Twilight

Movie Review #853: The cast does well enough with the flawed writing and source material they’re given.

★★½
By Red Stewart

twilight

Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Rated PG-13 (contains violence, mild sexual content)
Runs 122 minutes

“Twilight” takes the high school romance genre we’re all too familiar with and adds an interesting twist; the male interest is now a vampire. Unfortunately, the film’s need to stay within the bounds of young adult prevents it from reaching the maturity level needed from such a Gothic topic.

Our virginal heroine in this story is Bella Swan, the new girl in town who becomes attracted to the mysterious Edward Cullen. Through rumors propagated by her friend Jacob Black, Bella comes to find out Edward’s dark secret, which brings them closer together despite the dangers surrounding their relationship.

I’m more than aware of the mass hate towards the “Twilight” saga, but the truth is this really isn’t a bad film. The failings don’t come from the direction or acting, but from the inherent flaws present in the source material. Author Stephenie Meyer, who also heavily consulted the movie’s script, simply doesn’t have a good understanding of adolescent nature, like teen sexuality and introverted behavior. Similar to “Deliverance”, the whole thing is written more-so as a fantasy of these feelings rather than a genuine depiction, which in turn harmfully impacts the character interactions. Take the scene, for example, where Edward tells Bella he’s never wanted a human’s blood as much as hers and that in turn makes her fall harder for him. It’s embarrassing and honestly reminded me of that dumb scene in “Goodfellas” where Lorraine Bracco gets turned on by Ray Liotta nearly bludgeoning a guy to death.

Many more of these exist that have likely ingrained themselves in pop culture, which is sad given that they overshadow “Twilight”’s good qualities. For starters, I liked the cloudy desaturated look of the settings, which helped the film live up to its mystical title. The idea of warring factions within the vampire race was also intriguing, though I already know this is ruined in the subsequent films. Alongside that, the casting was good for the most part, with supporting performances by Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, and Edi Gathegi particularly outstanding. Plus, there did seem to be a genuine connection between Stewart and Pattinson.

“Twilight” is, without a doubt, primarily meant for fans of the novel, but it’s not a bad movie in its own right as mainstream pop culture would suggest. Still, if you’re looking for a more realistic look at a supernatural relationship, the film “Let the Right One In” (and it’s American remake “Let Me In”) are better worth your time.

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