Twilight [and Rob Pattinson] Dazzles

Originally posted 21 November 2008

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Screenwriter: Melissa Rosenberg
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 122 min

Twilight is the phenomenon of 2008. Despite the fact that I am currently working all day, I couldn’t pass up going to the midnight showing, allowing myself only four hours of sleep after watching the most anticipated film of the season (and in my experience, probably ever). I think it’ll be difficult properly critiquing the film, being that I am biased and thoroughly enjoyed (okay, obsessed over) the entire saga, but I will do my best to give you some sort of movie review, from the perspective of a self-proclaimed Twilighter.

I liked [director] Catherine Hardwicke’s work in Lords of Dogtown and Thirteen, but was a bit skeptical when I heard she was directing Twilight. There were quite a few scenes, camera angles and transitions that clearly demonstrate her indie roots, but for the audience (who, as a whole, is far more hip to the alternative culture than I was at their age) I think it works for the most part. There are some lines and special effects that are somewhat hokey, but what’s to expect when you’re watching a movie about vampires? Twilight is definitely aimed towards ‘tweens (with the exception of trying to break into the male market with the in-depth action sequence), but being 23 years old, I felt obliged to go into reading the series as well as seeing the film with the maturity of a grown woman. To my surprise, I only came out of both feeling like a giddy teenager. I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way while I can: I never thought Rob Pattinson could get any hotter. I was sorely mistaken.

Robert Pattinson (once the doomed Cedrick Diggory in two of the Harry Potter films), who plays Edward Cullen, is a vampire who falls in love with Isabella (Bella) Swan, portrayed by Kristen Stewart (of In the Land of Women and Into the Wild fame). The scene in the biology room may have seemed poorly acted by Rob, but until you’ve read Midnight Sun, I don’t think one can truly understand his reaction of pain, thirst, and the unrelenting desire to kill Bella as he portrays in this particular scene. It got a few laughs in the auditorium, but it wasn’t supposed to be funny (oh the pain of watching with pre-adolescents). The romance was lacking (in comparison to the book, anyway) and their relationship seemed kind of rushed without all the back story. However, in all honesty, I don’t think any actors could ever pull off what is experienced by the reader throughout their courtship when reading Twilight. Edward and Bella’s first kiss was impeccable, and Rob did an incredible job portraying Edward’s restraint, severe focus and caution. It was absolutely and unequivocally painfully beautiful to watch. [For those who have seen the many trailers with the kiss scene, I can assure you that it does not do the scene in the film any justice.]

The Cullen coven was enjoyable and the acting was fine all around, though they didn’t get a ton of screen time. The same goes for the nomads and most other secondary characters. Billy Burke and Ashley Greene were impressive as Charlie Swan and Alice Cullen, respectively, as well as Nikki Reed’s portrayal of Rosalie Hale. You could really sense the timid, loving relationship between Charlie and Bella, and the mutual respect they have for one another. Everything about Alice (her grace, bell-like voice, and pixie-like appearance) was spot on with Bella’s description in the book, and the hatred that Rosalie has for our mortal protagonist was irrevocably evident. Peter Facinelli, who is most famously remembered as Mike Dexter in Can’t Hardly Wait, was a pleasant surprise as the coven’s patriarch, Dr. Carlisle Cullen. A very minor character whom I was really impressed with was Mike Newton (played by Michael Welch), the cute, average human guy who tries to win Bella over. With hopes that the saga continues on the big screen, I am most looking forward to Emmett Cullen’s (played by Kellan Lutz) character development.

There were differences between the storyline in the book and the film, but for the sake of natural flow in a feature, it worked out well (and for the most part don’t have any complaints in that regard). Melissa Rosenberg, responsible for the screenplay, did a sufficient job condensing the book into a feature film without losing vital information and key lines; a feat that I’m sure was not easy. Stephenie Meyer (Twilight’s author) and Catherine Hardwicke refused to change imperative lines from the book, and some came off corny and contrived. Most, however, were great.

My only real skepticism with the film would be the special effects (i.e. vampires running and jumping). Only using a $35 Million budget, one has to realize how difficult it is to make the Cullen coven and nomads realistic. This will pose a problem in the future because the mythology of the saga will only deepen as the story develops, and in order to create more realistic effects, the budget needs to at least triple (I would guess. Clearly, I’m no professional).

The Twilight soundtrack felt as though it meshed well with the film, and Paramore even wrote “Decode” specifically for the movie. (I highly suggest that you listen to the acoustic version, available on the soundtrack.) Rob Pattinson contributed two songs as well (“Never Think” and “Let Me Sign”), which were really refreshing, and provided great, subtle background music, especially on their date at the Italian restaurant. “Bella’s Lullaby” was used, in parts, for the score, which gave a sense of consistency and coherence coinciding with the story.

There were three scenes in particular that I was quite looking forward to: Edward playing “Bella’s Lullaby” on the piano, the baseball game, and the scene in the meadow. All three were strong scenes in different ways. Robert Pattinson is very talented and did a great job playing her lullaby; the baseball game–until the nomads arrived, anyway–was very fun and entertaining (albeit kind of short); the glitter effect was subtle, yet effective. Again, the emotion and romance wasn’t all there during the meadow scene, but you could really see the adoration and passion they share for one another, even after Edward instills the slightest bit of fear in Bella (though she would never admit it) after he shows her some of his more “monstrous” abilities (swift movement, jumping and strength).

I had very high expectations for Twilight, but was sure to go in considering the movie to be a different entity from the book (there was just no way they could stay 100% true in the adaptation from a 544-page book to the big screen). Even after all the hype and high expectations, I can honestly tell you that the film left me very satisfied and wanting more. But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend viewing Twilight to the non-fanpire. I wonder what someone would have been thinking had they not read the books. Would their romance, relationship, and dedication to each other be convincing?

Rating: 6/10


Categories: Hot Dudes, Movies, Twilight


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