Ok I know what you’re thinking, “What’s Twilight?” Well it was a picture made back in ’98 starring Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon and Gene Hackman. I never did get around to watching that one but I figured what the hell and checked out the remake anyway. People made quite a ruckus over it so I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about. But as far as I can tell this new version is quite different as they replaced half the characters with vampires and the other half with teenagers. The plot doesn’t seem recognizable either and that’s not very faithful if you ask me. But I can appreciate the filmmakers trying a new direction.
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart (The Runaways)) is the new girl in town, meets Edward (Robert Pattinson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)) who’s a vampire and they fall in love. There’s also this other vampire guy that tries to suck Bella’s blood for a minute but other than that it’s a love story, a really boring love story.
I know this is par for the course coming from a guy but this was a pretty sappy and uninteresting movie. The general idea of a vampire falling in love with a mortal chick is a good one and goes all the way back to Bram Stoker’s joint. I even think having it take place with two teens in high school is a good move. There’s plenty of potential for a standard boy-and-girl-fall-in-love-despite-their-differences story to be told in a new and fascinating way. Unfortunately this film tries to appeal to the lowest common denominator and we get a nice piece of schlock.
First off, the characters are flat and surprisingly underdeveloped. This is a picture that’s character driven too as the plot is pretty thin. I’m trying right now to think of what to say about Bella but I’m having trouble because we learn so little about her. She’s a mopey teen that looks nervously around and has trouble getting sentences out. All of those traits get incredibly annoying after the first ten minutes. It’s like trying to have a conversation with someone that looks all around the room but they never look directly at you. I get that Bella’s depressed because her parents are divorced and she has to go live with her dad in the northwest U.S. We’ve seen this a million times. But when Bella gets to her new home everything seems pretty great. Her dad is a really nice guy that’s trying hard to be there for her but also gives her plenty of space, she gets reacquainted with an old childhood friend and her father’s old friend, she’s given a new truck that she loves and to top it all off her first day at school has got to be one of the best first days ever in the history of high school. I mean she instantly falls in with a group of friends that don’t seem like assholes, at least one boy has the hots for her and she gets a glimpse of the love of her life. So I don’t see what there is to be that upset about. I’m sure it’s difficult on a teen to move from one part of the country to another but she’s welcomed with open arms. And it’s this lack of development that makes this character so boring and somewhat unappealing. She doesn’t seem to go through a change. I can’t tell the difference between Bella depressed and Bella in love. In the whole film I think she smiles twice. 99% of the time she has this surprised yet confused look on her face. It didn’t seem like Bella learned anything or changed at all from the person she was at the beginning of the movie.
|Doesn't this house look like it's straight out|
out of a 90's sexy thriller?
The problem I have with Edward is the same I have with Bella, I don’t know who the fuck this guy is. They tell us how he became a vampire but it’s extremely brief. He was dying of the Spanish Flu back in 1918 when he was turned but they never tell us (at least in the movie, haven’t read the book) why he was chosen. We’re also never really told what Edward’s been doing in the meantime. Apparently he’s been moving around the U.S. going from high school to high school but is that really it? I find it hard to believe that Edward and his clan haven’t been doing dick in the last ninety years. And why does he have to keep going to high school over and over anyway? Maybe he got bored just hanging out for decades but they never go into it. Where does the money come from for his clan to live in their fancy 90’s looking house and buy clothes and furniture ‘n shit? There’s so much background left out.
Secondly, the dialogue and acting is really bad. It would be less offensive if one or the other was given any effort but to have both be so lazy makes the two stand out a great deal. I don’t think I recommend this but you could probably watch it on mute and follow things just fine. Since so little happens and so much background development isn’t bothered with I don’t see it being a problem.
Third, as far as vampire lore goes I’m gonna have to call foul on this one. These undead motherfuckers are walking around in the daylight. Oh, I mean only when it’s cloudy. Oh wait, I mean sunlight doesn’t actually hurt them because Edward stands directly in it to show Bella what he really looks like. As it turns out he looks exactly the same except he sparkles like someone squirted glue all over his body and face and then dumped a bucket of glitter on him. So, not scary in the least. I really don’t buy that vampires don’t go out in the daytime because they twinkle. They’re supposed to fucking burn up and die, possibly in a gruesome fiery explosion. Actually I meant to write “preferably in a gruesome fiery explosion”. I can accept that they have telepathic powers, they like to use bad CGI effects to show that they can run fast and jump great distances (even though it makes the production look incredibly cheap) and even that they all like to play baseball, but only when there’s a thunderstorm without rain so that no one will be suspicious of them hitting a ball a thousand feet and running after it real quick, wait but they play in the middle of fucking nowhere so who the hell is gonna hear or see them anyway? You know what? I can even accept that there are good vampires that have a philosophy on life that prevents them from being all out monsters and bad vampires that want to murder and eat humans because it’s their nature. But the whole glittery sunlight thing I can’t get behind.
|This picture sums up the entire movie|
I was trying to think about the movies that this is a rip off of and the best I could come up with was Grease. But that theory kinda fell apart once I realized that one had vampires and the other didn’t. I guess the twist they gave this story is unique. It’s too bad the filmmakers (and I guess author) didn’t do nearly enough with it.
For a vampire film I was expecting it to be fairly creepy and dark but neither of those are accurate descriptions. This thing is rated PG-13 but it definitely doesn’t feel like it. It seems more like a PG movie to me. I mean Buffy the Vampire Slayer is supposed to be funny and it was scarier than this. Twilight is a serious movie and I’ll give it credit for sticking with a straight face. But it’s just so unexciting. I liked Catherine Hardwicke’s work on Lords of Dogtown too so I didn’t think this was going to be as bad as it was. For the first half it’s all awkward encounters and mopey, jittery sentence un-finishing from Bella and company. Then when she finally learns that Edward’s a vampire the two of them just lie in the grass and stare at each other. You know, I think one of the biggest problems with this piece is that we know that Edward is a vampire from the get-go. If that wasn’t revealed until much later in the movie then there might be some small payoff. But as it is, the whole thing amounts to a very bland experience.
By the way did anyone else notice the line that Edward says to Bella, “you’re like my own personal brand of heroin”? It’s completely out of place in this movie but it’s also a pretty badass way to describe sucking blood.