I feel like I should start off saying that I’m a huge fan of Twilight. I’ve read the books a million times and I love the characters. So it pains me that I’m about to say this: Twilight the movie was crap. Okay, okay. So maybe it wasn’t all crap but I went in expecting better and I was disappointed with what it turned out to be.
Everyone should know the story by now. If you don’t it’s because you haven’t been around a woman between the ages of eight to 80. I don’t know one woman who hasn’t read the book by now, not to mention a good handful of men.
It all starts out when Bella moves to Forks, a little wet town in the state of Washington. Staying with her single father, already popular at school because she’s the new kid, Bella meets a strange boy. He’s tall, he’s dark, and he’s handsome. And though she doesn’t know it yet his skin glitters like diamonds in the daylight. Edward Cullen. He’s different in every way from all the other students in the school and eventually Bella realizes that Edward isn’t human. He is a vampire. Of course they fall in love. But the course of true love never did run smooth and these two have more to face than the average couple going through a rough patch. Not only do they have to go against their natures to be together they also have to fight off a crazed vampire hell bent on killing Bella.
Bella is played by Kristen Stewart and I thought she was great. Stewart brings the character, a clumsy breakable girl who we identify with in the books, to life. She also gives Bella a bit more backbone, a little more grit than what I remember the character having.
Edward is Robert Pattinson and he earned himself a huge scream from the crowd the first time he appeared on the screen. He doesn’t have a lot to say, he pretty much just has to stand there looking tortured and beautiful. But he does that well enough and he’s handsome enough to be the fairytale Edward from the books. When Edward does finally speak, his words sound a little old world, which fits perfectly, and he’s suitably dangerous and charming at the same time.
The rest of the cast was good. Ashley Greene was a perfect fit for Alice as was Jackson Rathbone for Jasper, who pulled off the whole pained-expression thing without overdoing it. The rest of the Cullen family, Rosalie (Nikki Reed), Emmet (Kellan Lutz), Esme (Elizabeth Reaser) and Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) were good picks as well. They each brought their characters to life, pulling them from the pages of the book. Gil Birmingham is the perfect Billy Black and Taylor Lautner was good as Jacob, the little bit you got to see him, and will be great if he gets a chance to continue with the role. As for Laurent (Edi Gathegi), Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), and James (Cam Gigndet) they were a little campy, not coming across as anything to be frightened of or really worried about.
Between the early '90s guitar riffs, the horribly up close close-ups, and the weirdly angled shots, the movie sticks pretty close to the book. There were some slight changes to make the movie more dramatic and suspenseful but those don’t detract from the overall feel. It was nice to see Laurent, James, and Victoria moving through the story and the movie before Bella actually meets them. As for the rest, parts of it were over-acted, including the scene where Bella and Edward sit next to each other in class for the first time. Edward’s reactions to Bella earned a few laughs from the crowd at that point.
What it all comes down to is this: if you’re a fan of the books you’re going to like the movie. But as a reader and a fan you go in already knowing these characters so well that even what they don’t say, or don’t say well, in the movie you already know. You get to fill in the glossed-over moments or the poorly portrayed ones because you’ve still got the book floating around in your memory. Twilight the movie is corny; the moments that rivet you to the page on the book come across as overdone and feeling like they’ve been shot for a daytime soap opera.
But I have to admit that it wasn’t all bad. There were some great scenes too. When Bella asks her dad to officially meet Edward as her boyfriend is fantastic. Billy Burke did a great job as Charlie Swan, local police sheriff and Bella’s dad. He’s cleaning his shotgun and drinking a beer, your typical red-blooded American father, when he hears that he gets to meet his daughter’s boyfriend for the first time. The whole theater laughed when he asked Bella if she still had that pepper spray he gave her.
Full of angst and hormones Twilight is sure to appeal to a die-hard fan. But for those of you that aren’t I wouldn’t recommend it. The movie is stronger because it has the book to back it. On its own it’s just an overlong made-for-TV teen drama with vampires thrown in for good measure.