Supernatural / Romance
Distributed by: Summit Entertainment
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I first heard about the Twilight phenomenon while listening to the Z-Morning Zoo on the way to work. The folks on that show were just gushing about the books by Stephenie Meyer, supposedly written for young adults, yet possessing a hot and steamy romance that had the adults at Z100 drooling. Not being much into vampires, I never bothered to check out the books or subsequent movies until a friend of mine and I visited the local video store to rent some movies. Having just finished three of the Twilight novels, she suggested we rent the movie and see whether it was true to the book or not.
Twilight features Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, a seventeen-year-old who moves in with her father, the Sheriff of Forks, Washington, after her mother remarries. Feeling abandoned by her mother in preference to her new minor league baseball player husband and utterly thrown off by the culture shock of moving from hot and sunny Phoenix, Arizona to overcast and rainy Forks, Washington, Bella is unsure just how or whether she’ll want to fit into her new environment. She makes friends quickly with a couple of locals, but becomes fascinated by the seemingly aloof Cullen family, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) in particular.
Paired together as partners in biology class, the two don’t have a very auspicious start at a relationship as Edward rushes out of the class and attempts to switch sciences in an effort to get away from Bella. A week later, Edward acts as if nothing ever happened, chatting cordially with Bella throughout biology class. Put off by his strange behavior, Bella is nonetheless attracted to Edward. That strange attraction becomes more exciting after Edward uses amazing speed and strength to save Bella from an out of control vehicle.
As the two become more and more acquainted, Bella begins to realize that there is something strange about Edward Cullen - he never comes out on sunny days, never eats, never drinks, his eyes change colors, he possesses super speed and strength and can somehow read everyone’s mind but Bella’s. These traits coupled with a story about the Cullens related to her by a childhood friend (Taylor Lautner) and some quick book and internet research lead Bella to believe that the man for whom she is rapidly developing an infatuation for is actually a vampire.
While this realization doesn’t seem to rattle her, she does realize that she is walking a fine line in developing a relationship with Edward. One slip, one moment of lost control and Bella could end up a bedtime snack. As if this wasn’t enough trouble for her, a visiting group of vampires has begun to make trouble in Forks and Bella could become their very next target.
The storyline of Twilight is something that I have come across before in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series as well as a number of books and manga works (although the later actually came around after the Twilight series and may have gleaned their storylines from Stephenie Meyer). Yet, the story seems somewhat credible and Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have incredible chemistry that translates well in this movie. Although I could do without all of the intense stares, I thought the actors carried out their roles rather well.
When you consider that the budget for this film wasn’t very high, Twilight was actually rather well done. Yes, the special effects in the film could use some more work, but when you have a tight budget, you work with what you have. I’m more than certain that the second film had much more to work with thanks to the success of Twilight. I know some folks were complaining about the lack of action and special effects in the film, but I am a firm believer that sometimes, less is more. The lack of extra special effects and action allowed the viewer to pay more attention to the storyline, characters and surrounding scenery and, in my opinion, this makes for a better film.
Having never read any of the Twilight novels, I turned to my friend for an opinion as to how well the movie portrayed what was in the novels. She told me that she wasn’t sure how the novels were going to translate into film and this was what had been preventing her from renting them in the past. Now that she has seen Twilight, she is pleased that the producers tried to stay as close to the events in the novel as possible with minor changes here and there. She truly enjoyed the movie adaptation of Twilight.
As for me, I found the movie to be very entertaining although I found myself wondering how parents could be allowing their young, hormone-raging teenagers to be reading these novels and standing in line for hours just to see the movies. As far as I am concerned, these movies are a bit intense for the younger teens. For older teens, far closer to adulthood, Twilight is perfect as, despite the vampire tendencies, I am certain that the teens could relate to what the characters in the movie are going through. I can absolutely attest to adults of any age finding enjoyment in Twilight and am looking forward to seeing the next film in the series, New Moon.