TwilightDirected by: Catherine Hardwicke Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli Running Time: 2 hrs Rating: PG-13
I READ THIS BOOK ... if you are looking for a review that didn't ... click here for Thomas Pardee's review.
Plot: Based on the best-seller by Stephanie Meyer comes the story of Bella (Stewart), an awkward teen who moves to Forks, Washington to be with her dad. She's immediately drawn to the mysterious Edward Cullen (Pattinson) who turns out to be much more than she ever thought possible.
Who’s It For? There is a huge following from the books. It's probably the most anticipated adaptation since Harry Potter. And that's exactly who this is for, and teenage girls won't mind staring at Edward for a couple of hours either.
Expectations: I read the first book and enjoyed it. I was worried there would be non-stop swooning in the film. And I thought it was necessary to show the climax, which was not spelled out in the book.
Actors: Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan: They found the perfect muse in Stewart. She fits into the Bella character perfectly, I just wish they would have spent more time developing her. We aren't given great reasons why she loves Edward, and really that's the key to all of her motivations. She's also not given enough intelligence. Score: 6
Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen: Sigh. No, that wasn't a dreamy sigh. That was more about that fact that Pattinson clearly studied under the Hayden Christensen school of acting. Plus he has his collar popped, so he's got that going for him. Beyond that, Edward still has his moments, and I'm looking forward to him getting another crack at this character. There is something mysterious beyond those eyes (and I'm not talking about the contacts). Score: 5
Billy Burke as Charlie Swan: Put on a mustache and suddenly Burke is a great dad. Seriously, the relationship between Charlie and Bella is the highlight of the film. Not only does Charlie bring a comedic shotgun (you'll see) but the awkward connection is the most interesting chemistry on screen. Score: 7
Peter Facinelli as Dr. Carlisle Cullen: Bad casting. Plain and simple. I never bought Dr. Carlisle as the leader of the Cullen household, or anyone that exudes any charm ... and that's really the point of this character. Score: 3
Talking: Luckily, Pattinson can take lines like "I like watching you sleep" and not make them insanely uncomfortable. But otherwise, there needed to be more conversations about vampires, the Cullen family, their powers and the love that Edward and Bella share. Though all the fun high school talk was spot on. Score: 6
Sights: Oregon and Washington look great, but the landscape isn't utilized enough. And the fact that I can tell there is fake rain on occasion is sad. But the worst part is all the special effects involving the vampires look terrible. The fast running is borrowed from Jumper or an episode of "Heroes." Luckily the final battle, when some evil vampires come to town, makes up for some of this. Score: 5
Sounds: The mix of classic piano with a teenage love story is always a nice tough, but I am shocked the soundtrack is selling like hotcakes. I didn't feel the need to hear any song a second time through. Score: 4
Best Scene: The final fight between Edward and the random evil tracker. There is finally some intensity given to this film. When Bella bleeds things get interesting. God, that sentence sounds terrible, but it's true.
Ending: There's an odd, ending that is all too familiar to most horror fans. Out of nowhere, even though everything seems wrapped up, there is a clear indication that a sequel could be coming (three in fact). And it doesn't fit with the final tone of sweet, tender moment between Edward and Bella.
Questions: Some things didn't need to change from book to screen. Like the growls instead of the hissing. And there is great build up in the book with no real villains coming along until the very end.
Rewatchability: The two hours feels a little long. And since there isn't much action, or suspense, I would just be watching to stare at Edward's hair. And that's not going to happen.
It's almost like people are expected to read the book, and that's not the right way to go about an adaptation. The romance between Bella and Edward doesn't feel powerful enough. This is the first time this guy has felt love in 100 years. And it never felt like it was on those terms. Plus, the vampires aren't fully defined and they look awful. If I encounter anyone that pale in real life, I'm ramming a stake through their heart and asking questions later.
The small stuff is done right though. The father-daughter relationship is the comedic highlight of the film and the awkward high school stuff is spot on. That's because Hardwicke has done this stuff before (and better) with Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown. Kristen Stewart is the right one to play Bella and the jury is still out on Edward. It seems like there will be three more chances for them to get it right (the sequels are already being adapted). Let's hope they can sink their teeth into the next ones for the devoted fans, and so others can understand what all the fuss was about.
Final Score: 5/10