Title: Twilight Review
Posted: November 30, 2008 (12:26 PM)
It's often bothered me that, were society to end today, when survivors dug up the remains of our culture, they would be more likely to find copies of Twilight than of Shakespeare.
I for one, do not want future generations to judge my existence based off of a crappy vampire series that has somehow gained the endearment of the plushy middle-school heart of America. To be fair, I haven't read the books, and if the characters and writing are half as stale as they were in the film version, I never will.
I went to see Twilight with my compatriot Joe, who has a knack for expressing his disgust for a film in a clear succinct manner. He's also impatient, and rather than express his opinions after the film, he usually gives them during the film. In Twilight this meant a near constant stream of dialogue. Without this barrage, I never would've made it.
"He's a vampire," Joe said when Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) showed up with a ridiculous amount of white make up and hair that would make Cloud Strife gawk. On the other hand, goth chick Isabella (Kristen Stewart) can't seem to make the connection.
Not even when Edward leaps in front of an out of control vehicle and crushes it with a fist to save her does she clue in. She knows something is strange about a man who can leap twenty feet in the blink of an eye, but she can't figure out what. "He's a vampire!" Joe said with some irritation.
This awkward relationship culminates in a forest meeting, where Isabella, in true melodramatic fashion, holds back tears and fears as she recites the list of things she's uncovered:
"Your skin is cold... your eyes glow... you run fast... you have fangs..."
"YEAH," Joe cried in awed disbelief at the girl's stupidity. "Because he's a vampire!"
As an audience member you want Twilight to skip the long messy introduction and get to the point. We know it's a film about vampires. Show us what you got.
Unfortunately, the film doesn't 'got' much. Twilight is a gathering of cliches and character types, interacting under the burdens of poor makeup, uninteresting cinematography, and downright bad special effects. The acting is decent, but the stoic script counters all attempts to make it emotionally satisfying. The story, about a girl who falls in love with a vampire, doesn't go anywhere. There is no growth or change in the characters, and the script seems wary of dealing them too much pain. When it does finally deign to hurt its players, it does so with an appalling heavy handedness... followed by kisses and hugs and the promise that everything will be alright after all.
The good moments in Twilight come when the writer acknowledges and has fun with the stodgy character types. For instance, a scene in which Isabella meets Edward's vampire family and they struggle to cook her supper, turns out hilarious, especially when more and more gothic vampires show up and can't seem to conquer their quirks. The best scene is one in which all the vampires gather to play baseball. The use of their powers in something as trivial and normal as a ball game is a brilliant blending of supernatural with the everyday.
On the other hand, I've just told you that the best scene in a vampire film is when they are playing baseball. Stay away from this film. If your middle-school daughter forces you to go, at least bring a stake. You'll need it to gouge out your own heart about half way through.
Posted: November 30, 2008 (05:28 PM)
Your critique certainly explains your perspective, and this movie sounds like one that I would want to avoid... but I also think that Twilight is probably a VERY good film at what it does and was always intended to do. I'm just not sure why people go see movies that they know beforehand won't appeal to them, then write detailed critiques with excellent analysis from a perspective that was irrelevant to the film's existence. Why go through that torture? If I went and watched Sex and the City and then reviewed it based on a lack of explosions or suspense, that would be an honest critique (I would assume) but not particularly fair to the film.
It's important to remember that while teen girls certainly deserve good filmmaking in the broad sense that we might use to define such, sometimes they really don't want it... Since good filmmaking is about connecting with its audience more than anything else, that makes something like Twilight a better movie in many respects than some of those cinematic masterpieces that many would rank among the best of all time.
Posted: November 30, 2008 (06:17 PM)
The truth is, though, it's NOT a well made film. The special effects are cheesy beyond belief, the director of photography should be shot, and even the 13 year old girls around me in the theatre groaned every time they did a close up of the mountain of makeup on the vampires.
Of course, your sentiment is correct, though. It bleeds over into many video game reviews, as well. IGN is particularly infamous for reviewing something like a shooter and complaining it doesn't have enough emotional characters.