Here is a Twilight review to keep you entertained.
By Bruce Bulloch
February 20, 2009
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
(Three and one half stars)
Before there was coffee or Microsoft, before there were grunge bands or Swedes there was the rain.
The rain in Washington is more than weather, it is the stuff of myth. It affects our mood, shapes our collective personality and defines the very place we call home. It is surprising therefore that so few films set in the Pacific Northwest give it much of a role to play.
“Twilight,” Catherine Hardwicke’s breathy film about a girl and the vampire who loves her, bucks this trend. The logging town of Forks, Washington is bundled in a cocoon of scudding clouds and obscured horizons. Hardwicke uses this muted landscape to pull everything in close, painting a world that is both intimate and ethereal—the perfect place for a young vampire to fall in love.
Bella (Kristen Stewart) is the new kid at the local high school. While she works her way through the awkward ritual of fitting into a new community, she gets teamed up in science class with a stunningly handsome boy named Edward (Robert Pattinson). But Edward is hardly the friendly type; in fact, he seems bent on avoiding her. Bella pushes back on Edward, at first just to save her pride.
Soon the two become drawn to each other, but their attraction is held at bay by Edward’s secret. Even though he’s a “vegetarian” vampire—that is, he only kills animals for food—its hard to date a girl when you’re not sure you’d rather kiss her or drink her blood. “Twilight” has to navigate its way through a series of contrivances and silliness lurks just beneath the surface. But Hardwicke seems to know that if the film is going to work, it’s going to have to find an emotional rhythm that pushes logic to the side.
“Twilight” is a film by a woman that is unabashedly aimed at girls. While it has many of the clichés typical of teen dramas, it also has a surprisingly elegant romantic sensibility. The weather helps, of course, creating lyrical vision of the story that seduces you into accepting its internal logic.
And the actors help as well. “Twilight” owes at least part of its success to the fact that Kristen Stewart was born to play Bella. Stewart is a complex actress. She is part child, part woman; feminine yet awkward and willful when the occasion calls for it. She can play both the teenager and the heroine, helping the film navigate between the high school cafeteria and the supernatural forces that lurk just outside its door.
Pattinson’s Edward seems, at first blush, to be another “The O.C.” clone. But he has a touch of Joaquin Pheonix in him, a brooding honesty that brings some credibility to his love for Bella. Between the two of them they generate a fair amount of heat and the rough edges of the movie just don’t seem to matter that much.
This is a good thing, too, because the script is a little uneven. The dialogue where Edward confesses his secret to Bella would be laughable if it weren’t Stewart and Pattinson who were delivering it.
The film has a strong sexual energy to it remarkable in a story that has an equally strong vein of abstinence at its core. Edward can’t give into to his desire for Bella for fear of what other urges might be unleashed.
As for Bella, she flirts with her utter vulnerability in Edward’s arms. “Twilight” takes a girl’s point of view on the tension between sex and romance. Abstinence has rarely been so dangerous or sexy.
Bella and Edward have more than Edward’s carnivorous impulses to worry about. Another group of vampires moves into the neighborhood and one of them, James (Cam Gigandet), takes a disliking to Edward. He decides it would be cruel sport to kill Edward’s girlfriend.
With the young lovers on the run, “Twilight” has a lot going on at once. But Hardwicke holds the tension with an effortless grace. This is a film that knows its strengths and is smart enough to play to them.
“The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good,” Stephen King told an interviewer from USA Weekend.
Stephenie Meyer dreamed up Edward Cullen, a vegetarian vampire who sports a beige jacket and poloneck, while Stephen King gave us Kurt Barlow, the ancient master vampire who wreaks havoc on the town of ‘Salem’s Lot’. The two bestselling authors were never going to see eye to eye over their portrayal of bloodsuckers, but this week King went so far as to rubbish Meyer’s writing abilities in an interview. King compared the Mormon author to JK Rowling, saying that both authors were “speaking directly to young people.”
“The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good,” he told an interviewer from USA Weekend. King also drew a comparison between Meyer and Perry Mason mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner. “He was a terrible writer, too, but he was very successful,” he said, going on to criticise prolific thriller author James Patterson — “a terrible writer but he’s very successful” — and fellow horror author Dean Koontz, who although he “can write like hell,” is sometimes “just awful.”
