Who didn't think I would go see this on opening day? I am not desperate enough that I have to go to a midnight showing, but I did manage to get off of work half an hour early so I could see the 3:40 showing. Why get off of work early? My friend's daughter had to be at work at 6 and my class started at 6 as well, so we had to play with our schedules a little to make it work. Luckily, Brooke works across the parking lot from the theater and my class was taking place about 5 minutes away....but I digress.
In 3 short words: Go See It!
This is by far the best of the trilogy. I was all but dancing a jig when I found out the director was none other than David Slade who directed one of my favorite vampire films, "30 Days of Night" (yes, snicker if you will but I happen to love that film). There is real acting in this film from the majority of the cast (we'll get to that in a moment) and the director of photography framed some seriously amazing shots.
The entire original cast is here again with the exception of Rachelle LeFevre who was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard due to scheduling conflicts. Bryce's role is small, but pivotal....she's good, but I think I still prefer Rachelle's smoldering anger to Bryce's. Kristin Steward once again reprises her role as Bella and still can't act her way out of a paper bag. I know everyone still roots for Teams Edward and Jacob (go Team Jasper!) but I am spending more and more time in the camp of Team Why-Is-Everyone-Hot-For-Bella. She spends the movie once again whining and being about as emotionally complex as a stick of wood. But enough already, I have covered this in other Twilight reviews.
The storyline of the movie has expanded a bit from the book in that we actually get to see Bree Tanner's vampire conversion, and everytime the Vampire Army is tromping around onscreen, the cameraman makes sure that Bree is in the shot....which is a shameful tie-in to get twi-hards to read that crappy novella (seriously, it stinks...thank goodness its posted online and I didn't have to plunk any money down on it). Oops.....digressing again. Sorry about that.
Jasper and Rosalee's characters actually have a presence in this movie, rather than the background characters they have been up until now. Their flashback scenes are very well done and aren't a distraction from the present-day storyline. I didn't realize how much more "Jasper Screen Time" I was going to get, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Jackson Rathbone popping up all over this film. His "mock battle" scene with Alice is fun to watch and his backstory is heartbreaking....I am glad that they fit these into the film. I'm also glad they replaced his crap wig from before with something a little more realistic. As my favorite character in the books, its about time that Jasper is established decently.
Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner are both comfortable in their roles and have come to truly be the embodiment of Edward and Jacob. . .you really do believe they are both desperate for Bella to choose them over the other. Plenty of eye candy for tweens (and some adults I know who should know better, right L & C?) who want an eyeful of Jacob's abs. Seriously, he has his shirt off in this movie so much that the writers decided to play with it and have Edward mutter at one point, "Does this guy even own a shirt?" Yes, the girls in the audience squealed over that. Ugh. I still fail to see the appeal of beefcake, but oh well.
The battle scene at the end is actually fairly graphic, considering the only blood that flows will be Bella's. Turns out the vampires are diamond hard and aren't that easy to break. It actually took me a few minutes before I understood why the attacks on vampires were accompanied by the sound of breaking glass and tearing steel. This movie certainly earns its PG13 rating between the intense battle, the Vampire Army munching its way through Seattle and a bit of steam between Bella and Edward (don't worry, nothing comes off....)
Bella's friends are still around, and Anna Kendrick's role seems to have been given more lines now that she's branched into other movies ("Up In the Air"). Best of the supporting cast still has to go to Billy Burke as Bella's father, our gun-toting, sheriff of Forks, Charlie Swan. As always, he steals pretty much every scene he's in (and looks fabulous doing it, if I do say so myself).
So will I see it again? Oh yeah. Probably not this weekend, since I am sure it will be swamped, but I am considering driving to SLC to see it in the IMAX format. I'll give it a week or two and then decide if its worth the time and extra money, but its definately worth the money to see one more time before waiting for the Blu Ray.