Sunday, March 22, 2009


Written by Melissa Rosenberg
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson

Edward Cullen: I wanted to kill you. I never wanted a human being’s blood so much.

It may occasionally sound like a vampire movie but TWILIGHT certainly doesn’t look like any vampire movie I’ve ever seen. For starters, some of these particular vampires are vegetarians. It is much less a movie about vampires as it a movie that just happens to have vampires. You might even say it is the BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN of vampire movies. This is not to say it is anywhere near as good; just that director Catherine Hardwicke cleared the path so that you could see the love and not just the blood lust one would expect. That love is shared between Bella and Edward (played by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson). She just moved back to this tiny town to spend some time with her estranged father and he too just moved back to this same town after being away for a few decades. She is 17 and he looks like he’s 17 (he also looks like he’s ready for an all vampire cabaret revue with all that face makeup but that’s besides the point) but really he was born way back near the turn of the century, the last century. Doesn’t anyone else see something wrong with this picture? He could realistically be her great grandfather, people.

This is Bella’s story really and her perspective is what brings both sensitivity and assertive confidence to TWILIGHT. Bella’s relationship with her father is understandably tricky. Her newfound friends from school take some definite getting used to. And as if her life weren’t complicated enough already, what with the big move and the inevitable adjustment period, she just had to go and fall “hang upside down from the rafters” in love with a vampire. The best part about the somewhat ridiculous premise (I say somewhat because maybe vampires really do exist, even vegetarian ones), is that Hardwicke has grounded it firmly. Imagine a teenage movie where none of the “youngins” utter inspired brilliance every time they open their mouths. No, these folks are actually awkward; they actually don’t know what to say sometimes. And they actually live in a place where not everything they wear is right off the runway. All of this realism helps make the supernatural element all the more plausible but it also brings to light a couple of points of concern about the teenage girl.

TWILIGHT reinforces one of the most unfortunate clichés around these days. Every girl out there just really wants a bad boy. They don’t even care if they have admittedly drained innocent bodies of all their blood before. We should definitely make sure that the legions of young girls who see this film, or read the Stephanie Meyers book it is based upon, believe that love can resolve any obstacle, be that a difference of opinion, a disagreement or the distinct possibility that your boyfriend may one day wake in the middle of the night to find he can no longer resist the urge to drink your blood. It is easy to get sucked in to TWILIGHT’s lore (Get it? Sucked?) because we all have these distorted ideas of love ingrained inside of us but last I checked, a guy who sneaks into your room to watch you sleep is called a stalker, not a romantic. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from TWILIGHT though, it is that a teenage girl’s love is infinitely stronger than a vampire’s lust for blood. Oh, and that girls love all things that sparkle.

My apologies to the technical geeks and true fans out there. I had too much to say about this film to go into detail about all the blu-ray special features. I will just say that if you are a fan of this film, you will not be disappointed with which your admiration has been rewarded. There is feature commentary with the director and two leads; the behind the scenes featurettes go through most of the production stages and can be seen picture in picture on blu-ray (which, if you're like me and didn't know what that was before, means that you can watch the film and a separate screen will appear in the corner to give you information about the scene that is playing). On the whole, all the special features point towards the care with which this production came to life and how much it has meant to legions of fans. There are even music videos by Linkin Park and Paramore. You tell me, what more could a bloodthirsty teenage girl want?




Anonymous said...

I still have not seen this movie, but your review makes the movie to have a good plot, probably going to see it this weekend :)

Bdubs said...

I liked the books a lot more than the movie. Still, it was cool to see it come to life. I'm hoping the sequel is a little bit better, especially with makeup and special effects.

Film Steak said...

I haven't read the book, but I like the movie (probably the reason why I like the movie! Haha..). I am looking forward to see the sequel, but I have no plans of reading any of the books from which the series is based. ;)

Black Sheep said...

I have to admit, if I haven't already, I have not read the Twilight books myself. I would never have even seen this film had it not been so successful and I was certainly pleasantly surprised. I too found the special effects to be pretty lackluster but there will definitely be more money pumped into the second. It may take away from the somewhat independent tone I found this first installment managed mind you. And they are rushing it so we shall see how it all turns out.