Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Moon Musts

Before I saw Twilight, I only had a couple of days to form expectations since I had just finished the books. That's usually the ideal way to go into an adaptation movie. Otherwise, you form too many ideas of how it should look and compare the movie to how you wanted it to be instead of really seeing whether or not it's a good adaptation. One of the concerns I got in that short time was over Edward and Bella's acting. Both characters hide a lot of what they're feeling in Twilight, and so the things they say and do might look stiff or unemotional to outsiders; that means an actor/actress needs to be good enough that they can hint at what's under the surface instead of just looking like a bad actor. Robert Pattinson completely nailed this. You can really see it when Edward and Bella stop at the police station going home from Port Angeles. They ask Carlisle what happened, he glances at Edward briefly while holding a conversation more with Bella. And Edward freezes, hearing what really happened. But you can see his concern, fear, tensing up in his eyes, in the very way his face stands motionless.

Now that I've had more than a couple of days to wait for New Moon, I've come up with a list of things I think the movie has to have to stay true to the book. In no particular order:

1. Both books share some similar plot points; it's all part of the story. But the moviemakers added some things into Twilight that are more like what happens in New Moon. The police tracking various attacks is one of these -- events are similar, but they need to be presented in a way that makes the story completely different. Because Bella is different.

2. Which leads us to our next must. New Moon has the ultimate sorrow. Bella really loses it, she drowns completely. That part has to be just as strong in the movie. Where you simultaneously just want to stop because it hurts so bad, but also have to keep reading/watching because you want it to end.

3. Along those same lines, the audience can't be given hope. You're left pretty hopeless in the book, even while you're intuition begs to differ. The departure of the Cullens (Edward in particular) has to be permanent; we can't be told that they're coming back into the story.

4. We have to see a big change in Jacob. First emotionally from the innocent, smiling character to the angrier Jacob, and also physically.

5. The Volturi have to be creepy. Volterra is my favorite part of this book; the Volturi are just plain weird. They can't always be understood, which is why they invoke fear. Keep them creepier than creepy.

6. There has to be a big difference between Bella and Edward's relationship and Bella and Jacob's. At this point, one is love and one is temporary comfort (where Bella is half-insane, so she really doesn't know much of what she's doing, anyway.) Movies love love-triangles; there's not really a love-triangle in New Moon. Almost, but not quite.

7. Edward's proposal should be as similar to the book as possible. I know they always have to change some of the wording and this and that, but it needs to keep as much of the same essence as can be done. It's perfect the way it is, plot-wise and emotion-wise; changing it too much would affect other aspects of the movie(s).

These are just minor hopes; they wouldn't be as big of deals:

1. The wolves are huge, not just big, huge.

2. When Alice comes back, there's a distance between her and Bella. Something edgy that wasn't there before. It dissolves quickly, but it creates the distrust you need as you slip into the truth of why the Cullens left.

3. Resist the urge for action. New Moon only has a little, and movies always like to up the action level. That's fine as long as they don't overdo it, just as long as you still look at it through Bella's passive eyes.

I'll probably come up with something else after I've seen the movie; I made this list pretty quickly. There's my experiment though. We'll see how it matches up to the movie in about twenty-five hours.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flyleaf & Liz

Two weeks since Flyleaf's Memento Mori came out, I can say that I'm quite happy with the CD. It has growth and just as strong a message as their previous work. The way Lacey Mosley sings, it's like her heart is right in her throat. I haven't found anyone who sings quite like she does. This album seems less heartbreaking than the first one, more ethereal, its songs find piercing joy amongst the sorrow. And one thing I could never grow to like before were the occasional screams; Memento Mori has practically none, of which I'm glad.

"Again" and "Beautiful Bride" are great starters to the album. "Missing" and "Set Apart" are two of my favorites. But the one that wins hands down for me, right from the first listen, is "Treasure." It's beautiful and bittersweet and fantastical and real and calming and encouraging. I think it's my new favorite Flyleaf song (it was probably "Sorrow" before . . . which is a kind of different song.)

And what is it about the "Liz" in the title? That's Liz Curtis Higgs I'm referring to. I decided I needed a key in, some author whose work was comparable to Flyleaf's. You see, Flyleaf puts so much feeling into their music. They don't stop at the surface, but keep on going in and in until it hurts, only to come at the kind of joy that's practically opposite happiness. That's what Liz Curtis Higgs does (with her historical fiction, that is . . . I've only read one of her other books.) Try reading Rose in Bloom (second in the Thorn in My Heart series) without at least getting very close to tears. She's not afraid to write everything down, and that means her happy moments are all the happier. So, Flyleaf and Liz Curtis Higgs, not sure how many people besides me are fans of both, but they have a great deal in common. Anyways, diversity is good: if everyone made their point in the same way, what would be the fun in that?

(The New Moon premiere was last night -- just a couple more days until it comes out. I'm trying not to think about it much, but I do promise a post about my expectations either tomorrow or Thursday.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009


True, some of my favorite books are part of a grouping. The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Twilight Saga, the Thorn in My Heart books, among others. True, I talk most about them, refer to them most often, know the most about their worlds. But, ironically, I have a general problem with books that are part of a series.

That isn't to say that I disagree with the format as a rule. It has its place, like everything else. But I think people can fall too easily into writing continuations instead of starting new ideas. We all love the characters and stories, but we don't always need to follow their whole lives. There is a proper place to end everything; if it drags on too much, I think we lose the ability to savor each moment. We think of quantity and let quality suffer.

Writers need to consider the question, what is the purpose of this book? Even if it is only written off of his own need, if it's published, it needs to be accomplishing something. Entertainment (then, what kind of entertainment?), a message, information. Just like writing a paper, everything needs to lead up to the greater purpose, including format. Like I said, entertainment can suffer if a book never ends. Or a message can be lost in copious pages.

I feel like a series ties me up too much. I have to read all the books, I have to keep track of when future books are coming out, I have to always be wanting more. I can't just read one book and savor it in my mind forever after. Reread it when I like, replay scenes in my head, discover new beauties. A series keeps going and going. Maybe it's reflective of our society: we always want more and forget to value what we already have.