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“Twilight”– based on the first book in the best-selling series by Stephenie Meyer – is a faithful adaptation that will satiate the thirst of fans and simultaneously captivate new audiences.
The movie follows the story of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), a normal girl thrust into a secret supernatural world when she falls in love with her mysterious classmate, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). He just happens to be a vampire.
Ditch your preconceived notions of vampires; this isn't a typical vampire tale. If you are looking for clichéd stereotypes with fangs, coffins, and stakes through the heart, this isn't the movie for you. Director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg stay true to Meyer's vision and create a film that exposes “Twilight” for what it essentially is: a story of the ultimate forbidden love.
Hardwicke once again proves her knack for portraying raw teenage experiences, as she did in “Thirteen” and “Lords of Dogtown.” She directs a young cast of phenomenal talent. Leads Stewart and Pattinson throw themselves into their roles and portray their characters exceptionally well. The chemistry between the two is electric.
Stewart gives a fresh, honest take on Bella. Her straightforward interpretation allows viewers to live vicariously through Bella and experience what she does. You feel her longing and desire.
Pattinson conveys Edward's inner turmoil flawlessly. His complex perception of the character creates a believable Edward. He conveys his feelings of vitality and emotional reawakening through his expressions.
The movie also has an outstanding supporting cast. Billy Burke as Bella's father, Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen, and Michael Welch as Mike Newton all deserve a nod for excellent portrayal of their characters.
The film itself is visually dynamic. The movie is shot in crisp blue tones. The costumes are pallid, veering away from traditional vampire attire. Bella's wardrobe becomes closer to the Cullens' as she grows closer to them. The nomad vampires appear savage in clothes taken from their victims.
Filmed in Portland, Oregon, the movie features stunning views and beautiful landscapes. Because of the small budget, action sequences were done physically. Though some may find the special effects lacking, the simplicity enhances Hardwicke's unique documentary-style filming. Using extreme close-ups and whimsical angles, the camera work gives the movie an intimate, realistic feel.
The music ties in to the story perfectly. Consisting of moody, angst-filled rock songs, the soundtrack fits the tone. From Muse's upbeat “Supermassive Black Hole” playing during a game of vampire baseball, to Iron and Wine's romantic “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” at prom, the songs set the mood for the scenes.
A longer film would have allowed more time to explain the essentials of the plot, making it easier for those who have not read the book. Although it mirrors the book very closely, many scenes had to be cut. The danger of the nomadic vampires is threaded throughout the movie to create more tension. The essence of the story is present, making changes in details insignificant; the movie's creators successfully captured the elements that made readers fall in love with Bella and Edward.
The book and the movie are equally satisfying, albeit in different ways, and neither is better. While you can imagine the detailed story unfolding in your head when reading the book, the movie creates a sweet condensed version for the big screen. Both allow you to lose yourself in this passionate, unorthodox romance.
All components work together nicely in “Twilight” to efficiently bring the book to life. The film is a beautiful mixture of romance, action, comedy, and horror, containing aspects that will appeal to everyone.