So Claire and I went to see Twilight at the Saturday morning discount matinee. Claire, not quite 7, is about six years shy of target audience. She has not read the books. But she's seen me reading them, and we've talked about them.
Claire came so because it was a girl's day out. Other than High School Musical, which I'm not spending any money on, I can't think of many high school movies I'd let her to see. (Back to the Future or The Goonies would work, but they're pretty tame by current standards.) She hid under my coat for the scary parts (the worst were some of the previews), but overall seemed to enjoy the movie. Mostly she enjoyed getting to go to the movies with me--this is only the 3rd movie she's gone to since we moved to NY.
I enjoyed it mostly for the same reason. We met a friend from church, ran into a couple of more once we got there. It was fun to go out for this shared experience based on a book we had all read. And I didn't have the baby attached to me! Huzzah! (It would not have been fun to see it with Clint. I would have been judging the movie through his eyes the whole time and cringing--like watching Harold and Maude with your grandmother. He probably will watch it when it comes out on video--it's filmed in St. Helens and Astoria, Oregon, close to where he grew up.)
As for the movie itself, it was better that I was expecting it to be. Not as good as the first Lord of the Rings, but better than the Harry Potters (which never felt like complete works that can stand on their own independent of the books. Even the best of those, the 3rd, was confusing for my husband who hadn't, and likely won't ever, read the book.) The story was nicely tightened for the screen adaptation. My personal favorite scene from the book was absent (blood typing), but the film flowed smoothly without it.
I actually liked the movie better than I liked the book on the first reading. (Note-I've only read it twice, but it was better with the perspective gained from reading the entire series. That and I could skip through the repetitive self-deprecation and kissing and marble skin and velvet voices.) The movie eliminated the the whiny, self-conscious teen second-guessing that made Bella such an annoying (if realistic) character, making her much more decisive. The film didn't give compelling reasons for her to fall for Edward--she just announced that she was in one of the voice-overs. But then again, I didn't think Edward was all that attractive--maybe if I had, that would have been enough. The best realized characters were the dad and Alice.
All in all, not a bad addition to the chick flick category. It should fit neatly between Stardust and While You Were Sleeping.