Twilight

by | Nov 21st, 2008 | 7:24PM | Filed under: Theatrical Reviews

Save me from the Twihards!Four months ago, I had never heard of "Twilight," the first book in the bestselling Stephenie Meyer series.  Shortly thereafter, Entertainment Weekly showed up on my doorstep with a cover story on the 2005 novel’s big-screen adaptation, and I felt the urge to see what all the fuss was about.  What can I say… although I’m twice the age of this saga’s protagonist, not to mention its average reader, I absolutely hate being in the dark when it comes to pop culture phenomena.  To my surprise, I loved the first book, and within six weeks, I had devoured the next three installments (in addition to Meyer’s unrelated tome, "The Host").  All of a sudden I found myself lumped in with millions of teenage girls around the world — nervously awaiting the debut of Twilight, The Movie. 

Without giving away too many details, Twilight is a love story — but the twist is that it’s a human girl (Bella, played by Kristen Stewart) and a decades-old vampire who appears to be seventeen (Edward, played by Robert Pattinson) who have fallen for each other.  Although Edward’s family, the Cullens, feed only on animal blood, that doesn’t mean that Edward isn’t constantly fighting the urge to sink his teeth into the object of his affection… especially since she has a particularly overpowering scent that drives him wild (and, in some of the movie’s worst scenes, also makes him look like he’s going to hurl).  After Bella becomes one of the only people in placid Forks, Washington to not only learn the Cullens’ secret but also be (mostly) welcomed into their family, she must deal with the consequences: endangering her unsuspecting father, baiting other rival vampire clans who don’t subscribe to the Cullens’ "vegetarian" lifestyle, shutting out her childhood friend Jacob, and of course, trying to convince a resistant Edward that she should be "changed" (read: bitten) in order to be with him forever.  By the time the end credits roll, the stage has more than been set for the inevitable sequels — it’s not an easy road that lies ahead for Bella and her undead suitor.

That’s the basic story line that led to the spectacular success of the "Twilight" novels as well as to 2,000 sold-out showtimes before the movie’s premiere… but was this much-hyped, two-hour-long vampire-human lovefest even any good? 

You know you love me.I should preface the rest of this review by saying that, based on my disappointment over its trailer, I went into Twilight with low expectations.  I left with mixed feelings.  Some parts of the movie
were significantly better than I had hoped for, while others were embarrassingly amateur.   

So let’s get into it…

First let’s talk about the cast and their acting abilities, as so much of the story revolves around unspoken internal struggles. As you’ve probably heard by now, female fans are mobbing Robert Pattinson everywhere he goes.  That’s a sure sign that he’s fulfilled his duty to expertly portray the dreamiest of dreamboats imaginable.  While some of his expressions (as I alluded to earlier) are a little over-the-top, by and large he was able to capture Edward’s intensely conflicted feelings about falling deeper and deeper for Bella. 

Kristen Stewart also does a good job of embodying the story’s plain-Jane narrator.  However, if you see this movie and find yourself cursing at some of Bella’s more irrational moments (like when Edward confesses that he’s liable to lose control and kill her… and she responds, "I don’t care"), keep in mind that Bella’s disregard for her own safety isn’t completely unrealistic — have you forgotten what raging teenage hormones can do to one’s judgment?

Surely Stewart and Pattinson wouldn’t have been chosen for the lead roles if director Catherine Hardwicke wasn’t willing to bet her career on how well they’d represent the novel’s lovesick duo. So what was perhaps more surprising to me was the strength of a few supporting cast members, the most impressive of which was Billy Burke as Bella’s father, Charlie.  Didn't see the 'stache coming!
Although Film Version Charlie looked nothing like the gruff sheriff I’d conjured up in my head while reading the books, Burke was absolutely perfect as the man of few words who desperately wants to connect with his daughter but can’t seem to figure out the right thing to say.  His was by far the most poignant performance in the film. 

