Director Catherine Hardwicke ("Thirteen," "Lords of Dogtown (Unrated Extended Cut)," and "The Nativity Story") has a special affinity with the subject of most of her films; she captures the inner angst of the adolescent from seemingly a personal vantage point that puts each member of her audience right smack in the cauldron of raging hormones, inferiority complexes and the necessity of rebellion that makes up the teen universe no matter what the generation. In her 2008 film "Twilight" she departs from her usual sexually explicit world of pubescent temptation and explores a good old-fashioned romance replete with the repressed love imaginings conjured up to perfection by Mormon mother-turned-author in her four young adult vampire novels that have achieved global success. Despite a screenplay that whittles the 500+ page novel to play in a 121 minute format, Hardwicke successfully recreates those special moments of first love that we have all experienced and allows us to remember with fondness that wicked mind-blowing intensity no matter what our age or how long ago.
Novel purists may debate the casting of the Cullen vampire family, and the two main characters vehemently, suggesting that the ensemble starring in "Twilight" did not exactly meet with personal expectations that have been mind-visualized with fan-fanatic intensification since the debut of the first book in 2005. Nevertheless as a newbie who read "Twilight" after viewing the film, I give the two leads a vigorous thumbs-up. As Bella Swan, Kristen Stewart updates the Every-girl teen wannabe-queen who typically transforms herself from awkward nerd hiding behind glasses undiscovered to triumphant mini-skirted magnificence a la "The Princess Diaries (Full Screen Edition)." Stewart's Bella knows and accepts her clumsy relative `ugly duckling' status; as a transplant from sunnier Phoenix climes she views her new home with an edgy guardedness that coincides well with the northwest backdrop and her complete lack of regard for grooming herself to become the graceful animal her name suggests. Instead Hardwicke's Bella is defined by realism. Yes, she waxes romantic over Edward's perfection, but she presents herself as a grounded unsmiling girl-woman that epitomizes most of today's teenagers. And if she spends much of her time mooning over mega-hunk Edward Cullen, who in their right minds would blame her? What a combination of male beauty and vulnerability! Robert Pattinson, as the object of her desires, smolders with all the energy of James Dean albeit with a too white layer of pancake make-up, glossed lips and a six-inch high coif that suggests way too much hair gel and morning mirror time. Although we are not privy to all of Bella's internal longings for Edward (as we are with the first person narrative in the novel) the audience quickly grasps the intense chemistry between the two lovers and marvels at their ability to convey a realistic relationship between a 100-year old vampire in the body of a seventeen year old boy and a world weary 21st century girl who doesn't quite understand why such a specimen of male perfection would go wild for her after just one whiff.
Combined with the grunge/alternative soundtrack and throbbing half romantic/half sinister score by Carter Burwell Twilight - The Score: Music from the Motion Picture, the scenes between Stewart and Pattinson are well worth the price of admission. Not just for teenagers--I had one sixty-something year old woman exclaim to me, "Wow! I have never had a man love me like that--that was so romantic it had the hair standing on the back of my neck"--"Twilight" delivers what women want: Victorian honesty and honor without the game-playing. Hardwicke sashays her characters around passion that sizzles between the two like electric current, rendering the obligatory sexual culmination unnecessary and unwelcome. For once the vertical dance outplays and obliterates the horizontal, making the film a lovely interlude for its intended PG-13 audience and those of us who want something beyond the superficial.
Presenting a vampire family without being campy most likely was the most difficult aspect to pull off in this film without making it seem too Harry Potter. Unfortunately, in this regard, Hardwicke (and Stephanie Meyers in the novel) doesn't quite manage to maintain the gravity of the vampire/human interaction during Bella's first time at the old homestead and then again at the over-the-top vampire ballgame. With their Liberace-like glamour and cornball quips, Carlyle and Company are just too easy to spot as being a breed apart. Ah well, the camp succeeds to a degree to dampen the intensity and interject a little humor before the all intensive chase and climatic scenes that lead to the film's conclusion.
Bottom line: Catherine Hardwicke's film "Twilight" depicts teen love in a modern day "Rebel Without a Cause (Two-Disc Special Edition)" with a bite that doesn't quite break the skin and doesn't have too. Pre-teen friendly, this 2 hour story gives teenagers what they want without annoying their parents with a show of too much skin and mature themes that are always unnecessary in a movie geared for the minor set. Despite its vampire theme, the film depicts teen concerns realistically without the usual display of irreverence, superficial materialism and lack of morality that make up the cornerstones of most high school dramas. Thankfully, there are no Disney touches here, only romance of the Heathcliff/Catherine Wuthering Heights (Penguin Popular Classics) genre. Can't wait for the next installment. Recommended. Diana Faillace Von Behren "reneofc"
Twilight is another movie I had no intention of seeing but watched it anyway and actually ended up absorbed in the story. Not in love, not necessarily recommending it, but absorbed. I've not read the books. Not that I don't want to, I do. But I've been told that I'll need to set aside time because once I start I won't want to stop. I've seen a few vampire movies. As far as Twilight in the vampire department...the gore is minimal as is the horror. Its there, bubbling under … more
I loved this movie. Most of the time I am disappointed when a movie is based on a book. Most movies can't live up to a books standards. That's my personal opinion. I was very pleased with the Twilight movie. I still think that the book was better but the movie was awesome. Bella moves to the small town of Forks to live with her father. On her first day at school she sees Edward. Edward is mysteriously sexy and Bella feels drawn to him. But Edward has a secret. He's a vampire.
Bella Swan can only hope that her boyfriend can keep from draining her of her blood. That might sound a bit goofy, but in Bella's "Twilight" world, it's just another day. "Twilight" is based on the enormously popular book series by Stephenie Meyer. It is a book series which I have yet to read, so I will only offer my review of the film as is and not against the book. In the film, Bella (Kristen Stewart) has just moved to little Forks, WA, to be with … more
The following movie is a "girl falls for vampire" love flick. It consists of some action, and few scenes, particularly with leaping and superspeed running, that was almost had me laughing with how ridiculous it looked on screen, however I did enjoy it, for what it is. I never read the book, but after seeing this movie, I immediately decided to buy the series via amazon to read during my leisure. It was not so much the fact that the story, in general, was that amazing. However, … more
The big-screen adaptation ofTwilight, Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire romance, is aimed squarely at its key demographic: teen girls whose idea of Prince Charming is a brooding, pale, undead teen who could kill you instantly at any moment. Such a prince is more fascinating than frightening to new girl Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who moves to the rainy-gray town of Forks, Wash., to live with her dad (Billy Burke), the local sheriff who's puzzled by a series of "animal attacks." On her first day at school, Bella appears to (visibly) nauseate her lab partner, Edward (Robert Pattinson). Turns out the scent of her blood is this vampire's "brand of heroin," and his struggle not to kill her causes an irresistible pull toward her. Whether he's attracted for the normal reasons or because she smells especially sweet to him is vague in the book and even less clear on-screen; nonetheless, Bella falls hopelessly in love with Edward, which sets her on a dangerous path when a few nomad vampires show up in town, one particularly keen on tracking the human. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen),Twilightis full of funny moments--not all of which are intentional--and the casting, from Stewart to Bella's self-absorbed friend Jessica (Anna Kendrick) is spot-on. The weakest link, unfortunately, is Pattinson. While he certainly looks the part, his Edward could have used an extra injection of testosterone (Pattinson, who is British, used James Dean as a model for his American accent). In...