Meyer’s quartet of books — Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn — trace the love story between ordinary girl Bella and vampire Edward, throwing in a pack of werewolves, a coven of vampire royalty and a vampire baby for good measure. They have sold millions of copies worldwide, with sales receiving a huge boost from the film of the first book, Twilight, which was released late last year.
King went on to say that it was “very clear” Meyer was “opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books.” He told USA Weekend: “It’s exciting and it’s thrilling and it’s not particularly threatening because they’re not overtly sexual. A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that’s a shorthand for all the feelings that they’re not ready to deal with yet.”
Meyer’s fans have rushed to her defence. “Steven (sic) King doesn’t know what a real book was if it hit him in the face. He’s just a bloody guy who is jealous of Edward’s good looks,” wrote poster Kiki Alice Cullen. “King is no Gabriel Garcia Marquez so I don’t understand why he gets to say who is a good writer and who is not,” agreed another, while a third, who wished she could “just hit this guy,” suggested that “we twilighters should send him tons of hate mail…just to show him how many Twilight fans he just pissed off.”
It falls, officially, under the banner of “romance/fantasy/thriller.”
Teen lit with an edge, you might say.
And it is probably just what 35-year-old Stephenie Meyer set out to write when she invented her brooding blood-sucking vampire, Edward Cullen, his beloved mortal heartthrob Bella Swan and the tender tension between them for her blockbuster Twilight series, a set of four books which have now sold more than 40 million copies, have been translated into 40 languages and, last year, hit the big screen as a movie starring the freakily gorgeous Robert Pattinson and the comely Kristen Stewart.
The writing, literary critics will tell you, is hardly the stuff of Pulitzer worthiness — here’s a sample, if you haven’t had the pleasure:
“He grinned his crooked smile at me, stopping my breath and my heart. I couldn’t imagine how any angel could be more glorious. There was nothing about him that could be improved upon.”
Nevertheless, it is, as they say, a teen sensation.
Fans dress up like the characters and mob Meyer at book signings. The movie pulled in $40 million on its opening day, with fans lined up hours in advance.
In Vancouver recently, casting agents for the Twilight movie sequel, New Moon, set to be released for the 2009 Christmas movie season, were besieged by more than 300 young native Indian actors trying out for a specific role in the movie, some turning up for the auditions from as far away as Florida.
Meyer, the mother of three sons, says the idea came to her in a dream, in which a vampire was in love with a human girl but still wanted to, you know, suck her blood.
Herbie the Love Bug it ain’t.
It’s more dark sultry sexy vampire boy worshipping heaving-chested virginal girl, who is then literally hunted by his vampire family and bit badly on her wrist, and is then rescued by her vampire beau and whisked off to the prom for a night of dancing and unrequited sexual tension. Cue sequel.
So who’s reading, and watching, all this nonsense? Well, young adults — Twilight is said to be second only in popularity to the Harry Potter series — which means kids, preteens and teens mostly.
Which brings us to this email sent to me recently from a local parent of one of those Twilight fans:
I have been bothered by something . . . and wondered if you have thought about it as well. I know that you have heard of the Twilight series for young adults. My now 19-year-old daughter read all four books when she was 17 and 18, and loved them (actually, she loved the first, and enjoyed them less as the series went on, saying the writing was pretty poor, and the same things happened over and over).
My Grade 6 daughter (who just turned 12) is telling me that most of her friends (11 and 12) are reading the books, and becoming “obsessed” (her word). My older girl (smart, studying engineering at Queens, and NOT a prude) said that these books are definitely NOT for Katherine’s age, but good for older girls.
I have read number one and parts of the others, and agree, for many reasons. My issue is with parents who are actually encouraging the reading (ie. “My 10-year-old must be so smart and mature to be reading such advanced books!”).
There are other series being read by young, like The Gossip Girl series, for example. It’s just soft porn (and superficial, mean, and poorly written), in my mind, and I can’t help but wonder: Have any of these mothers ever read one of these books?
And would they feel any differently if they did?
I haven’t read the books, but hope to hear from some of you who have.
