After I saw the film several weeks ago, I started planning this huge, mildly coherent review of Twilight. I just read my review a few second ago and found it too wordy, which really shouldn't be a surprise from anything I ever type or put on paper. So I deleted it and started from scratch.
There wasn't much to say, really...
Girl moves in with her estranged father in cloudy Forks, Wa. Becomes fairly popular in school, despite the fact that she's totally awkward and don't really mesh with the other kids. Meets a gorgeous guy who may or may not hate her. Finds out his secret--gasp--he's a vampire! Hot vampire really, really wants to suck the girl's blood but tries to control himself. (How sweet.) Instead, this other vampire really, really, really wants to suck the girl's blood but only difference is that he doesn't bother to control himself. Hot vampire and family tries to save girl and they either fails miserably or succeeds. (Take your pick.)
The film has an extremely thin plot, as many may have noticed. The heart of the film lies in the relationship between the girl, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and the vampire, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). The relationship itself has a certain intrigue about it, but the execution feels empty and lacking. The romance does have its share of touching moments, but not enough for me to care. Frankly, the individual characters are just not interesting enough.
Bella is somewhat interesting when she transforms into a minor sleth for several scenes until she falls into the unfortunate depths of the typical damsel in distress. Even Stewart, who does have moments of acting greatness--especially in those scenes with Billy Burke, who plays Bella's father--becomes enraptured in the cheesy dialogue and unnecessary montages. But I don't blame Stewart. Bella needs more backbone if she insists on being the protagonist of the series. It would be fine if Bella were another Mary Jane Watson or Lois Lane, but this film isn't about a superhero. This is Bella's story. Is it too much to ask for Bella to carry her own story? I do not have a single friend who likes Bella as a character. It's all about Edward...
To my frustration, Edward, the greatest love of almost every single female fan of the popular series, comes through as rather flat and boring. Sure, he seems like a pretty nice guy with a fine set of morals, but he makes me wonder: If you're over a century years old, but physically resemble a seveteen years old, do you also have to mentally resemble a seventeen year old? But Pattinson, although not alluring or charming enough to be the kind of fascinating specimen that every teenage girl would fall for, should be given some credit for delivering some ridiculous lines of dialogue without bursting into laughter.
And the whole one-hundred-plus-years-old-guy-with-seventeen-year-old-girl part still kind of disturbs me. I can't get over it, romantic fantasy or not. I mean, if you've been around for at least one hundred years, would you be attracted to a teenage girl--even if you did physicaly resemble a seventeen year old? Or, going back to my previous question, is aging--both physically and mentally--completely ceased the second you're turned into a vampire?
So many questions...
On the bright side, there is a lovely supporting cast. Burke, whom I mentioned earlier, does a quietly effective job as Bella's father. Peter Facinelli, who plays the patriarch of the Cullen clan, also does a great job with his role, despite the fact his face looks submersed in an amazingly thick layer of make-up. Taylor Lautner is also a welcome presence in the film, playing Bella's friend, Jacob. Lautner actually makes me glad that we'll see more of Jacob in the sequels (as my friends tell me).
I understand that director Catherine Hardwicke made Thirteen (which I promise I'll watch before the year ends) with a $2 million dollar budget. That doesn't mean that Twilight has to look like it was made on a low budget too; Twilight had a modest budget of about $37 million. So, where did it all go? The "special effects" (if you can them that) are laughable. There are scenes where Edward carries Bella while flying through the air (or jumping around with super high speed) and the "flying" just looks like bad animation. There is also a scene where Edward reveals why he can't go into the sun (he, um, sparkles) and the shimmering glitter on his face left everyone in my row in hysterics.
Honestly, Twilight just looks ugly and cheap most of the time. Fantasies should have an epic feel--and I'm sure there were plenty of people out there who would've loved to finance a phenomenon. The understated atmosphere of Twilight makes the film more bland than ever.
I may have a bit of a bias towards vampires or dark romances since I've never cared for them. I've never cared for danger or anything that would potentially kill me. The existence of Twilight doesn't help the genres much either. The film is ultimately a disappointment, although I wasn't expecting anything, since I am one of the few teenage girls left on this planet who hasn't finished reading the book. But if the film has any grand, redeemable quality at all, it is simply this: It's not boring.