Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Twilight vs. Let The Right One In

A side-by-side comparison of this year's most talked about (for different reasons) vampire movies:

Original Soure: Film-Otaku





Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson)

Eli (Lina Leandersson)

Bella: “How old are you?”

Edward: “Seventeen.”

Bella: “How long have you been seventeen?”

Edward: “A while.”

Eli: “I’ve been twelve for a while…”


Uncertain; Eli says that she is “not dead,” but this likely refers to the unnatural state of undeath

Aloof, detached, cold, cautious, but humane and capable of strong love

Aloof, detached, careless, capable of at least strong affection

Super-strength, super-speed, telepathy (exclusive to Edward and a few other vampires), climbing trees (in film)

Heightened agility, scaling walls, enhanced strength and speed hinted at in final sequence of the film

-Apparently no weakness against traditional anti-vampire measures such as crosses, garlic, sunlight, having to seek permission to enter a home, etc.

-Strong urge to feed

-Can be incinerated by sunlight, must acquire permission to enter a home or be severely hurt, effect of other measures uncertain

-Strong urge to feed

Low scare factor. He can be vicious, but he glitters in sunlight and can be consumed by romance.

Moderate scare factor. She is vicious and makes horrifying sounds while feeding, but she is young for a vampire.





Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart)

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant)



New student, daughter of police chief, generally well liked, has a circle of friends in school, attracts a lot of boys

Bullied by classmates, generally ostracized, has no friends in school

First reaction to vampire revelation: Shock and confusion that immediately dissolve in love

First reaction to vampire revelation: Shock, confusion, misplaced anger

Absurdly high loyalty to vampire lover. Will do anything and give up everything for Edward without reservation

High loyalty to vampire lover. Will probably do anything and give up a lot for Eli but with reservation





Dir: Catherine Hardwicke

Dir: Tomas Alfredson

Source material: Novel by Stephenie Meyer

Source material: Novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist



Teen romance/drama, with a dash of action and comedy

Coming-of-age drama/romance, with a dash of horror

US box office: $119,687,620

US box office: $266,886

Rotten Tomatoes rate: 43%

Rotten Tomatoes rate: 98%

Strengths: Contemporary soundtrack, commendable lead performances, high entertainment value, new twist to vampire mythos, generally loyal to source material

Strengths: Minimalist score, commendable lead and supporting performances, strong script and direction, non-reliance on visual effects, elements of horror, loyalty to standard vampire mythos

Weaknesses: Low-quality visual effects and makeup design, weak supporting performances, weak direction and script, new twist to vampire mythos, generally loyal to source material

Weakness: No new twist on the vampire mythos

Final Verdict: Sappy and uneven but ultimately entertaining, C+

Haunting, affecting, thought-provoking, lingering; A


My Consensus: Now I'm not in complete agreement with the side-by-side comparison from film-otaku. By that I mean I just don't agree with the final scores provided. I would have given Twilight an 8/10 which translate to a solid B instead of the C+ they gave. But all the little descriptions provided I agree with, which is why I posted it up here. There are actually a lot of Twilight vs. Let The Right One In sources out there.

Today I went to see Let The Right One In at the Sunset 5. Like the review above I give it a resounding A, boarding the A+ area. It was not perfection but it was damned good. It started a little slow in the beginning but other than its slow pace it was fantastic.

Another point that this side-by-side failed to mention is that both were based on books that were created in the same year (2004). The main difference between their transfer from novel to film is that Stephanie Meyer did not write the screenplay for Twilight the film while Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist wrote both the novel and screenplay for Let The Right One In. While I have not read Let The Right One In (I definitely plan to), I am so glad the the author is the same as the screenwriter because that means what I saw was the author's point of view of how the book should look as a film :-D.

Generaly this is how I feel about both films. I would not recommend Let The Right One In to the demographic behind Twilight and vice versa. Let The Right One In is a much more mature and adult version of Twilight. It is based on the same premise that a vampire falls in love with a mortal, eventhough the vampire thursts for that mortal's blood. Let The Right One In handled the situation in a much more adult manner even though the main characters are far younger than the ones in Twilight (12 year olds vs. 17 year olds). There is a particular scene, a very cute scene, in which the main characters in Let The Right One In tap on each other's walls in morse code to communicate to each other when they couldn't see one another. There was another similar scene when they both consult a rubik's cube. Small things like this is what makes their romance very cute. Also, I must say, unlike with Twilight, I was very afraid when Eli (vampire in Let The Right One In) was anywhere near Oskar (mortal) because in previous scenes we see exactly what she's capable of in a gruesome way. Never once did I feel Bella (mortal in Twilight) was in danger of Edward (vampire) and his fangs accept perhaps after their first kiss when he pushes himself away. The reason I felt this way is because we never see Edward really harm anyone but a deer at the beginning of the film and even then we neither distinctly see him doing the action nor see him sucking the blood.

Now, I'm not knocking on Twilight at all. It's just, in light (or should I say darkness) of Let The Right One In, it is very juvenile in it's execution. But there is nothing wrong with that beacuse that's exactly what Twilight was going for. They weren't going for the adult audience, they were going after the tweens and teens. Only a mature audience can enjoy Let The Right One In and what it has to offer, and by mature I'm not just talking about adults but an audience that can appreciate a story not given to them on a plate. Most the messages of the film are hidden between the lines. It was an extremely visual film with limited dialogue and little explanation. You do actually have to think while watching this film. Everything is handed to you in Twilight and there is not much room for discovery in that film with Edwards endless explanations to Bella. Instead of showing Twilight told and instead of telling Let The Right One In shows.


Oh, and on a side note Let The Right One In had some of the best bullying scenes I've seen. In most film and television the bullies are so fake and most of the stuff they do and the way they act is not the way a real child would act. In Let The Right One In it felt real, reminded me of times when I was occasionally bullied in middle school, gave me chills. Towards the end it got a bit extreme but that first scene and the few after were really grounded. I commend the filmmakers and the director in particular for that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Funny that you think LTROI is a film for a mature audience.

In Europe LTROI core audience is considered to be teens, but it's praised for not ruling out the more mature audience...