If you have fallen into a hole or lost you TV or failed to visit a bookstore of any kind in the last few months, then you might not know about this movie. The teenage love-angst / vampire picture “Twilight” is pop culture at its finest…or should I say worst? The film is based off the hit book series by author Stephenie Meyer. No, I haven’t read the book series. Apparently, it was written for the teenage crowd and has zillions of devoted fans. I’m sure that Mrs. Meyer is a talented author, but I simply don’t read as much as I used to and though vampires are my favorite “monster”, this series doesn’t strike my fancy.
Okay, so I finally got around to watching this movie. I’ve heard from other folk that the film was …well, nearly anything. The reviews are widely varied, from “it’s okay” to “it was actually better than I expected it to be”. Here I am writing my two cents worth and this is what I have to say: there’s definitely some “meat” to the tale but there is also a rather heavy dose of the campiness. I love vampires and am always trying to check out rather inventive ways to approach them. If you want a rather incredible perspective, I highly recommend Anne Rice’s Vampire novels, but read only Interview with a Vampire through Tale of the Body Thief (beyond that things get stupid). Whether or not this was intentional, there is a strong comparison to be made between these two takes on Vampires. Meyer’s vampires all have unique abilities (the why of which is never explained in the movie), as do Rice’s vampires (though this was explained as having to do with the age of the creature).
I found a lot of this film’s enjoyable moments to be based on Kristen Stewart, the actress that plays the lead role of Bella. She’s quite talented and I think she fit her role rather nicely. She’s young enough to look the part and carried herself with a sort of ambivalent attitude towards most things. I suppose this was done to explain her as more of the “outcast” persona – and thusly more identifiable with vampires. Why is it that people who are deemed “weird” or “unusual” are always into the “dark” stuff like vampires? You know what I mean? It would have been more refreshing if Bella had been a tomboy character that was heavily into sports. Instead, Bella is the quiet, bookish transfer student that is clumsy and not at all into the popular scene. I find it to be very stereotypical. Still, Stewart does a fine job of acting the part.
The same cannot be said for the male vampire, Edward Cullen, played regrettably by Robert Pattinson. I look at this poor chap and think “would someone PLEASE comb his hair?”. Honestly folks, I don’t care about what is the “in” look or not. It just looks silly – no, scratch that – it looks stupid. The only other film I remember Pattinson in was “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, which I rather enjoyed him in. This character was lame from the start, but the guy can’t act all that well – or at least not effectively. I’ll give you an example: he tries to be scary and speak rather loudly but screeches lines like “As if you could stand up to me” and all I could think of was “Bella could totally kick your ass”. He wasn’t frightening at all. I was thinking that Kristen Stewart must have been trying not to laugh at him while saying these God-awful lines!
All the vampires look like a bad makeup job. They all might as well have had on white face paint and wore red contact lenses. That’s the extent of the makeup. I understand they are supposedly just regular old high school students so they are supposed to “blend in”. Sure. Did you ever see a chalky white (and I mean WHITE) dude in school and think he fit right in? This could have been handled better, but the characterization of the vampires makes them so outlandish and unusual that they would NEVER be associated with a normal high school student in a million years. But wait! There’s something even more idiotic! These vampires glow in sunlight like they ran naked through a shimmering lip gloss manufacturing plant! Sweet mother of mercy! Talk about dumb!?!
The plot turns from interesting at the start to a love affair that never seems to be consummated to “would you please just kill someone?” By the end, I was bored and disappointed. The vampires are cliché to say the least. The performances of Stewart and Billy Burke (who plays Bella’s father) are the only things memorable of this movie. The ending is clearly more of a “we ran out of time” kind of thing than a well-constructed ending. I am sure that the book handles this much better, but the film sure didn’t. It is obvious to anyone that watches this film that a sequel is due, maybe even several. I have always believed that films with a sequel (especially the 1st one, if it is a trilogy) shouldn’t come off so blatantly obvious.
Bottom line: “Twilight” is a waste of time to anyone that likes vampire flicks, but probably really appealing to a 13-year old girl. To any serious movie fans, this film is sub-par on MANY levels. This one can easily be missed.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE