Movie Review: Twilight
By Matthew Huntley
November 24, 2008
They begin dating and Edward tells her his history and displays his powers, including his remarkable speed, strength, and abilities to climb trees and jump great distances. Unlike traditional vampire mythology, Edward isn't harmed by sunlight. Instead, his skin sparkles in it, "like diamonds." He and his family have also learned to feed on the blood of animals so they can live peacefully among humans. In this respect, they're different from other living vampires, including the evil James (Cam Gigandet) and Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), who hunt humans for sport and have their eyes set on Bella.
If you're used to any number of television shows on the CW network, you should have a fair idea of what Twilight is like. That is to say, the dialogue is brief and literal, the characters are very image-conscious and the acting is laughable. I resist calling the movie bad because it wasn't made for me. It was made for people who read and enjoyed the book. They'll eat this up because they'll look beyond the writing, directing, acting and special effects simply because their idols and favorite characters are occupying the screen.
I, on the other hand, won't look beyond the movie's flaws. The direction is dry and uninspired, the acting is stiff and the special effects are drab and shoddy. The acting, in particular, induces unintentional laughter because the actors appear so self-conscious and speak their words in monotone. There's no fluctuation or emotion behind them. It has the air of a teenage soap opera, which, I understand, some people enjoy, but aren't the standards of a theatrical movie experience supposed to be higher than this?
There are some good moments too. I liked, for example, the idea of Bella feeling nervous that Edward's family isn't going to like her - not because she's human, but because she's different. It's kind of touching when the entire Cullen clan goes out of their way to make Italian food for her. There's also a great looking aerial shot of Edward and Bella high up in a pine tree. It looks as though the actors were really up there without any safety nets.
Ultimately, though, from the point of view of someone who looks at "Twilight" as a movie and not as a way of life, I found it amateurish. When you place it alongside the plethora of other vampire stories within the pop culture landscape, the most comparable being the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, it lacks wit, sophistication and insight. It feels superficial and seems to only care about giving fans of the book what they want, not what's good enough for the narrative or medium.
I didn't have a bad time at Twilight necessarily; in fact, the movie held my attention and made me laugh a lot. It works as second-rate escapism and will likely please fans of the book (I say this because I met one on the way out, a 13-year-old girl, who was gushing over the movie), but this will probably be the only group it pleases.