Twilight

January 2, 2009
By
On November 21st, 2008, teen girls across America flocked to theaters to witness their latest literary obsession be brought to life. For the past year, the Twilight Saga, written by Stephenie Meyer, has been the most talked about thing among the 12-15 set, even capturing the hearts of the girl's mothers. The books have constantly been praised, and while I never understood why they were so popular, I decided to check out the movie that everyone was going on about. With low expectations I headed to the theater, not once, but twice. After my second viewing of the film, my opinion still remains unchanged from my first watch, and I am left unimpressed once again.

The film takes place in the small town of Forks, Washington, where rain constantly falls over its inhabitants' heads. 17 year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewert) is the newest arrival to the tiny place, having decided to live with her father for awhile, and is immediately interested in the Cullen family (More specifically, the mysterious, pale-faced junior Edward). After a particularly rocky start between the two, Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella soon find that they are very drawn to one another, and although it is dangerous for the two to be together, as Edward just happens to be a vampire, they embark on a relationship that neither of them could ever forget. But when a nomadic vampire, James, a highly skilled hunter of humans, catches Bella’s scent with the Cullens, he threatens to tear Edward and Bella apart -- forever.

While the plot sounds exciting, this movie is your average teen romance, filled with cheesy dialogue and awkward special effects. Kristen Stewert lacked the acting abilities to pull off the character of Bella, seeming utterly confused through most of the film. She speaks in a monotone through the entire thing, showing no emotion at all until the last 15 minutes of the movie. Nothing about her performance makes me think that she is a teenager experiencing first love, especially the extraordinary love that is the core of the story. That can be blamed, however, at the complete lack of chemistry between the two lead actors. Robert Pattinson seemed to do his best to portray the conflicted Edward, but simply missed the mark. His many attempts at being serious made myself and the rest of the audience laugh, and it was hard not to notice when he dropped his American accent, briefly returning to his native English one. However, the main characters’ lame portrayals are not the movie’s greatest downfall. No, that would be the visuals. The wardrobe and make-up was horrendous, leaving Bella just as pale as the vampires (and without pants during Edward and Bella’s first kiss), and the special effects were just laughable. I could barely see Edward “shimmering” in the sun. It looked as if he had sweat glistening off of him, if anything (And since when could Stephenie Meyer's vampires fly?)

However, the movie does have some redeeming qualities. Actor Taylor Lautner, who plays the small yet important role of Jacob Black, and Billy Burke, who plays Bella’s protective father and Fork’s police chief Charlie Swan, both seem to naturally become their character, being part of the very few actors who give a believable performance. Also, the movie follows Stephenie Meyer's original tale quite well, making only minor changes that seemed to help the movie more than hurt.

The teenage girls who have come to love the series will no doubt cherish the film, while those new to the Twilight phenomenon may be amused, yet I doubt they will find it a movie worth seeing again. In the end, Twilight is just average, and certainly did not leave me thirsting for more.





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