A Twilight Review

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22 November 2008

Critical Review of Twilight

I have been a fan of Stephenie Meyer’s series since her 2005 debut novel, Twilight, and have been looking forward to the possibility of a movie ever since. I (along with hundreds of other fans) breathed a sigh of relief when I heard that Summit Entertainment, not MTV, would be producing Twilight.

I agree with Entertainment Weekly reviewer, Owen Gleiberman, that Summit Entertainment’s choice of director, Catherine Hardwicke, was a sagacious movie indeed. “The youth-quake specialist of Thirteen treats teen confusion without a trace of condescension: She gets their grand passions and prickly defense mechanisms,” Gleiberman stated.

I find great relief in the fact that Twilight was not the train wreck it could have been, but my expectations for the movie were too high and ultimately, I was left disappointed.

Summit stayed true to the basics of the novel due in large part to Hardwicke’s love of the series and her collaboration with author Stephenie Meyer.

The actors were well chosen. Robert Pattinson, who is best known for his role as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), is the embodiment of Meyer’s teenage vampire heartthrob, Edward Cullen. Kristen Stewart, who is best known for her role as Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room (2002), does a nice job of portraying Meyer’s Bella, the delicate, clumsy, pale skinned girl from Arizona. Among the many talents of Twilight, Billy Burke shines as Bella’s father, Police Chief Swan; Gil Birmingham “keeps it real” as Billy Black; Cam Gigandet terrifies as James; Peter Facinelli dazzles as Dr. Carlisle Cullen; and Nikki Reed smolders as Rosalie Hale.

Although Twilight brims with talent, its story line falls flat, albeit the difficulty of turning a 600 page novel into a two hour film. The film does not give the viewer any real sense of time; it seems as though the events taking place cover only the span of a week rather than months. Edward is supposed to be struggling against killing Bella and attempting to stay away from her, but the viewer does not get a real sense of this in the movie. Nor do they get the suspense and build up of the “forbidden” romance between Edward and Bella. A major problem lies in the fact that too much of the movie is consumed by James, his coven, and the battle between him and Edward.

Several fans were disappointed to see many of their favorite sequences in the book cut from the movie. The one that seems to be the most disappointing is the fact that Hardwicke failed to include the blood typing scene in Bella’s biology class.

The documentary style of the film and its excessive use of close-up and revolving camera angles and shots were an odd choice for Twilight. The only time any wide angle or panorama shots are used is during the baseball scene and during the scenery shots of the Pacific Northwest.

Another sore spot and cause of much disappointment is the CGI used to make Edward sparkle. It was absolutely horrible. It looked as though they just pixilated the image of Robert Pattinson. The CGI was only made worse by the faint “sparkly” sound effect used during the scene. However, Summit did a fair job at making the vampires, particularly the nomads, looks as though they were walking rapidly, thanks to the “magic carpet” technique they used. Hopefully the CGI will improve in New Moon Blood and Chocolate (2007). because no one wants to revisit the horrible werewolf phases of

All things considered Summit Entertainment did a good job at capturing the essence of Stephenie Meyer’s novel. The movie faltered in too many ways to mention and was anything but amazing, but many fans will simply enjoy seeing the characters they know and love brought to life on the big screen. Hopefully, Summit can redeem themselves with the next installment in the Twilight franchise, New Moon, which was given the green light November 22, after Twilight raked in $70 million dollars at the box office opening weekend in the United States alone.

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Ultimately, if you are a fan of the Twilight Series I recommend that you see the movie — if only to mock it. If you have only seen Twilight the movie, read the book! — it’s way better than the movie. You never know, maybe Twilight will be remade like the Hulk and everyone can pretend that the previous movie never happened. Sorry fanpires, I’m just telling it like it is.


Haven’t read Twilight? Check it out from your local library, or purchase it at your local bookstore, Barnes&Noble or Amazon.

Note: This Review can also be found under Reviews, and you can check out the preview for Twilight under Previews.


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