While Charlie was tugging at the audience’s heartstrings, others were desperately trying to lighten the mood.  Bella’s small circle of friends at Forks High School could’ve easily faded into the background of this angst-filled drama; instead, they stole every scene they were in.  No one who sees the film — whether they liked it overall or not — can deny the brilliant performances of Michael Welch (as jokester Mike) and Anna Kendrick (as frenemy Jessica), in particular.  They brought levity to the story and subtly reminded the audience of the carefree life Bella would be giving up, should she choose to stay with Edward.

You don't look so good, buddy.
Unfortunately, not everyone’s acting chops were up to par.  I thought Ashley Greene and Jackson Rathbone, who played vampire couple Alice and Jasper, were horrid.  This was especially depressing as Alice is a delightful and prominent character throughout the rest of the series.  So hopefully Greene will learn to be a little less stiff with her dialogue and someone will clue Rathbone into the fact that he was not, in fact, supposed to look like Beaker from "The Muppet Show."

Now let’s move on to what ruined Twilight for me: its special effects. The effects were like a slap in the face that reminded the audience they were watching a film produced by a small studio (Summit Entertainment).  When Edward demonstrates what happens when sunlight touches his skin, I expected to see dazzling rays of light shooting out from all over his body.  Instead, as my friend who never read the book said, "It looked like someone slathered a ton of Bonne Bell lip gloss all over him."  Everyone in our theater laughed, and trust me, that moment was not meant to be funny.

Hang on, a safety net wasn't in the budget
Then there were the scenes when the various vampires were supposed to be flying or moving at super-speed.  Instead of appearing to be agile, graceful creatures who can scale a gigantic tree or run across the country effortlessly, their arms and legs flailed wildly like they were wind-up toys.  Sometimes there was a "blur" effect used that made me feel like I was watching a low-budget TV show rather than a feature film.  And do not even get me started on their pale skin.  The first time Carlisle (Peter Facinelli), head of the Cullen family, appeared, I gasped out loud at how poorly his white, pancake makeup was applied.  While subsequent scenes used softer lighting and helped the cast’s appearance immensely, the damage had been done. 

Note to the team at Summit: don’t even attempt special effects in the sequels if they’re not going to be flawless, and please get a better makeup artist next time around!

The Bottom Line

Twihards (yes, that’s what the mega-fans call themselves) will be hard-pressed to find fault with the first film adaptation of Meyer’s beloved novels.  Edward looked hot – phew! Let’s see it again!  Others such as myself, who enjoyed the books but were skeptical about how they’d be handled by Hollywood, will leave the theater wishing that they could un-see some of the cheesier action sequences and moments laden with not-so-special effects, because they’ll have found the movie quite charming otherwise.  Women who didn’t read the book will most likely appreciate the romantic plot, but will be a tad befuddled by its pacing (they fell in love that quickly?  Bella already wants to become a vampire?) and rightfully critical of its clumsy effects.  We don't care what you think.
Men will probably be unimpressed no matter what — an edgy soundtrack and one lonely fight scene cannot hide the fact that Twilight is a love story that will be most appreciated by female tweens, teens and college students.

Now that Twilight has finally hit theaters, the franchise’s future is dependent not on what any of the critics say, but rather on how much money this first film rakes in.  All of those advance ticket sales won’t matter if a multi-week, successful run in theaters cannot be sustained.  However, if Bella and Edward’s tale does translate into a mind-boggling haul of cash, then I’ll remain hopeful that the next adaptation, New Moon, won’t suffer from Twilight‘s few but critical gaffes.  Who am I kidding, though?  I’ll still see it!  Bella isn’t the only one Edward Cullen’s worked his magic on — shh, don’t tell my husband.


100 Responses to “Twilight

  1. lili flower
    Posted on November 27, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    i loved the movie…it was kind of dissapointing but its not like i regretted watching it … though the books are much better….. stilll i love twilight because it just brings up my hopes sometimes but seriously…its the best book ive actually ever read..but not the best movie iv seen..TWLIGHT!!

