Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight, the Movie: A Review

It's a dream scene for a teen girl. A distant mother absorbed by her new husband, a rather passive, job-obsessed dad befuddled by his new job as parent, no history of boyfriend breakups, not even a long-time girlfriend,--there is nobody on Bella's case. And then she meets an incredibly handsome boy who is irresistably attracted to her very essence and falls in love with her chastely and totally.

Isabella (Bella), a petite, pale girl of unremarkable prettiness, moves in with her estranged father to finish her junior year in a remote, rain-soaked village in coastal Washington. When she finds herself attracted to an incredibly handsome but undeniably strange boy, Edward Cullen, there is no one to warn her of the potentially dangerous relationship ahead of her. Slowly, despite an obvious struggle to the contrary, Edward seems to be preternaturally attracted to her. It is only when he saves her life from a careening minivan in a display of what can only be described as supernatural speed and strength that Bella knows that there is more to this young man than she can possibly imagine.

What she cannot imagine but nonetheless realizes is that Edward Cullen is a vampire and that she is in love with him, body and soul.

This is the plot of the first book of Stephanie Meyer's best-selling four-book series, Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1).

And now comes the movie.

Early reviews are, as one might expect, mixed. Noted reviewer Kenneth Turan, with the disclaimer that he is not and has never been a 13-year-old girl, nevertheless seems to have found merit in the film In his Los Angeles Times review, he describes the film as "...a movie which has been targeted to that demographic with the delicious specificity of a laser weapon.... Director Hardwicke has connected so intensively to the Meyer novel that it's hard to imagine any one else making a better version."

On the other hand, an anonymous teen-aged male's comment makes his case wittily: "Man, this movie sucked."

That remark seems to separate the moviegoers by gender: many teen guys hate it because the vampire Cullens don't bite and suck; the girls love it because they don't.

I found the movie quite faithful to the novel. The fatal attraction, the star-crossed lovers, the classic demon lover theme,--all were there, spelled out clearly, often in the very words of the novel. Cinematography took advantage of the misty, dark landscape of the Olympic peninsula to good advantage, fitting the mood of the film well and lighting the faces of the players extraordinarily. I (admittedly no longer thirteen either) was distracted by the sensation that in lead Robert Pattinson I was seeing a gaunt Elvis Presley on a bad hair day speaking with the voice of a young Marlon Brando, but I'm sure that no one else in the theatre was troubled by that particular presentiment from the past. Likewise, Kristen Stewart's persistent open-mouthed confusion wore on the viewer a bit, but considering that the two young actors carried 98 per cent of the dialogue, they performed reasonably well in sustaining predetermined roles (requiring nearly constant close-ups) with some degree of success.

All in all, for readers of the first book of Meyer's series, the director chose well to adhere closely to the words and mood of the novel. Fans will love this movie for that faithfulness and will doubtless anticipate the sequel, shamelessly hinted at in the final moments of the film.

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  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:00 AM  

  • Dressed in home made twilight t-shirts my daughter and four of her friends went to see this movie yesterday. From their responses after returning home they seemed to have all enjoyed the movie.

    By Blogger Marsha, at 10:51 AM  

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