Twilight is the movie based on the book [my reviews of the series here]by Stephenie Meyer. And if you haven’t heard anything about it, you must be new to this blog and not have any teenage girl in your vicinity.
The plot follows the book closely: After her mother remarries, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington to live with her father. There she meets beautiful Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who turns out to be a vampire. The rest is smiling, stalking, clumsiness, over-protectiveness, a tentative kiss, dazzling perfection, angst and an evil vampire.
Anyone who hasn’t read the books: They’re bad. Badly written, drenched in religious imagery, poorly crafted characters, feministically dubious at best. BUT they are completely addictive. And when I say addictive, I mean that I own all the books and read them within weeks – additionally to all the other books I read. And somehow feel compelled to defend them, at least a little bit.
The movie is equally bad. They tried to make it better – start with the murder plot earlier and not 20 minutes before the end, make Bella into a character – but ultimately, they failed. And unfortunately, where they also failed was the addictive quality: Whatever it is that made the books that way, the film doesn’t have it. [I’m sure this won’t change the popularity of it, though, because it has very pretty people acting in it.]
I was completely ready to fight for Catherine Hardwicke, the director, because she got kicked off New Moon even though Twilight is immensly successful. But I really can’t do this anymore. Not and still have a clear conscience. Her directing sucked. Like big time. She had a couple of scenes, where the camera makes circles around Bella and Edward and those scenes were so messy that I almost got nauseous. Also, there’s this thing called subtle symbolism, which is completely lost on her.
[Btw, Chris Weitz was chosen as her replacement. Because he completely destroyed The Golden Compass, he definitely is the perfect choice to adapt yet another fan favourite fantasy book.]
I have to admit that one of the things that had me most curious about this adaptation was whether Edward will sparkle in the movie (for all, who don’t know: in this world, vampires can’t go into the sunlight because they start sparkling and people’d notice). Well, he does. (Yay!) It’s very subtle and as beautiful as a sparkling person can be, I think. The thing is only that they added a sound effect to it and now vampires don’t only sparkle, they also tinkle. And let me tell you, if they wanted to augment the effect of the sparkling, that was the wrong way to go. Instead I couldn’t help but laugh about it. Why not make the sparkling a little bit more visible, which will be important in film 2 (New Moon) anyway?
Optically, they have done well – except for Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), who looks less anxious than constipated most of the time. And, seriously, can you imagine him having Jasper’s backstory that is revealed in Book 3?
Other than that, it was fine. While neither of the guys is my type, I can see the pretty. And especially Alice (Ashley Greene) is exactly as I imagined her.
As for the acting abilities… Well, let’s leave some things unsaid, shall we? Let’s just say, “It was not good.”
Okay, I will have to say a bit more: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are good actors by themselves. Together, they are a catastrophe of chemistry. I mean, there is supposed to be a spark between them, isn’t there?
The best thing about the movie: Charlie, Bella’s Dad (Billy Burke). It’s a steady, good performance, for a steady, better-than-in-the-book character. And his conflict with Bella and the development of their relationship is really what works best in the entire film.
The worst thing about the movie: The vampire-superpower special effects. When Edward started running, I wanted to throw myself on the floor, laughing.
Interesting sidenote: Nice try to make Meyer’s world more diverse by including some people of colour. Originally, there were only the Quileute, who were not white. In the movie we have 2 black guys, 1 Asian guy, 2 latinos. Yay.
Summarising, this one is only for the fans. And they won’t care about reviews. :)