Cast & Credits:
Release Date: November 21, 2008
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Screenwriter: Melissa Rosenberg
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Cigandet, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene
Genre: Romance, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for some violence and a scene of sensuality)
Official Website: TheTwilightmovie.com | MySpace.com/Twilightthemovie
- Categories: Horror | Romance | Thriller | All
"Twilight" is an action-packed, modern-day love story between a teenage girl and a vampire. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has always been a little bit different, never caring about fitting in with the trendy girls at her Phoenix high school. When her mother re-marries and sends Bella to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, she doesn't expect much of anything to change.
Then she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a boy unlike any she's ever met. Edward is a vampire, but he doesn't have fangs and his family is unique in that they choose not to drink human blood. Intelligent and witty, Edward sees straight into Bella's soul. Soon, they are swept up in a passionate, thrilling and unorthodox romance.
To Edward, Bella is what he has waited 90 years for – a soul mate. But the closer they get, the more Edward must struggle to resist the primal pull of her scent, which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy. But what will Edward & Bella do when a clan of new vampires – James (Cam Gigandet), Laurent (Edi Gathegi) and Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) – come to town and threaten to disrupt their way of life?
For many, many years Hollywood has been making the majority of their box office dollars with thinly veiled male adolescent power fantasies; painting the day dreams of thirteen year old boys onto the big screen and bringing along all the subtlety and depth you'd expect from that. It's only good business practice I suppose, they do buy most of tickets, especially as fewer and fewer alternatives can get made. Luckily for us all, Summit Entertainment has arrived to combat the vapid male adolescent monopoly with vapid female adolescent fantasy.
The fantasy of choice is Stephenie Meyer's insanely popular "Twilight" series, about the star-crossed love of human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) for vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Its popularity is certainly understandable. Bella is an introvert and an outcast in Phoenix, but when she moves to rainy Forks, Washington she suddenly finds herself the popular focus of attention. Particularly for Edward—visualized in the film as a kind of gothy Calvin Klein model—the ultimate 'bad boy' fantasy. He has dangerous, murderous impulses but he's ashamed them—underneath the violence he's very sensitive—and the right girl might give him the incentive to control them. This sort of thing practically invites angst and, whaddyaknow, angst is what we get. It's all very teenage girly, and probably insufferable to anyone with a Y-chromosome.
But fair's fair. Characters like Edward are about as likely to exist in the wild as the elusive supermodel/gearhead/comic collector, but that hasn't stopped us from looking. Everyone's entitled to their personal day dream, although how interesting your day dream is to other people is usually inversely proportional to how interesting you find it.
However, a writer or director who's willing and able can exceed the conventions of the adolescent fantasy they find themselves working in. That's even more essential in adaptations, where a filmmaker can do the source material more favors by being truer to the spirit than the written word. Unfortunately, director Catherine Hardwicke ("Lords of Dogtown") and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg have decided to stick slavishly to the book, except for ancillary characters and elements of back story that had to be excised to fit the book into a 120 minute running time. The result is a little flat. Edward and Bella are every bit the cliché's they sound like, although Pattinson is every so often able to break out of the straightjacket of broodiness he's been stuck with and show some glimpses of real personality.
Stewart, on the other hand, speaks every line of dialogue as a halting question, as if she's not really sure what she's saying or why. Bella is supposed to be an introvert, someone still dealing with the emergence of her own personality and unsure about it. Okay, fine. But in execution she comes across as almost autistic in her inability to communicate what she's thinking and feeling, not just to other characters but to the audience. The idea seems to be that it's merely a cover for emotions so unfathomable they're beyond her ability to express, but lacking any evidence to the contrary I have to assume the cover is all that's there. With the film's focus on moving its immediate plot forward, the audience is left to its own devices to figure out why she is the way she is with no help forthcoming from the story. I know as much about her at the end of the film as I did when it started, and apart from her love for Edward I have no idea what she feels about anything, or why she is the way she is. Edward can more or less get away with this sort of thing. He's supposed to be something of a man of mystery. To start with. Peeling away the layers of his nature and why he is the way he is, is more or less what the entire story is about (what conflict there is, is either vastly internalized or introduced very late). But Bella is the point of view for the audience, so she needs to be at least a little relatable, beyond just the fantasy element of developing a relationship with the high school hunk.
