Matt's Twilight Review
I’ll begin by saying I have read the book, I’ve read all four books in the Twilight series actually, and as a fan of Kristen Stewart since seeing her performance in Speak, I was looking forward to seeing this movie for a while. That being said, I did have reservations about the movie going into it. All in all, it could have been much worse than it was, but there was definite room for improvement.
- The adaptation is relatively good. There were no major plot omissions and there were no major changes. So for those who read and loved the books, the story is intact. That being said, the source material is weak. The prose relatively lackluster, the main character – Bella – an uninspiring heroine, and the only villain in the story, James, was grossly underdeveloped.
- The Dialogue though passable for most of the movie, is problematic in places. One of the most cringe worthy lines in the movie is “So the lion fell in love with the lamb” – any editor in his/her right mind would have known to shoot that down like a Japanese Zero during the Marianas Turkey Shoot.
- The villain, James, was a disappointment. Not surprising considering the shoes he had to fill – previous owners of those shoes include, Spike and Angelus of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lestat of Interview with the Vampire and Dracula. For those of us that know our vampire fiction well, James will come across a rather lame nemesis for our hero Edward. Part of the problem was James’ utter lack of charisma and underwhelming evil scheme – lure Bella to a place of his choosing and kill her. James doesn’t go after Bella’s parents, no one except Bella is killed or harmed. James may have been more menacing if he had actually killed someone we cared about, Bella’s father, Charlie, for example. As the movie stood, I had no real feelings about James one way or the other, going after Bella wasn’t enough to garner much ill will and the character didn’t have enough screen time to gain my sympathy. As a result, the final action sequence lacked the emotional kick required to make the scene effective.
- Sparkling vampires – this is a popular criticism. Vampires are not supposed to sparkle in sunlight. Period. This goes back to the book – the sparkling was in the book. I can understand wanting to create your own interpretation of the vampire mythos. Vampires have been done so many times before that it is difficult to be original. However, some of the old traditions need to be observed.
- Kristen Stewart is an excellent young actress who did the best she could with what she had to work with. Bella is a heroine that is problematic at best even in the novel. That being said, this is not Stewart’s best work, she put forth better performances in Speak, Into the Wild and In the Land of Women. Still, a solid effort.
- It is difficult to judge Robert Pattinson, on account of his not being in too many movies up to this point. Before Twilight he had a supporting role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – he was on screen for maybe 20 minutes of that one. I thought he was unconvincing as Edward. He simply doesn’t have the experience to tackle a role like this. I’ve seen many vampire movies, with vampire characters of all different types – some were believable and some were not. I’m truly disappointed that Pattinson landed in the latter category. He may yet turn the tables though, he’s just getting started with this craft, the learning curve can be very steep with actors that young. He may surprise us with his performance in New Moon.
- The chemistry between Stewart and Pattinson was excellent. In fact, if there is a saving grace for this film, that would be it. The relationship between Bella and Edward is the whole point of Twilight. For the movie to have a prayer of working, there needed to be serious electricity, and there was.
Music, Cinematography and Special Effects
- The music was another problem for this movie. The music is supposed to set the mood and it reinforces the atmosphere. Any fan of the gothic genre knows how important music and atmosphere is to a movie like this. Much of the music used in this movie is so out of place it took me out of the film. I’ve only seen a few movies where the soundtrack was this much of a problem. Unacceptable.
- The Cinematography was excellent, along with the lighting. This is a really good looking film, taking advantage of the gloomy setting of Forks Washington, where it is cloudy for most of the year.- With a budget of about 37 million, this is a very low budget production, so I didn’t expect effects shots like you might see in a Harry Potter movie, but I expected better. If you know what you’re doing, you can execute good effects on a limited budget, TV shows do it all the time. The effects were relatively bad, they got the job done, but nothing beyond that. I’ve seen cooler looking superspeed on Smallville.
The Bottom Line
Twilight was never going to be a great film. Had it had someone who knew what they were doing at the helm, it could have been a good movie, but instead it ended up a decent film on the verge of mediocrity. It watches like Dawson’s Creek with vampires, in a word, not something most people will be interested in seeing. I understand where the craze comes from, but honestly, non-Twilight fans should consider watching Interview with the Vampire and/or Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead. 5/10