Twilight (2008)

Kristen Stewart maintained that exact facial expression for the entire movie.

It’s not often that I’m tempted to surf the Internet as a movie plays in the background. That was the case of teen romantic flick Twilight, based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer. I need to digress for a brief second to mention Precious. I went into Precious knowing full well I was going to hate it, but came out not hating it quite as much as I thought I would. On the other hand, I see Twilight and actually hated it every bit as much as I thought I would, if not more.

A few years ago, I did attempt to read the book and only managed to get past the second chapter. It is the story of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), the new girl in Forks, WA and how she meets the vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).

This is the latest of several book-to-movie adaptations I have seen in recent memory. My question is where did Twilight all go wrong?

Well, since I did attempt to read the book, I can say the source material is the first problem. Bella was very cleverly constructed so any teen girl could take Bella’s identity on as her own. Stephanie Meyer gave nothing but the vaguest descriptions of her lead character and narrated the story from Bella’s point of view. And from what I have read, it was just various guys vying for Bella’s attention (such as Eric, whom she described as belonging in the chess club) while she was too busy admiring Edward’s beauty.

So there ultimately was this plot about vampires and how tasty (as in to eat) Bella smelled to some of them and how Edward rescued her from them. I put the book down because Bella was being so mean to “chess club” Eric, but that is a story which belongs in a different post all to itself. Still, as Frankenstein proved, bad books don’t always make bad movies, so what else happened?

The entire production reeked of being a Disney Channel original with a higher budget. I mentioned the bad story. Well, it seemed like that even Kristen Stewart was bored reading the script as she almost literally sleepwalked her entire performance. I think Billy Burke (Bella’s father Charlie) crossed a certain threshold and actually sleepwalked his performance. I’ll give credit where credit is due, and say Robert Pattinson did a good job of sqashing his native English accent into an American one, but that’s about all I can say about his acting.

The RPat was more or less a walking glob of CGI in Twilight. I don’t know how his immaculate complexion looked on a movie screen, but he looked like a lump of shiny clay on my TV, and that is when he is out of the sunlight, which is when he resembled a human disco ball. As far as his flying and super strength: How would people feel if I said that I thought the 1978 Superman movie had far more convincing special effects for both? Add in some loving shots of suspiciously two-dimensional looking trees around Forks, and you have a eyesore.

Catherine Hardwicke basically showed me some of the worst directorial style I have seen in recent memory. Twilight was just one, badly-edited mess with the camera jumping around all over the place in an attempt to be cool.

I guess it’s safe to say Twilight knew what its audience was, and that is to say not-terribly-intelligent tween girls (or in some cases, middle-aged women with somewhat unsatisfying sexual lives) of 2008. That was evident in the score of trendy pop music, which honestly had no business being anywhere outside of a made-for-TV production, but the most offensive scene was when Bella and two girls were selecting prom dresses. The sole purpose of that part was to show prom dresses. Other than that, you have unintentional comedy coming from Edward, such as when tells Bella that he likes watching her sleep.

All I can really say is that “chess club” Eric (played by an Asian actor, because clearly stereotypes need enforcing) is my hero.

Score: 1/4