Heres a review…
If you believe that the “Star Trek” or “Lord of the Rings” movies are the Stevens essential cinema, then technically speaking “Twilight” is the exact opposite of that. It’s based off of the first novel in the “Twilight” series written by Stephenie Meyer, and is aimed more for the female young-adult crowd. In addition, it has a romantic plot, and even more so it has mysterious yet somehow stylishly good looking vampires in it. Oh, and it doesn’t have swords or naked chicks in it. Besides that, the vampire is a natural predator of the zombie, and no self-respecting Stevens student would choose vampires over zombies.
Despite this, I know many people who continually tell me to read the books, including my own cousin. As such, my curiosity piqued when I realized I needed to review the movie. After all, what better excuse to watch it than to say you’re required to? The movie started out deceivingly good, with Kristen Stewart playing Bella Swan, a seventeen year-old girl who moves to live with her father in Forks, Washington. The town has only 3,000 residents, and lies between the towns of “Nowhere” and “East Jabib.” Besides an apparent lack of a sense of humor, Stewart succeeds in portraying Meyer’s vision of “a completely average teen” quite well. She isn’t whiny, surprised as I was, and watching her make the transition from a completely different state is interesting to watch, as it makes her character someone you can relate to.
This goes out the door, however, when Edward “Fancy-pants” Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his four charming siblings enter the scene. Bella suddenly shifts her focus from, well, everything else and begins to obsess over the Cullens. Never mind the number of boys with an actual pulse wanting to take her to the prom. Bella is completely absorbed by the fact that something seems so strange and mysterious about the Cullens (spoiler alert: they’re vampires). Besides this, I also found a problem with the fact that Edward’s character is somewhat of a prick. Not only does he act like a jerk, but he can read minds too. And because of the things humans normally think about, he doesn’t think too highly of them either. Women call it being sophisticated, but where I come from (South Jersey), they call it being a pretentious bastard.
Heres another Twilight review for you to enjoy
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word twilight? Odds are you don’t think of dusk or dawn, like you did a couple of years ago. When you hear that word, it probably conjures up thoughts of vampires, obsessed middle school girls and “I love Edward” flair on Facebook. Those were the same thoughts that came to my mind. At first, I didn’t understand the appeal of this Harry Potter-esque book.
When Harry Potter first came out, I tried to get into it – I really did. I read the first book, but I kept falling asleep. I couldn’t get more than halfway through it. I decided then that just because everyone was getting into it, that didn’t mean it would necessarily be great or captivating for me. I’ve watched all of the Harry Potter movies and enjoyed them a lot, but I never really caught the pandemic.
The same thing happened to me when the Twilight outbreak happened; I saw tons of Facebook flair that said things about Edward and Bella. It didn’t really make me want to read the book; I mean, how could a book really be good when the flair is so lame? It did pique my interest, though, so I looked at Stephanie Meyer’s book Web site and found it to be very interesting.
But I still wasn’t really interested in reading her work.
Then my sister asked for the last three books in the Twilight series for her birthday, just when the fourth one came out. I got them for her, and she was done reading them within three weeks. I thought it was strange – who had enough time to read all of those books in that short of a time period? The last book alone is 754 pages long.
This got me interested. If my sister could like this book, maybe I would too. So I picked up the first book and began reading it. I only got through the first three or four chapters; it wasn’t really catching my interest, so I didn’t really read it anymore. Almost six months passed and I never really thought much about the books anymore. Then I was staying at my friends house and they were talking about the Twilight series. It struck me as odd that these people that I knew really liked this series, and they weren’t in middle school. I realized that there might be something to this whole Twilight craze. Maybe it deserved to be given another chance.
I picked up where I had left off in the first book and found that I couldn’t put it down. I finished the first book within a week and a half and then immediately began reading the second. That was a month and a half ago, and I’m already well into the fourth book. This really is an addiction; I don’t even know how it happened.
The book has a slow start, which kind of put me off; I think that’s why I got bored with the first one so quickly. But once Meyer got past the introductions and the set-up and started building up the characters, I got really into it. It’s a great series of books that keeps you wanting more. There is never a good place to stop, not even at 4 a.m. when you are dead tired and need sleep because you have to work in five hours. There is always something going on or something about to happen – there’s always a reason to keep reading.
