Twilight (2008)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:05 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 4.9/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 5/10

TWILIGHT (2008) - Catherine Hardwicke

For years, the world of Hollywood portrayed the vampire as the villain, the blood-sucking beast that will forever put the protagonist in danger. But then came along a little story called Twilight that introduced a love story between human and vampire. Of course, this is not the first time this subject was touched on. Bram Stoker's Dracula explored this in 1897, followed by the Coppola film in 1992. But here, Stephanie Meyer took the idea of romance between human and beast and brought it to the new generation. After three years of development, Twilight has finally reached the big screen.

The film follows Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who moves to Forks to live with her father, after her mother is remarried. After becoming friends with several other students at the high school, Bella finds herself intrigued by the mysterious Cullen siblings, specifically Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who sits next to her in class. Soon enough, strange friendship becomes love, even when Bella discovers that the Cullen family are vampires.

To settle an argument, yes I have read the original novel before. In all simplicity, it was not bad, but it was no Harry Potter. It was the kind of book that I can proudly say to crowds that I have indeed read the book, so I will not find myself left out. In other words, the book did not make any significant impact.

To settle another argument, this is a legitimate review, not a laundry list of rants. Even if I agree that the idea of skin sparkling under the sun is absolutely horrendous or the opinion that the film has the most attractive actors of the century, you will not find those criticisms here.

If I would pick out the strongest part of Twilight, it would be the way the film looks, its visuals. In all honesty, it is as visually faithful as it can get to the novel. The town of Forks looks great, almost empty and undoubtedly quiet, a perfect place to be convinced that vampires would live among the humans. The casting, appearance-wise, are all perfect. The interior-ness of Kristen Stewart indeed fleshes out the shyness of Bella Swan from the novel. As for Robert Pattinson, his makeup does at least do justice to Meyer's recurring words of "yellow eyes." However, when the actors come in to their performances, this is where Twilight exposes its weaknesses.

Despite the on-screen pair looking great, their chemistry is not great at all. In simple words, it is a series of awkward moments that the filmmakers are trying to convince us as "romantic." Furthermore, if one is asked at the top of his/her head for a single word to describe the relationship, the word will most likely be "rushed." The first factor that gives this away is the dialogue. Either the words themselves were unbelievably cheesy, or the delivery of the lines made them lose their power. The worst thing about this flaw is that this did not just apply to the pair, but to all the supporting characters as well. There are times where they do things that you simply would not if you were in their place.

Even though I believed that Kristen looked perfect as Bella, her acting proves that she is unable to fully possess the character. Here, she is an actress trying to portray Bella, instead of being Bella herself. If anyone stutters like Kristen does in this movie, I would suggest a speech impediment doctor. Her facial expressions sometimes look fine, but the problem is she has only one face throughout the entire film. It is facial expression without the 's' at the end. Even when she had a minor role in Zathura, she was largely expressive. Here, she just looks uncomfortable, and it is difficult to explain it. I can only conclude three possible results. Either 1: She keeps forgetting her lines, which wouldn't surprise me due to the poor writing, 2: She did no practice and made no efforts to her role in the film, or 3: She had the mother of all migraines while on set. In summary, Kristen Stewart is visually the perfect Bella, but she lacks the bite and substance of the actual character.

Robert Pattinson indeed tries his best to bring Edward Cullen to life, and I would say that he succeeded. Although his line-deliveries could be better, he does convince me on what kind of personality Edward has, and the fact that he portrayed it consistency throughout the film, that satisfies me already. For his own characterization, no complaint. The problem here with Pattinson is every time his character makes an attempt bonding with Stewart's character. Again, it goes back to the chemistry.

If one wants likable characters in this film, then pay attention to the Cullen family, because they are, in this critic's opinion, the best characters and portrayals in the entire film. Every member looks great, no matter how short their screen times were. In spite of many viewers ranting about the fact that vampires do not listen to jazz music and make Italian food, I found it an unorthodox but intriguing attempt at connecting the family to us. We already know that they are vampires, so are they to be trusted? Bella trusts Edward, so how would the family respond? This is where Twilight is probably the most memorable (and likable), where we get to learn that the Cullens are not what the high school gossip say they are. From the respectable look of Peter Facinelli as Carlisle to the beautiful Ashley Greene as Alice, the introduction of the family to Bella is indeed my favorite part of the movie. However, that does not include the baseball scene.

The plot of the film is believable, and the film actually has a subplot below the romance narrative. Sadly, the subplot was far better handled than the romance. If Twilight took away the romantic narrative, made Bella and Edward close friends only, and focus on the subplot, and then have a romantic narrative in the sequel, then Twilight would receive an applause from me. Unfortunately that was not the case. For all romance stories, chemistry and buildup are the most important. After viewing the supposed "couple" in Twilight, I would even rather watch Titanic or The Notebook over this, and that upsets me because Twilight had so much potential in its bite, but as it transitions from book to screen, its fangs got more and more dull.

In conclusion, Twilight was a visually faithful adaptation of the book, but lost many of the core strengths that made the novel enjoyable from readers. It was a mediocre film, not bad but not good either. With good casting choices but monotonous performances as well as a lifeless script, Twilight has barely any good substance for viewers to sink their teeth into.

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