Twilight (2008)
Main cast: Kristen Stewart (Isabella "Bella" Swan), Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen), Billy Burke (Charlie Swan), Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black), Cam Gigandet (James), Rachelle Lefevre (Victoria), Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen), Nikki Reed (Rosalie Hale), Jackson Rathbone (Jasper Hale), Kellan Lutz (Emmet Cullen), and Peter Facinelli (Dr Carlisle Cullen)
Director: Catherine Hardwicke


Like the book of the same name by Stephenie Meyer that this movie is based on, Twilight is a disappointing movie because it could have been so, so good. Instead, it's a lethally boring movie that twitches into life only in its last half hour or so. If this movie wasn't so wretchedly dull, it would have been actually better than that book because Melissa Rosenberg's script downplays much of the irritating Mary Sue traits of the heroine Bella and the movie is less vapid as a result.

If you haven't heard of the story by now, this one revolves around Bella Swan, a human high school girl, and Edward Cullen, a vampire who not only can walk in daylight and possesses supernatural speed and strength, he also sparkles in sunlight. When Bella's mother and stepfather begin making preparations to relocate from their home in Phoenix to Jacksonville, Bella is sent to live with her father Charlie in the meantime. Charlie is the sheriff of the sleepy town of Fork, Washington. He is also the worst sheriff in the world because, as we shall soon see, he lets his daughter run around at night with creepy pasty-faced boyfriends with dead-eyed "I rape corpses" stares when there are people showing up dead in town.

Unlike the book which emphasizes Bella's purportedly plain looks when she is clearly anything but plain, the movie doesn't bother to hide the fact that Bella is gorgeous. Therefore, her fitting in with the rest of the students in her new school feels less artificial than it was in the book. Bella soon falls for Edward, a creepy and very pasty underweight fellow whose initial chief attractions are his inability to compose a full sentence when he is with her and his creepy dead-eyed stare. Blah blah blah, they fall into a chaste relationship full of faux passion, and here comes some evil vampires to give this movie a much-needed jolt of adrenaline.

Much of this movie comprises very, very slow scenes of Edward and Bella exchanging some of the most florid and embarrassingly mawkish conversations that feel like relentless interrogation by Edward rather than any charming attempt by a cute guy to get to know a hot chick better. The "romance" in this movie is so awkward, cold, and unrealistic, it's as if the script is written by someone who not only hasn't experienced infatuation before but also lacks the imagination to imagine what it feels like to be infatuated with another person. Hence Edward barking questions at Bella as if he's a police officer. Hence Edward's continuous dead-eyed stare that is more reminiscent of an inhuman sexual predator rather than a randy high school kid wanting to get into the cute girl's pants. For almost an hour, this movie is composed of such awkward scenes moving at an excruciatingly slow pace that I don't know whether to jeer or fall asleep.

The movie only becomes mildly interesting once Bella learns of Edward's secret and Edward begins talking and behaving somewhat more like a besotted fellow rather than the underfed date rapist from hell. Even so, the embarrassingly mawkish dialogs just won't quit. The movie meanders on and on, interspersed by maybe one or two really good scenes, until it reaches the end. As for the good scenes, well, the baseball game featuring the Cullens is a very good one, excellently done indeed and I wish I can pose as good as Alice Cullen does with a baseball in my hand. The fight scene between James and Edward is pretty good too, if only because the characters aren't speaking in that scene for a change. Also, I have to confess that the conversation leading to the kiss at the prom doesn't make me cringe that much - I think those two characters are pretty sweet there. I also appreciate seeing Edward Cullen in that scene without twenty inches of white powder caking his face.

Oh yes, speaking of pancake make-up from hell, I have to feel sorry for Robert Pattinson. I don't believe I have seen him in a movie or in photos without all that make-up and mascara making him look like an underfed drag queen. Does he have some kind of severe acne problem that warrants all that make-up? At any rate, he and Kristen Stewart could have been the best young actors in the world and they would still be at a disadvantage here because their roles are written in such a limited way that they could have easily been replaced by planks and no one would be wiser. Bella is a self-absorbed whiny bitch who takes her friends for granted and exhibits a curious lack of fear where Edward is concerned, especially when you consider that Edward has told and demonstrated to her again and again that his vampire nature is urging him to feed on her. As for Edward, there are times when I believe that Mr Pattinson is secretly laughing at some of the lines he has to say, hence the sly sardonic tone to some of his lines that make them more humorous than the script intended them to be. But for a very long time, Edward is just this creepy skinny fellow with too much make-up on his face. Mr Pattinson has a very attractive smile, I have to confess, but this movie for some reason resists all opportunity to turn Edward into an attractive lead character.

Instead, Edward is this dork when by right he should have been cool. In this movie, Edward is seriously outclassed by his fellow inbred Cullen siblings - Alice is really cool with that hairdo, Emmet is hunky in an all-American high school jock way, and Rosalie is that hot lady hated by every plain young lady in the audience who identifies with Bella. They look so much better even with all that white powder caking their face, I don't understand why the make-up people have to make Edward look so ridiculous in comparison. Heck, even the villains, like James, ooze more sex appeal than him. I also have to confess that I enjoy looking at Billy Burke's Charlie probably too much for my own good in this movie. Poor Edward is so outclassed here in the looks and sex appeal departments. The closest thing to a sexual Edward in this movie is that pained face he makes when Bella rests her head on his stomach in a "romantic" scene. Then again, he is probably thinking in that scene, "If I weren't written by a Mormon with bizarre notions about human sexuality, I'd be getting laid by now. Damn!"

And he shouldn't be outclassed to such an embarrassing extent. I mean, he has a cool car, he has a house on the mountains that is to die for, and he can do all those cool jumping-from-tree-to-tree things that would have branded him as one of the coolest vampire emo boyfriends ever. Edward Cullen will be so hot if he has an actual personality and a roguish sense of humor. Alas, in this movie, that same potential hot boyfriend speaks as if he is related to Lurch the Addams family butler.

While I understand and appreciate the "powerless girl tames dangerous boyfriend" fantasy - I won't be reading romance novels so often if I don't - the fantasy in this movie is ruined by Bella's vapid determination to trust Edward blindly. The fantasy works because the heroine knows of the danger of playing with the beast, because she loves the thrill of the danger. The fantasy doesn't work when the heroine stupidly insists that she knows the hero better than he knows himself, and that she is confident that he will never, ever hurt her. This is not romantic, this is foolishness.

Twilight is neither a good nor a bad movie, it's just a lifelessly dull and inept one that misses the point in so many ways. Young ladies may enjoy this one, but everyone else should just go rent The Lost Boys.

Rating: 55


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