I’m truly a Twilight addict; the great thing about it, though, is that I’m not alone. I was reading New Moon as I was waiting on my friend to meet me for lunch. When she got there, her first words were, “What are you reading? You are such a nerd.”
Then she flipped the cover over and saw that it was part of the Twilight series and quickly apologized and said that she completely understood.
It’s like being an addict with a built-in support group – everyone who is addicted knows exactly what you are going through. They will listen when you need to complain about Edward or Jacob, and they won’t tell you what happens next if they are ahead of you.
I never thought I would get so caught up in this series, but it’s different when you are on the inside looking out. When you are as caught up in the book as everyone else, you can actually understand what the craze is about. It’s not just some book – it’s a great work that is captivating with multidimensional characters. I am by no means wearing a team vampire shirt and wishing my boyfriend were Edward, but it is a great series, and it’s not just for obsessed middle school girls.
Heres another review for your amusement (:
Three things to sum it up plus “mini” elaborations in between:
1. Awkward pacing – A linear story that was made complex with its jumbled scenes and choppy lines. Most of the scenes felt so out of place that it seemed like they were just plucked out from the book and was just forced to be put together. The film was so forcibly compressed into 2 hours (which felt like it ran for more than 2 hrs) that there were so many scenes bluntly chopped off from the whole storyline. The seques from one scene to the other was so off that some of them didn’t even make sense. Even the dialogues appeared inept. Parang lahat minadali, that not even the characters had time to build up on their own temperament. I was so anticipating to see a lot of scenes be brought to life (i.e. Meeting the Cullens, The La Push Reservation outing, the meadow scene, hotel scene of Bella, Alice and Jasper), but I guess they all decided to devote more screentime on the googley eyes of Bella and Edward. Not too mention the way the flashbacks were incorporated, they all seemed so out of place.
2. Blair Witch Project meets Can’t Hardly Wait sidelined by Not Another Teen Movie – it was a low budget film made to actually look like one. The make up looked so strange and fake that they all looked pasty. The opportunity to put in some really good special effects for some of the scenes all went to waste. The vampires were described to be beautiful and flawless both in their physical looks and movements, but they all looked like puppets being moved by strings. Well in effect they were since they were mostly using harnesses. And oh my god, couldn’t they have skipped out on the “pabida” effect, wherein the protagonist goes into a room, pauses in front of some wind-blowing contraption and takes look around. Everything was just odd.
3. Characters vs the actors – Kristen as Bella sounded like she was bored out of her wits…all the time. RPattz as Edward, though a hot vampire, looked like he was constipated most of the time. Peter as Carlisle looked like he was dead instead of the undead. Because the pacing was just too rushed, there wasn’t even enough time to develop on at least the Cullens, Bella and Edward and Bella and Charlie. Even the way they were portrayed in the film was just contrary as to how Meyer described each of their character in the book. Hell, with the popularity of the book series, they had all the time to develop on each character, so why not start from the beginning right? What a waste also not to at least establish the menacing character of James and the quirky but talented Alice.
Maybe it’s because I read the book before I saw the film that I inevitable nitpicked through the whole movie, finding faults in it. But I felt disheartened and shortchanged by the film. There were so many ideas and storylines in the book that the film could have focused on. Maybe the screenwriter was trying to apply a more modern perspective on the story by incorporating contemporary puns and funny quips, but instead of giving it a comical feel came out corny and forced.
Despite the fact that Twilight the Movie didn’t sit well with me, I did find some “redeeming factors” in the film. There was at least a show of special effects in the baseball scene, which I am totally raving about J I love how the scoring of Supermassive Black Hole complemented every bit in that scene. The prom scene was so pretty! Billy Burke as Charlie Swan was spot. And next to Edward, Jasper is the hottest vampire out there. And I really think that this movie has a kick ass OST.
New Moon is set for filming, if I’m not mistaken and I really really hope that this would fare out much, much better. IMHO, the bulk of the book series is grounded on the storyline of New Moon, so maybe they can opt to at least spend for it. Sayang if the budget constraints will be the only thing pulling them back from making this into a good film. Harry Potter started out with unfamiliar British actors, but it worked, so why not this series?
I do plan to watch Twilight the second time around, just to ogle at the eyecandy. And maybe I could feel some sense of appreciation for the film after watching it again J