The wait has ended for all the fanpires out there!
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight franchise finally hit the big screen, opening across the country on Nov. 21 with hundreds of midnight screenings sold out.
I have always had a weakness for movies adapted from things such as books, television shows, or comic books—I just have to see them, even if I’m not entirely interested. I won’t lump myself in with the diehard Twilight fans, as I only heard about the books this past summer. But as a fan of the entire vampire genre in general, I couldn’t resist reading them.
In a nutshell, Twilight is a teenage love saga with an out-of-this-world complication: new girl in town meets brooding heartthrob of the high school who happens to be a vampire and the expected drama ensues.
I didn’t go into Twilight with high expectations. In fact, I was prepared for the film to be horrendous. In the end, it wasn’t as awful as it could have been, but in comparison to the book it was based from, there’s just no contest.
Unlike many Twilight fans, I was never terribly concerned about the casting.
While Robert Pattinson will never be MY Edward Cullen, for all intents and purposes, I think he fits the part. He’s unusual and not beautiful in the tradition sense, but it is his imperfections that make him perfect.
It’s very interesting that Pattinson can be so animated and goofy in interviews (despite the fact that he looks like he’d rather be in bed most of the time) and yet manage to pull of the stoic, sometimes smirking Edward. We may have a real actor on our hands, ladies and gents.
That being said, while Pattinson was spot on the majority of the time, at other times I couldn’t help but feel like he was more concerned about hiding his accent than delivering the line.
Kristen Stewart as Bella physically makes the grade, but acting wise leaves something to be desired. As far as I know, using the same face for every emotion isn’t in vogue and the true intelligence that the character of Bella should have was lost. I would have personally liked to see Jena Malone of Donnie Darko and Saved fame take a stab at the role.
I didn’t have much of a problem with the casting of the rest of the Cullen clan; then again, none of their performances were particularly stirring or memorable.
However, I was impressed by Taylor Lautner’s performance as Jacob Black. He showed real potential and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he ups the ante in the subsequent movies.
Another performance that I’m looking forward to seeing more of was Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria. Even though I thought her hair wasn’t the fire red it could have been, she gave her character the suave intelligence to be dangerous and just enough intensity to be terrifying.
On the whole, I was disappointed by the work of screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and director Catherine Hardwicke.
The film seemed rushed and choppy, leaving out key elements that create the atmosphere of Forks and adding in things—like the attacks on the towns folk—that were obvious cinematic ploys to create a mood of fear. Rosenberg also seemed to think that not showing Bella’s intense love and need for Edward until a final scene in a hospital bed was a good idea.
Hardwicke’s decision to rely on sweeping crane shots of Edward and Bella, sitting and staring at each other in silence was not epic or emotional, but irritating and unnecessary. Instead of the expected voiceover work by Bella, which was present but scarce, Hardwicke opted for weird memory flashbacks that were ill placed.
It sounds funny, but the inconsistency of the paleness of Edward was also unsettling. On certain shots, Edward would look as pale as Bella and other human characters and in other scenes, it would look like there was no indication that he was dead at all. And as for the rest of the vampires, they all looked like they put on white theatrical makeup in the dark; it looked like it would melt off at any second.
There was also a significant lack of soundtrack. There were a few songs like Paramore’s “Decode” and even a couple of Pattinson’s own contributions (yep, he’s a musician too); but on the whole, the film to me was silent, save for an instrumental piece that popped up here and there, what I assumed was some version of “Bella’s Lullaby.”
I was just so surprised and sad that the exact songs that Meyer has said so many times influenced her writing and were specific to every chapter or scene (songs from Muse, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, and others) were absent in the film but billed on the soundtrack. The theme of the importance of music was briefly touched on, but I felt it could have been better treated.
One positive note that I will applaud Rosenberg and Hardwicke for was their treatment of the diamond-like sparkle and red-to-black-to-gold eyes of the vampire. Those are probably the two most important aspects of the novel and I thought they did them both beautifully; subtle and not too Hollywood.
In the end, the film overall just felt unfinished. It was too short and I felt like I was watching it when I shouldn’t have been, like a pre-pre advanced screening.
Rumor has it that there is currently a green light for the rest of the movies to be made with Pattinson and Stewart on board. However, there is no word on the director and I hope for all fans of the books, Meyer makes a better choice this time around.
If you never read the books, you’ll enjoy this movie for the feel-good fluff piece that it is. If you have read (and adore) the books, you may feel a tad bit cheated.
So I give Twilight two out of four stars. One goes to Summit Entertainment for opting to make the movie. The other goes to Robert Pattinson, because it truly was his ability to be terrifying and lovely all at once that made the movie special.
You can contact Cara Donaldson at firstname.lastname@example.org