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When Bella Swan moves to a small town in the Pacific Northwest to live with her father, she meets the reclusive Edward Cullen, a mysterious classmate who reveals himself to be a 108-year-old vampire. Despite Edward's repeated cautions, Bella can't help but fall in love with him, a fatal move that endangers her own life when a coven of bloodsuckers try to challenge the Cullen clan.
There really wasn't any reason for me to want to see "Twilight". I have never read a single word of the series by Stephenie Meyer, the trailer didn't appeal to me at all and I recently saw what I consider to be the pinnacle of the modern vampire films, "Let the Right One In". But, I relented and gave the film a shot. After all, Catherine Hardwicke is a fine director and I thought "Thirteen" was a really special picture. It also helps that Robert Pattinson is insanely attractive and that's always a plus when I'm debating whether or not to see a film. "Twilight" is somewhat of an enigma. It has all the trappings of a blockbuster franchise, but it actually takes time for its characters and the development of their relationships. You find yourself caring about these characters and rooting for them, an odd thought when you consider most of them are vampires. Nevertheless, "Twilight" hooked me from the beginning and didn't let go. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that the film takes place in Washington - and most of the film is covered in rain and fog. I relate more to films like that. Any time I see a deck in the rain, I think of the Northwest and I think of "The Goonies". "Twilight" was far more interesting that I ever gave it credit for, and I can't wait for the next one.
The film centers around Bella (Kristen Stewart), who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington, to live with her father (Billy Burke), the chief of police. Her mother and stepfather have decided to do some traveling and Bella wants her mother to have fun. When she arrives she meets a host of new friends, but is immediately attracted to a kid named Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who seems to be nothing but repulsed by her at first. Slowly, Bella and Edward begin getting to know one another and we eventually find out that Edward was never repulsed by Bella, but just couldn't control himself around her. You see - Edward is a vampire and lives with a family of vampires in town, a group dedicated to only drinking the blood of animals. When locals start dying in what most believe to be animal attacks, the Cullens seem to know different. As Bella and Edward get closer and closer, Edward's family wonders if what they're doing might be too dangerous. The film ends with a showdown between Edward and a fellow vampire who has been responsible for the killings in and around Forks. But, throughout the film, director Catherine Hardwicke spends her entire focus on developing the relationship between Bella and Edward - paying intricate detail to the quirks therein.
There was something very genuine about this picture. I bought the relationship between Bella and Edward hook, line and sinker. We don't normally get to see this kind of angst associated with a vampire, and it was a nice twist to see a vampire who was in love with a human but was afraid to kiss her because he didn't want to lose control. Stewart and Pattinson have great chemistry together and really do carry the film. We want them to succeed and we want everything to work out in the end. Director Catherine Hardwicke started her career really tapping into the teen subconscious and she brings that same skill to this film which could have been just another angst driven bore best with cheesy special effects and a showdown that doesn't pay-off. The showdown is not the point of this film. In fact, it's quite secondary. "Twilight" is a film about a relationship that just happens to have some action here and there. Having never read the novels, I am excited to see where the series goes from here. There are so many directions in which this franchise could go - and the ending definitely sets up a sequel to follow.
As mentioned earlier, Stewart and Pattinson are great in their roles. This really is a breakout picture for Pattinson, whose good lucks and charisma will likely lead to far more challenging roles in the future. Billy Burke provides a great supporting performance as Bella's police officer father, and he really was a surprise here. Peter Facinelli is quite capable as Pattinson's pseudo-father and Cam Gigandet actually didn't annoy me here as the antagonist of the picture. Hardwicke did a fine job casting this film and I have spoken with fans of the book series who saw the film who say the casting was nearly perfect throughout. In fact, the fans of the series seem to be rather pleased with this film and, from what I've heard, it stays very true to the text. "Twilight" is most certainly going to become another "Harry Potter" franchise. It might not sell as many books as the former, but it will definitely rake in the money at the box office.
As far as first films go, "Twilight" is a strong example of how to kick off a franchise. I found myself enthralled throughout and excited about what might happen next. Those who warned me it was going to be a 'chick flick' obviously didn't know what they were talking about. Sure, there is romance. Sure, there is a love story. But, it's a love story we haven't seen before, especially with these strings attached. I want to know more about Edward's family and their history. I want to know more about the Native America tribe in the town who end the film with a warning for Bella. I hope the next film is able to answer some of these questions and I hope I don't have to wait two years to see it. I guess I could break down and purchase the books, but I don't want to spoil the film. I am one of those people who sees the film and then reads the book. "Twilight" was a solid and entertaining jaunt and far better than I thought it would be. Robert Pattinson might be the sexiest vampire committed to screen - and that is reason enough.
- added 11/23/2008, 10:33 AM
I was curious to see what the word was on this
picture... very interesting.
and I believe that the word you were searching for
in the first paragraph of your review was
You must have been
in quite a hurry to post this;)
The Red Clover
- added 11/23/2008, 02:53 PM
I took my sixteen year old brother and seventeen
year old sister to see this movie during it's
Midnight showing and while they are both fans of
the book series having read the four currently
available so quickly it made my head spin a few
times, I am not. I have yet to pick up a single
novel because my siblings by their own admission
tell me how sloppy of a writer Stephanie Meyer
appears to be. I guess they said they kept reading
hoping for some improvement but they enjoyed the
story or at least the idea of it.
After the movie they both said it
"failed." I however found myself
entertained and thought the movie was worth the
ticket price. I think Roger Ebert said it best
that the target audience will get the most out of
this film and that's exactly how I judged it
before I even read any reviews. I personally
enjoyed the development of the chemistry between
the characters of Bella and Edward, how it seems
natural and progressive instead of forced and the
character of Jasper. Jasper's vacant stare was
probably to me was worth seeing the movie.
I still find it odd that my brother and
sister being apart of the core demographic felt
the movie fell short and I think it's because this
was the first time they were ever interested in a
franchise (ie, the book series) and saw it turned
into a film whereas I have been dealing with it
since I was young watching them turn and butcher
"The Punisher" in 1989 (I saw it years
later) then "Fantastic Four" in 1994 and
to be honest I can't remember how I got my hands
on that one, but I regretted it. Since then I've
been having to struggle with adaptation after
adaptation of my childhood memories being
formatted for the silver screen.
They've yet to learn about the idea of
compromise and perhaps this is another reason why
I liked the film. Because it offered a taste to a
younger generation what us older comic book
geeks/nerds have been dealing with for a decade or
- added 11/23/2008, 03:03 PM
Good point. I think that's probably why I
enjoyed it more than a lot of the teenage girls
sitting around me. It was nice to see a different
approach to the whole vampire mythology, and that
always interests me.
- added 11/28/2008, 01:04 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't recommend the books to anyone,
but the movie came as a big suprise as to how good
it was considering the source material was awful.
8/10 as well.
- added 11/07/2009, 02:35 PM
I found this movie absolutely horrendous. None
of the characters really showed any growth or
change from the beginning to the end of the movie.
This was largely because the characters start out
with their "destination" personality and
only get depth, if the screen/original writer was
feeling lucky, by figuring out why they feel like
they do. Five-ten minutes into the movie, the
male and female leads see each other and are
instantaneously in love. They don't fall in love
or become impressed by each other in any way; their love simply is. This leads
to some dialogue so abysmal Lucas couldn't
have written it if he had tried. Really, I
found the Anakin/Padme love story much more
convincing that Twilight's Edward/Bella.
6.5 out of 10. Add 1 point if you're
female and 1 point if you're 13/30-40