  2. Cheryl
    Posted on November 27, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I have been obsessed with Twilight for awhile now. The books sucked me in, and various YouTube fanvids and then the actual trailers got me excited for the movie.
    I was a little nervous about the success of the movie because of all the hype building up to it, and I desperately wanted the movie to be true to the intensity and passion of the book. For me, it was mesmerizing. Of course I missed certain parts that were left out and I was slightly annoyed by some of the changes, but it didn’t detract from the movie. The special effects weren’t great (disappointed in the meadow scene, loved the baseball game), but that wasn’t the most important thing to me. Edward, Bella and the Cullens were wonderful. I’m thrilled with the cast, especially Rob & Kristen, their chemistry was believable (I admit, I was mostly focusing on Rob!). When the movie was over it seemed as if it had gone so fast. I wasn’t ready to get up and leave the theater. I’ll definitely go see it again. I hope Summit goes with the necessary budget to make New Moon even better. Love the soundtrack, the lullaby is even starting to grow on me. Now I want Midnight Sun!

  3. ashleyb
    Posted on November 28, 2008 at 1:44 am

    ive read all the reveiws and all but the 4th book and what i can say is this i may not have seen the move yet but i still plan on it for me all it will be is a way to help me see the crew form the book better in my minds eye and some one made a great point the moves will never be like the books (have yall forgot lord of the rings) just look at it this way others loved the books so much that they wanted to try to share it with the ones who cant or dont read and we always think that we could do better but in the end it does not matter take it for what it is a teen geared move and be happy it could have been a life time move instead.

  4. Katie
    Posted on November 28, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Why did Edward act like a mental [moron] for the first 30 min? He expressions made him look silly, not bloodthirsty. When he was *flitting* around the meadow, I could only imagine that he looked like a freaking fairy!! That being said I really liked some of the new jokes, Bella is a beautiful girl, I mean brown-blue eyes!! Possible? Wow!
    It needed more action…and I’ve never been a fan of the *damsel in distress* act, I want a main character who is strong, not a weakling. But for a romance, that’s what you get…

  5. Betty Lowder
    Posted on November 29, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Edward was good, but his hair stylist should of been shot! Vampires are suppose to be naturally beautiful with hair that flows effortlessly like Brad Pitt’s! Instead it looked like they had plastered a ton of goop on it!
    I was not impressed with Bella (Stewart)! She was suppose to appear as someone who was older for her age and yet she dressed and acted like a 13 year old. For Bella, I had hoped for a look-alike of Anne Hathaway who can come across as being quite klutzy! Instead she looked like someone who had intentionally slipped every time. Not natural actions at all! Her face appeared to have Novocaine shot into it from the nose down. No facial expressions. Totally numb and stone-like. No one could read her thoughts from her expressions. If you didn’t read the book, then you were definitely lost when it came to her actions. Alice was perfect but a little too cool and Jasper did look very hungry and volatile. I expected a twin to Jessica Simpson for Rosalie – instead they found a plump, plain looking girl with a bleach job and too much lipstick. She was suppose to be model like and have an elegant stature. Emmett did not look like a big, brawny body builder either and the good Dr. could of at least, looked five years older. Esme was perfect in appearance, radiant sweetness and motherly actions. She just looked like Carlyle’s big sister. I wish the action would of resembled “Harry Potter”, but of course this was put together with less money and not enough experience. It could of been great, but I am not sure I will go see the next one unless they come up with a better Jacob, better hairdresser, better make-up artist and more strength in the action and story. Still it was good and I am glad I saw it.

  6. SassyMama
    Posted on November 30, 2008 at 1:30 am

    I think the important thing to remember is that this is a movie….the first of 4 (or maybe 5). The next one will have a bigger budget. I always tell my kids to just enjoy what is up on the screen. Movies are never like the book, things are always left out or rearranged. There was amazing chemistry between the characters of Edward and Bella, and between the other Cullens family members. I am sure the next movie will have a larger budget….JUST ENJOY>

  7. Roxy
    Posted on November 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I liked the movie, loved the books. I don’t see how I could have done better in any way with the film. Edward could’ve been hotter, from my readings Edward was more suave.. and dark….. All in all, I think that Twilight and HP are my two obsessions at this time.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted on November 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I loved this movie it was very romantic. I recommend all couples to go see it.

