It has been impossible this past year to walk into a bookstore or video store and not hear talk or see posters about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Although the first book came out in 2005, to most people over the age of 18, 2008 was the year of the Twilight craze. A decent series to read, the movie was less than stellar and prompted more than a few groans from my spouse and I, not to mention it was just plain tough to sit through. (Read the NEW MOON review)
We meet Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, as she is moving in with her father to a small Northeastern town in Washington called Forks. Bella is a typical introverted teenager with proper angst and nothing special to her name. That is until she meets Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson. Edward is a mysterious character who has many strange and “special” qualities about him. Although he tries hard to ignore Bella, his love for her wins out and she discovers that he is actually a vampire, thus their adventure between teenager and vampire begins.
The story of Bella and Edward, although cheesy, is entertaining. I’m against making vampires all cuddly or sparkly and I prefer them with pointy teeth, agile and full of puns (see Buffy the Vampire Slayer) but I have to admit (tough as it is) that I enjoyed the overall love story in the books. However, the movie leaves much to be desired and was dreadful to watch. Most of that blame can be placed on director Catherine Hardwicke.
Although most of the actors/actresses are pleasant to look at and their acting was at least average, the directing was so bad I’m sure some of these people had a hard time not bursting out laughing during their scenes. The scene where we meet Edward for the first time (where he is coming into the cafeteria) was so ridiculous I almost choked on my popcorn. And the scenes where Bella is in her bedroom sleeping while Edward is watching is a bit disturbing and a little too stalker-like for this female reviewer. From a directing standpoint, everything was a little too dramatic and over the top for a teen love story, maybe that’s why New Moon will be moving “in a different direction”.
Another cringe-worthy (there were a lot of them) aspect of the film is the dialogue. Dialogue can make or break a film and although Twilight would have still been a mediocre movie, a better screenplay may have helped in this case. I know the movie is based on the novel and it followed the first book rather well, but actually watching the actors say some of the lines was physically painful. A lot of this fell on Robert Pattinson, who delivered every line as if he was fighting to get the words out. Yes, that’s just how Edward is, but not every single word has to be full of pain and sorrow.
Overall, this film will disappoint everyone that’s not a hardcore Twilight fan. I almost feel bad for the tween girls that flock to these movies because they really do deserve better than this amateurish effort. I probably could have looked past some of the cheesy moments and sappy dialogue, but the B-movie feel of the film was too much. And someone needs to tell Stewart and Pattinson to ease up on the melodramatic delivery of every line; it got old after a while.