But that seems to be all that's being offered. "Twilight" really does have an infatuation with surface beauty, especially where the vampires are concerned. It leads to one of the few moments of, possibly unintentional, insight in the film as Edward confesses to Bella that his kind are made to be impossibly beautiful, but it's fake, a lure to trap unsuspecting prey. That sums up "Twilight" pretty well. It's a façade, an appealing one to people who share the right appetites, but that's all.
Still, I'm making it sound a lot worse than it is. Part of it is certainly because I'm a guy, and "Twilight" doesn't even make a pretense of having anything to offer me. But it's as blithely surface oriented as any big budget action film, just oriented in a different direction. The plot is very light; "Twilight" is intent on introducing its world and the characters who live there, but not much else. Several ideas and characters are brought up and left hanging, hopefully to be expanded on in a later installment. It comes across, especially with its underwhelming production design, as more of a pilot for a "Twilight" TV show than a self-contained film. None of that should matter to fans of the book, and members of its target audience who haven't stumbled on it yet. They should love it regardless. But that kind of devotion deserves better than its getting.
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|Actor: Kristen Stewart|
Actor: Robert Pattinson
Actor: Billy Burke
Actor: Ashley Greene
Actor: Nikki Reed
AudienceRating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Brand: UNI DIST CORP. (SUMMIT)
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Feature: Condition: New
Feature: Format: Blu-ray
Feature: AC-3; Color; Dolby; DTS Surround Sound; Subtitled; Widescreen
Format: DTS Surround Sound
Label: Summit Entertainment
Manufacturer: Summit Entertainment
Publisher: Summit Entertainment
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Title: Twilight [Blu-ray]
Bella Swan (Stewart) doesn't expect much when she moves to the small town of Forks, Washington, until she meets the mysterious and handsome Edward Cullen (Pattinson) - a boy who's hiding a dark secret: he's a vampire. As their worlds and hearts collide, Edward must battle the bloodlust raging inside him as well as a coterie of undead that would make Bella their prey. Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling sensation by Stephenie Meyer, Twilight adds a dangerous twist to the classic story of star-crossed lovers.
The big-screen adaptation of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire romance, is aimed squarely at its key demographic: teen girls whose idea of Prince Charming is a brooding, pale, undead teen who could kill you instantly at any moment. Such a prince is more fascinating than frightening to new girl Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who moves to the rainy-gray town of Forks, Wash., to live with her dad (Billy Burke), the local sheriff who's puzzled by a series of "animal attacks." On her first day at school, Bella appears to (visibly) nauseate her lab partner, Edward (Robert Pattinson). Turns out the scent of her blood is this vampire's "brand of heroin," and his struggle not to kill her causes an irresistible pull toward her. Whether he's attracted for the normal reasons or because she smells especially sweet to him is vague in the book and even less clear on-screen; nonetheless, Bella falls hopelessly in love with Edward, which sets her on a dangerous path when a few nomad vampires show up in town, one particularly keen on tracking the human. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen), Twilight is full of funny moments--not all of which are intentional--and the casting, from Stewart to Bella's self-absorbed friend Jessica (Anna Kendrick) is spot-on. The weakest link, unfortunately, is Pattinson. While he certainly looks the part, his Edward could have used an extra injection of testosterone (Pattinson, who is British, used James Dean as a model for his American accent). In scenes where he growls about the temptation to kill those who would harm Bella, or flitting around a forest warning her how dangerous he is, he comes off more like a whimpering puppy than a debonair monster. The good news is, his chemistry with Stewart (particularly in their big kissing scene) is palpable, which, let's face it, is really what matters to Twilight fans most. --Ellen A. Kim Twilight at Amazon.com Twilight books Visit our Twilight store Twilight soundtrack Stills from Twilight (Click for larger image)