really cool; thanks for putting that in. But overall, this is a great blog, and even though you're a fan, you do understand the possibilities of a let down in films... Harry Potter is an example of that for me. However, I now have the feeling this movie will be fantastic (as opposed to my thoughts before). Thanks for some great insight!

Anonymous said...

I have to add just one comment. I absolutely LOVE Cam Gigandet as James. He just fits the role perfectly.

jane said...

Just wanted to say that I've really enjoyed reading your entries. Thanks for all your great insight on the adaptation process, and especially the insider view for Twilight's adaptation. I'm glad the project was in good hands and cannot wait to see the movie!

Anonymous said...

Great blog - keep 'em coming :)

marneyd said...

What a great post. Let me add my encouragement to your thoughts on your paper. Your should write a book on how to do a successful adaption. The production companies which have botched it have lost tons of low hanging fruit/income by alienating fan bases. Successful adaptions are an art you seem to understand. Your credibility arises out of your personal experience and observations which are already cogent and perceptive. Not rocket science, but an art, nontheless. The whole economics of creating an adaption have changed in recent years because of the ability of a fan base to communicate with one another and to ignore that phenomenon/technological development is, well, imprudent economically. The percieved reduced risk inherent in using source material which has already proven to be popular can be more easily wasted today that ever. Twilight is going to succeed and you can be on the ground floor of explaining why and how it worked. An article or book contrasting the details of the approach used in Twilight with those that so painfully and obviously didn't work will be sought after. Go for it. If I had more time, and more front seat involvement with the film (which you did) and wasn't in a completely different line of work, I'd write it. Get it published. You'd be doing the production companies a favor. Not to mention our favorite director/producer team. I am now hooked on your blog. Thanks a bunch and keep writing!

s2mahs2 said...

Eu amo crepusculo, sou brasileira e estou esperando o filme aqui no Brasil que é um país maravilhoso.

shabbygeek said...

Wow. I read this post after visiting a link from twilightlexiconblog.com, and I loved it. Thank you for sharing this insight with the rest of us. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the film.

Joy said...

Hi! Just wanted to let you know that we mentioned your blog on our latest podcast if you want to listen. :D We really enjoyed reading through your posts!

http://www.robert-pattinson.co.uk/pattycast/

m~ said...

Love the trailer. I hadn't even thought about why the scene went negative or faded in and out. I was more up set that Edward left before saying anything.
Anyway, I love reading your blog, it's helped me understand why movies are so different from the book. I can't wait till November 21!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say, I've been visiting your blog since... April? March? sometime around then, and I think it is FANTASTIC! I love every new thing you post, and check your blog constantly b/c I look forward to what you have to say so much. And this latest post is probably one of my favorites so far (maybe- like I said, I love them all, so it's hard to tell, but this one was ESPECIALLY awesome). I agreed w/all of your opinions about the trailer (although you said it much better than I could have) and loved your analysis of the aspects of the trailer which I hadn't really thought about before. Your blog is one of the main reasons that I've had faith in the Twilight movie from the very beginning ("the beginning" meaning when I first found out about the movie being made), and each new post of yours only restores and renews that faith. I think this movie is going to be GREAT, and everything you've written only helps support that opinion. Thank you so much for this wonderful new post (and all of your posts in the past), and believe me, I'll be looking forward to more (I can't wait to hear what you have to say when the full movie finally comes out- I'm sure you'll have some amazing insights and opinions to add to my own!) :)

Anonymous said...

I know that many of the other comments say the same thing, but thank you for creating such an interesting site. I am currently attending high school and the Twilight craze has just hit its highest level - me and all of my friends adore the book(s) and cannot wait for the film adaptation. I am currently studying drama and film, and I found that your comments on the filming of the restaurant scene and the actors preparations truly intriguing. Thanks again, counting down the days til the release, an amateur twilight fan.

Debbie said...

I have been reading your blog since April when you began posting from the set and I still find your perspective enlightening and interesting. I can't comment too much about the movie. I have seen it several times, I don't think you will be disappointed. I commented before that the more you see it the more you enjoy it. I look forward to reading your review of the movie and your article on adapting Twilight from book to film. Bridgette, wait til you see Rob in the movie. I think you might like him better, but you may not and thats ok. We all have our own version of Edward.

Sarah B said...

Without giving anything away, one of my favorite things about the movie is how awsomely the music (esp. from the soundtrack)fits in the scenes! I bet you will know my favorite once you see the movie.