Movie Review: Twilight
By Matthew Huntley
November 24, 2008
Believe it or not, I never even heard of Twilight until last summer. By that time, Stephenie Meyers' four-part books series had sold over 25 million copies worldwide and fans were already standing in line to catch a glimpse of the first movie at the San Diego Comic-Con. Where had I been?
Simple: I'm not the intended audience for Twilight, and for any other unintended audience members, they'll probably feel like the filmmakers never kept them in mind when making the movie. Director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg seem to focus their attention solely on appeasing the already-established fan base, making it hard for the rest of us to make a connection with the material.
The Harry Potter movies never seem to have this problem, maybe because the nature and context of Harry Potter's world is more universally appealing and interesting, even for people who haven't read the books. Or, and I'm willing to lend more weight to this latter theory, the "Harry Potter" movies are simply better made.
For the uninformed, Twilight tells the watered-down love story between Bella (short for Isabella), a human teenager, and Edward, a 100-plus-year-old vampire who permanently looks 17. Theirs is a forbidden love because Edward wants very badly to drink Bella's blood and read her mind (hers is the only one he can't penetrate). She frustrates him so much that he loves her, and for all the reasons they shouldn't be together, she loves him in return. In this movie, the two cannot make physical love because, he says, "I can't lose control with you," which, I take it, means if he were to sexually climax, he'd wind up sucking her blood and killing her.
At the beginning of the movie, Bella (Kristen Stewart) is uprooted from her mother (Sarah Clarke) and step-dad in Arizona to go live with her complacent biological father (Billy Burke) in Forks, Washington. In Forks, it's cold, it rains and the sun rarely shines. It's a perfect place for the pale undead to reside.
Bella fits in with a nice group of friends at school but still finds herself drawn to Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), the white-faced, red lipstick-wearing junior who only hangs out with members of his presumably incestuous family on the other side of the cafeteria. Edward's four siblings consist of two married couples, Emmet and Rosalie (Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed) and Jasper and Alice (Jackson Rathbone and Ashley Greene). His guardians are Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) and Esme (Elizabeth Reaser). All of them are vampires, but no one in town knows this, although some people are suspicious.
At first, Edward shows resistance to Bella and hates the idea of sitting next to her in biology. He starts to come around and inexplicably saves her from being hit by a van. Bella can't figure this guy out - does he like her or doesn't he? After being a told a Native American legend about the Cullen clan and conducting her own research on Google, Bella discovers Edward's secret.