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Twilight (2008)

by on 2011/01/06

I really do get the appeal of the Twilight series. Clumsy, grim-faced girl is loved unconditionally, always and forever by a tall, brooding vampire. Sure, she’s got nothing to say, never smiles and dresses like a bowling alley employee, but undead, alabaster god Edward *adores* her.

Yes, I read the books. I was a clumsy, grim-faced hold out. And I liked them. I really did.

This month we take on the ‘firsts’ in film series and franchises. I’m just going to come out and say it, this first in the Twilight film series is a really sound, entertaining movie. Ok, I said it, but I’m typing this line as though I’m ready to be pelted with small, sharp objects.

There was a big part of me that felt a bit of snarly annoyance and vampiric territoriality when I first got wind of Twilight.  Suddenly there were a lot of tittering tween interlopers in my genre. I resisted the whole mania for the longest time out the aforesaid annoyance.

But as I said on this site earlier, after reading the books and watching the movies now admire author Stephenie Meyer a great deal for what she’s accomplished. She’s built an empire on a whole lot of stuff not happening. Will Edward ever do more than watch Bella breathe? That nothing however is damned addictive.

Having read the first book prior to screening the movie, I have to admit I experienced a bit of a thrill. There Bella (Kristen Stewart) was, just like the book, paler than a china cup. There was the pickup truck Bella’s father Charlie (Billy Burke) bought her in all its dusty apple-red glory. There was bronze-eyed Edward (Robert Pattinson) with his blue, blue skin. There was the sodden green of Forks.

Twilight is very true to the book and in fact, almost made the whole thing seem almost a bit . . . eventful. Indeed Twilight The Movie had a lot of stuff happening which was rather unlike the book with its still, chest-heaving, unblinking silences.

The movie offered good atmosphere, great music, solid performances, serviceable special effects. No, it is not great film-making, but it was solid fun. And again, it was slavishly adherent to the book.

Unfortunately, I was there in the theatre for the other films in the series and well, let’s just say they suffer from dreaded second and third album syndrome. Can anyone say giant CGI wolves?

An important note: Every single film in the series have unimpeachably great soundtracks. These soundtracks are simply must-haves. Don’t even think twice, just buy them. Positively brilliant. (End of note.)

Sure, there are moments of absolute goofiness in Twilight. Vampires playing baseball, in uniforms no less. But again, that’s the book.

If you have a thing for courtly love, this is your film. Bella and Edward handle each other like live grenades.  A finger brush of a wrist or a fleeting kiss is the heaviest action these two star-crossed lovers experience. Again this is not without its fascination in this jaded, over-sexed age.

To conclude, this first of many in the Twilight series is solid. I welcome its addition to my vampire film collection with open, black-clad arms.

* * *

Rated PG / PG13 for violence and adult situations

122 minutes

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