  9. andrea cervantes
    Posted on November 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    i’m reading the book twilight right now and i love it. it is so interesting. everything leaves you in suspense and it’s the coolest book ever

  10. amber
    Posted on December 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    OMG Edward is so hot and i am going to read the a book a million times.I wanted to sneak into the movie after seeing something different but my mom said NO!even my little sister,who is four years old,wanted to sneak in too!

  11. daniela cervantes
    Posted on December 1, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    my sister is reading the book to me every night and it is cool

  12. Angela
    Posted on December 1, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I typically would not have read a “vampire” book, but was talked into reading it when a friend was telling me about it. I am from the area the books were based on and also part Quileute and Makah. This is the only reason I read the first book. By the end of the first chapter I was hooked. I read all four books in about two weeks and couldn’t wait for the movie. I usually like to watch the movie before I read the book because the movie can never be as good as the book. That being said I really enjoyed the movie as a movie lover but did not care for it as a Twilight fan.
    I felt that the movie was to much of a comedy as opposed to the book. I also enjoyed Edwards ability to read minds and didn’t see much focus on it in the movie. This becomes very important in the rest of the books so I hope they do a better job of incorporating it in the future movies. A lot of the book was actually in the movie and I really liked the relationship between Bella and her father. I felt that the guy who played Jasper was reading the script for Edward Scissorhands instead of Twilight. I also felt that the scene where Bella got to see Edward in the sun was a bit cheesy. I also felt that leaving the scene out where Bella talks to Edward and Carlisle about his past was very important because it introduced characters thay play a major role in the rest of the books.
    I also loved Rob Patterson and will continue to watch every movie the day they come out and will probally buy all the dvds.

  13. Kimberly
    Posted on December 2, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    I loved this books. When twilight came out I called in to work just so I could see my favorite people come to life on the big screen. But I was sooo disappointed about how the movie was made I guess i wanted all my favorite parts like when Edwards would sang Bella to slep with her song he wrote for her ect…. I left the movie heartbroken. So I decided to see twilight one more time without any expections and guess what!? I loved it the second time around! I still laught my butt off when he stepped into the sun sorry that still was chessey to look at!

  14. Anonymous
    Posted on December 3, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I LOVED IT! THE BOOK AND THE MOVIE

  15. lizzy
    Posted on December 9, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Well…
    Yes, the movie was not as good as the books, but since it couldnt run for 8 hours and was low budget, I still loved it. And I thought all the actors were great (Including Kristen), thought some scenes were a bit awkward. Also, there was some definate Jacobness missing. All together, a great movie, I cant wait for the sequal!

  16. B
    Posted on December 9, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Ok so I just found this posting and I have to say I didn’t read the books till the movie came out..My daughter wanted to see it so I had to check it out first I COULD NOT put the books down!!! I could see it play out in my imagination as I read!! That being said I took my daughter to the movie …and was TOTALLY disappointed with Kristen Stewart as Bella!! Most of the time it was like she was reading straight from a cue card!! Next,While I do like Robert as an actor ( as least as Cedric Diggory in HP). I think he pulled it off just because he in himself has that charming aura and is ..well..nice on the eyes!! I DID like the pick for Jacob.. He makes you want to smile and he played the younger guy not so sure of himself well. I think they hit Alice head on!! Ashley needs to relaxe some and have a little more fun with it .. Anyway..I also just read that there Will be a new director for New Moon and I must say I am excited about that..I dont feel that just because you have a small budget for a film that it should look low budget!! A GOOD Director could have made it better!! I am sure I will reread the books over and over ..I wont pay to go see the Movie agian ….however I am sure I will pay the $15 for the dvd when it comes out because My Daughter and i still had a great time together when we saw it…

  17. Leisha
    Posted on December 10, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    You were kinder in your review, Erika, than I would have been. My daughter and I have each read the entire series twice (since this past August) and absolutely love it! The movie, however, was such a major disappointment. It was horrible!! I felt betrayed as a fan and couldn’t help wondering how Stephenie Meyer must feel. I sincerely hope with all my heart that Summit Entertainment will do a much better job on the sequel(s). This saga deserves it.

