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Twilight

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On November 21, 2008, the highly anticipated vampire love story 'Twilight' made its debut. Though hyped to be a 'full-blown pop culture phenomenon' (Los Angeles Times), the film is nothing short of deeply disappointing, its numerous flaws far outshadowing any redeeming qualities.

The film is based on Stephenie Meyer's wildly popular 'Twilight', a dark romance with a ghost-story twist. Upon her mother's remarriage, Arizona teenager Bella Swan finds herself packing for Forks, Washington, to live with her father. Dreary Forks becomes considerably more interesting after Bella finds herself drawn to the mysterious Edward Cullen, who, though inhumanely beautiful, harbors a deep secret ' he and his family are vampires. Propelled by a dangerous attraction, Edward and Bella fall into a forbidden love, facing unanswerable questions of immortality.

Robert Pattinson portrays the hero of Meyer's books, but with none of Edward's signature grace or eloquence. Pattinson gives Edward's character a bitter, angry taste, often barking at Bella without reason (for example, when Bella trips in the greenhouse, and Edward nearly screams, 'Can you at least watch where you walk?!') Throughout the film, Pattinson's British heritage becomes blatantly obvious, as his accent spills into Edward's dialogue. Pattinson fails to deliver as the tragic hero and instead presents viewers with an inconsistent, mood-ridden teenager.

As Meyer's fragile but quick-witted heroine, Bella, Kristen Stewart offers no more than a blank stare. Stewart delivers the majority of her lines completely void of any emotion ('Vampire. 'I dream of being with you forever'. 'I had waffles for breakfast.' No matter the line, Stewart's voice inflection doesn't change.) Stewart's performance is stale and flavorless, leaving the audience with a repugnant aftertaste.

The film suffers form an obviously low budget, affecting makeup and cinematography most directly. Portraying the blonde vampire goddess Rosalie is a natural brunette, whose cheap bottle-blond dye job erodes a tremendous amount of Rosalie's unearthly beauty. Carlisle, the Cullen father figure described as 'Zeus' younger, better looking brother', looks less like a dashing young doctor and more like a psychotic circus clown. Both Edward and Carlisle suffer from too-pale makeup and noticeable lip color, but not nearly so much as Rosalie, whose fire-engine lipstick screams from her unnervingly over-paled face. The film also employs poor camera cuts and unsteady scenes. One would assume such a film as 'Twilight' would be able to afford a decent tripod, but the haphazard shots in some scenes would suggest otherwise. The special effects suffer from a tight budget as well, such as when Edward's 'sparkle' is revealed. The distinct vampire trait could be no more than a glorified sweat. Edward's 'running' scenes are almost as cheesy as his mile-high man pouf, highly unrealistic and ultimately unbelievable. When shot from waist up, Victoria, Laurent, and James look as if they travel on unseen skateboards, giving an unnervingly awkward feel.

The film is also littered with random moments of stupidity, such as when Bella leaves Arizona holding a small cactus. She doesn't let go of it until her arrival in Forks. Also, when Bella is in the hospital, broken and bruised, her mother completely disregards hospital phone policies to text her husband. Is this an advertisement for a wireless company? When enemy vampires kill Bella's father's friend, his corpse is places on a stretcher, but his feet are left uncovered. Why?

'Twilight' gives a poor explanation of Meyer's novel, assuming the viewer is already a fan of the series. James' game of tracking, a central part of the plot, is hardly explained. The famous meadow scene is shortened to a mere walk in the woods, and the role of the Cullen family is greatly decreased. Edward and Bella's relationship progresses unrealistically fast, with murmurs of forever uttered after what seems like a few short weeks of spastic contact. The film also misconstrues facts ' Eric, a character who appears for no more than a page in the book, becomes a member of the 'Mike and Jessica' group, receiving considerable screen time. Jacob Black appears much more in the film than he does in the novel, and Bella goes to prom on her own accord.

There is one shining ray of hope in the dastardly disappointing first film, however ' a higher-budget sequel. Assuming that the movie will attract every Edward-or-Jacob loving girl in the country, the second film should maintain a much higher budget, equaling a more accurate script, the absence of garish clown makeup, and quality camera shots.

'Twilight' does Meyer's darkly addictive noel no justice, burdened by a weak script, pitiable cinematography, and mildly talented actors. The film is hardly comparable to the biting success of the books, and nearly destroys Meyer's carefully crafted world of vegetarian vampires.





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phavi1995 said...
Mar. 14, 2009 at 6:32 pm
I hated the movie and this was the same with most book based movies
 
Meli_mel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 8, 2009 at 6:03 pm
Very well written, but I liked the movie :)
I guess it's because I read the books and understood the plot...but you're definetly justified in saying those who didn't read the book had no idea what was going on...my Mom was completely lost!
 
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