With Twilight I was so predisposed to love the film prior to even walking into the cinema due to watching the process, speaking with the filmmakers, seeing scenes ahead of time, and feeling that I knew what the final project would be like before ever seeing the full thing. I enjoyed the process so much, was glad to see the care that they took with the script and how much the story meant to them, that I was pretty much already decided that I'd like the film both as entertainment and as a cinematic work. Even now, all of these months later, I still certainly enjoy Twilight, but I can be a little more discerning about it. It's not a work of filmic genius, and in retrospect, it was almost too faithful to the book, to the point that the film was quite stilted in parts; the fans could fill in the holes, but the non-fans would feel it was a bit jumpy. I think this was necessary for the first film of the series, to maintain the Fan base and still introduce a decent film (think Harry Potter; how literal the first two were, and how stilted and dry they were as films. They had to do that to maintain the fans, keep the films close to the books, then once the fans were on board completely they could change a few things, take some chances, and make films that differed slightly from the books, but made much better films).
I'm excited to see New Moon, because it seems to be being handled rather differently. For one thing, it was an almost completely closed set. The producers I spoke to during Twilight were trying quite hard to get me onto the set of New Moon, but it didn't work out as there wasn't a 'visitable' day for me to go, and the gang I knew said I'd never get the kind of exposure I got during Twilight. The set was much more protected and secret. I wonder if this allowed them a bit more creative control; I wonder what liberties they've taken. I also think they've finally realized that they have something big here; a big moneymaker, an influential film in the industry, and massive power with the fan market. They're protecting their product, and frankly that seems to just be adding to the appeal! We have less leaking photos and information, and I think that is raising the suspense for the film.
I'm excited to see the visual elements under Chris Weitz's eye; it's looking more 'Hollywood,' yes, but I certainly don't think that's a bad thing for this film right now. It needed a bit of a boost so the production matched the reception; so the wolves don't disappoint, the sparkling doesn't look fuzzy and have that horrid tinkling sound, and so the romantic moments aren't cheesy and overdone..... and it looks like it's getting more of that treatment.
I'm sad I won't be at a premiere for it this year, but I'm kind of stoked to go see it normally in the theater with fans and non-fans alike, and make my own decision, removed from preconceptions.
In other news, I'm writing up my thesis, teaching two classes of Digital Communication, presenting at a conference next week on the 'Utilization of the Fan Base in Event Film Adaptations', turning that into a publishable article, I'm collecting proposals for my own anthology of Twilight criticism (see post prior to this one), working part time in the International Office, and somehow still managing to have a bit of a social life, travel, and make some plans for some Twilight-y events in the spring (Vampire Baseball anyone? :)
More soon, I'll try and do better updating this more often, particularly once New Moon comes out (a review at the least is coming, and hopefully some analysis too), and my spring activities start formulating a bit more. Happy wolf-watching all :)