Monday, December 8, 2008

New Moon: Formula For Success

I would like to clearly distinguish myself as a Stephenie Meyer fan. I am a fan of her writing. For whatever reason my brain says, "This is good stuff. I want more." This is a seriously amazing feat due to the fact that I have never been a reader and have never been a fan of fantasy or science fiction. I am not a literary snob when it comes to books because I haven't read very many of them, to tell you the truth. I get bored easy and will suddenly realize I just read a whole chapter and have no idea what I read b/c I was thinking of something else more entertaining. I actually made it out of high school without reading any more than maybe a couple of books. I actually used to make up books in my head and do book reports on them and get A's and B's. So, for me to be enthusiastic about a book, let alone 5 of them from the same author, is a miracle in and of itself! 

I just connect with the stories Stephenie Meyer tells. And so I do not consider myself as much a fan of movie translations of her books by other individuals so much as I classify myself as a fan of her written stories. They are my favorite form of entertainment and it is nice to be able to enjoy something that was written just for the sake of entertainment and enjoyment on her part as much as they are for me as a reader of them. 

All that being said, there is such an astronomical amount of hype going on about the movies part of The Twilight Saga. (duh. it's everywhere.) I was extremely thrilled beyond belief at the prospect of seeing Twilight brought to life physically on screen. The buzz was immediate for all of us in the fandom. The fans began marketing the movie even before it began filming! We wanted to know anything and everything about the movie! Set's, wardrobe, hair, the most seemingly minute details, you name it! The cast and crew literally had no idea what they had gotten themselves into. We are a very close-knit fanbase, and we are perfectionists about getting it right! Why? Because it is the story and the characters that we love passionately and only want justice done to them in the way Stephenie Meyer brought them to life in her books. 

The fans were lucky beyond belief that Catherine Hardwicke was the director of Twilight. She "got it" right away. She connected with the fans and acknowledged that it was the fans who would make it a success so it was the fans she would do her best to satisfy. She didn't have much to work with but she pulled it off! She caught the vision and gave us a movie that depicted the essence of Stephenie Meyer's story and characters honorably. 

Melissa Rosenburg managed to accomplish something few could ever do... condense Twilight yet preserve the essence of it. She not only did it, but made it look effortless! 

When you break it down, it seems like we have a proven formula for success in the box office... 
  • Stephenie Meyer's story preserved with integrity, 
  • Melissa Rosenburg to condense that story in a way that preserves its integrity, 
  • Catherine Hardwicke to direct the filming of the story and actors' portrayal of characters in a way that preserves the story's integrity, 
  • the pleased fans to market (maintain and build hype) for a movie they trust will honor the integrity of the story they love. 
The product of this formula is: a box office success. 

You'll notice, I didn't put any of the stars of the movie into that formula. Some would argue that the success of the movie was due to Rob Pattinson's excellent portrayal of Edward. I personally disagree with that. I believe the hype surrounding him is because young girls are confusing Rob Pattinson, the person, with Edward, the character. (Of course that doesn't mean the film makers won't use that to their advantage while filming NM.)

It is the character created by Stephenie Meyer that they are swooning over. The truth is, Yoda could have been cast in the role of Edward and we'd still love him, because... it's Edward! They could change out the whole cast (aside from Peter Facinelli and Billy Burke, who were flawless in their portrayals; and possibly Jackson Rathbone, who I'd like to see more from before forming an opinion) for New Moon and it wouldn't bother me. I dare to even suggest that they could replace THE Robert Pattinson and THE Kristen Stewart, and if the integrity of the story is still intact, the fans would still deliver and make it a success. 

*Please don't throw things at me! I reiterate, I'm a fan of the books more than of the actors involved in the movie. 

I, for one, am disappointed that Catherine Hardwicke will not be involved with New Moon. I can't even begin to presume what the whole negotiation situation between Summit and her was but I will give a little personal speculation here that she had the integrity to basically say, if they weren't gonna let her do it right... she won't do it at all. Once again, that is pure speculation on my part. 

The fans had faith in her as the director for Twilight and then had no doubts with her at the prospect of directing New Moon. So it's not surprising that many of us would be nervous about rushing the sequel and putting it in the hands of someone who may not have the same level of commitment and appreciation to "getting it right" that Catherine Hardwicke was proven to have.

However, if the film-making-powers-that-be keep the following simple formula in mind, I think we'll all be satisfied with the outcome.
  • Stay true to Stephenie Meyer's story and characters, and work WITH her on this.
  • Through every process, acknowledge, appreciate and involve the fans who will make it a success.
  • If the director isn't going to be Catherine Hardwicke, then at least let the director be a woman. Women "get" this story... it's just a fact. And it's women who made this story a success.
So there you have it... the controversy! Seriously, I just wish Stephenie Meyer had a new book coming out. I'm so ready for yet another literary masterpiece of fun just from her!!!  


Kathy Habel said...

Amen! I was so disappointed Catherine wouldn't be directing. Here's hoping Summit can figure out this fandom and not screw up New Moon.

Amy said...

I agree 100%! I'm so worried they will get a director that doesn't get the story.

Anonymous said...

See, now, I disagree. Everyone liked Catherine and her enthusiasm and her fan friendliness. Much in the way that teenage girls are in love with Rob because he's Edward. But the difference is that Rob brought a very tight, very emotionally charged performance to Twilight. His Edward goes from cold and angry and socially awkward to warm and risk-taking and strong. His struggles are clear on his face (although those in the audience not familiar with the story might not get why he's struggling so much). Catherine, on the other hand, gave us a choppy, error-laden mess of a film that is SAVED by the actors involved. She may be a great person. She may be an ardent fan of the book. But I don't think for a second that she was the right director, that she had enough experience with special effects and stunts or enough power with the cast to keep everyone on track, to produce a quality film. Too much bubble, not enough substance.

That said, I AM concerned that Summit will choose someone equally incapable simply because he or she is 1) available; 2) willing to jump through Summit's hoops; and 3) cheap. So I'll have my fingers crossed.

Amie and Karl said...

Thank you that was very well said and I agree I feel bad for Catherine and I am very nervous silly I know

Katie said...

I always enjoy reading what you write! I totally agree-I'm A SM fan and I too wish she'd hurry and come out with another book. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Well, I love SM books and was disappointed in the movie. I didn't think it had been directed very well...Kristen was so unhappy thru the whole of the movie. Instead of being in love. and Jacob was the worst actor no depth his voice is too kid like for me if she is to really have a thing for him I can't see it with young Taylor..well that is my 2 cents worth