  18. Claire
    Posted on December 28, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    I loved Twilight. Stephenie Meyer is a great writer. She can string words together to create a musical story of love, adventure, friendship, and the notion to follow the direction of your heart!

  19. Christy
    Posted on March 10, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I have read all the books and I can not wait to see the movie. I think it is going to be awesome.

  20. Mel
    Posted on March 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    I would like to say that the acting was BAD. But I can’t decide whether that is a result of the actors inability to act, or bad directing. With a new director and hopefully a larger budget, New Moon has potential to be a better movie. I would also like to point out that they left Alice’s discovery of her past out?! Hello, Alice is an important character, does that mean that all of the other Vamp. characters backgrounds will be left out? One more thing. Edward can read minds (given) extreme emotions such as hate increase this ability. So when VICTORIA is at Edward and Bella’s prom HATING them and most likely thinking about killing Bella, how can he not hear Victoria’s thoughts???? Bad bad bad! Now all of these problems I have listed are problems with the screen writer, who is also adapting New Moon the movie from the book. So I can’t be sure whether I think New Moon will be a good movie, but I can say for sure I will be there in the theater watching it. Twilight the movie was so bad that I left the theater crying with laughter. I have never laughed so hard at the theater, I feel like that alone was worth the money I spent, and definitely reason enough to see the next installment!

  21. monchas
    Posted on March 31, 2009 at 9:27 am

    the movie is great…. loved it i’m in love with edward cullen my baby ……………………………………………………………………………

  22. Ally Jay (iareally)
    Posted on July 17, 2009 at 12:38 am

    I was living under a rock during the entire time leading up to the release of Twilight. I’m a HUGE reader, and spend hours in Barnes & Noble or Borders, so I had seen the books but I am admittedly one of those people who judges a book by its cover, and the Twilight Saga covers screamed fantasy and i’m not huge for fantasy when it comes to my books. So I’d ignored the books for three years, never gave them a thought.

    Then during one of my itune downloading sessions I saw that the first chapter of Twilight was available on audiobook for free so i click “Download” (I can say now if I hadn’t done that I might have never seen the movie or read the books and that thought is depressing)

    The sunday of opening weekend I knew it was in theathers and that afternoon decided to listen and see if I was interested even the least bit.

    The second the first chapter ended I walked into my sisters room and told her we had to get to the theater in thirty minutes for the next showing.

    I saw the first movie with only the first chapter as a reference, and fell in love. I then proceeded to buy the rest of the Saga and read and complete it over the course of the next week. (Let me just say I spent thanksgiving hunting through every 24 hour walmart in my area looking for an english version of Eclipse!)

    The movie hooked me, but the Saga addicted me. I have since read and reread all the books at least 3 times in Breaking Dawns case 6. (Oh and did I meantion in the process got my mom and sister hooked, and my DAD to read the whole saga as well! Thats how obsessed I was.)

    I am curious to see how I am when it comes to New Moon, now having read all the books and knowing whats missing. I hope I’ll be much more satisfised than I was with Half Blood Prince, thats for sure! :]]

  23. samantha stanley
    Posted on July 20, 2009 at 4:36 am

    twilight was the best i fell in love with it straight away i watched the movie first i thought that was pretty good but then i went to the book as i had heard that it is so much better and it is i couldnt put all four down one after another. i didnt like the movie as much when i watched it again as i compaired it to the book and was dissapointed how they changed it so much i.e the way they have there first kiss and when she meets the cullens there not ment to go into the trees i think the movie could of been so much better but i still love it greatsest movie in history !!! even better book !!

  24. Livia
    Posted on August 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Scary movie, not my kind of movie.

  25. Kristy Bird
    Posted on October 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.