Based off the first in a series of four bestselling novels by Author Stephenie Meyer, “Twilight” is Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and tells the tale of a young girl who moves to a small town in Washington state, and quickly falls in love with a mysterious and dreamy vampire.
Bella (Kristen Stewart) reluctantly moves back to the small town of Forks, a town she hasn’t lived in or been to much since leaving at a young age when her parents divorced, and her mother (Sarah Clarke) took her with her to Phoenix. Now that mom is remarried and wants to travel with her new husband, Bella makes things easier by moving in with her Dad in the small, gloomy town where sunlight is rare. Once Bella enters the world of Forks High School, she is immediately the focus of everyone’s attention, and unwittingly catches the attention of mysterious Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), one of five rich foster children of the town’s Chief Medical Examiner, Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli).
The five Cullen’s are a mystery to the school and town, and generally keep to themselves, but after a strange encounter in class leaves Bella both angry and confused, she is drawn into the mystery of Edward. Soon, Bella’s life is put in danger in the school parking lot, and Edward saves her and raises Bella’s suspicions. Edward opens up to her and Bella begins to play detective, piecing together clues about Edwards appearance and abilities. Soon, the truth is revealed and the two young star-crossed lovers begin a dangerous romance.
I supposed I should get the obvious questions out of the way, and then elaborate. Is the film good? So-So. Does it faithfully follow the book? Not really. It does follow the story, but clips most of the details and entire scenes out, which leaves what is there feeling very rushed, chaotic and almost like the Screenwriter, Mellisa Rosenberg, didn’t trust the genuinely masterful source material she had to translate. For anyone who has read the book, which is mostly everyone, they know the books main success in Bella’s driving narrative, her minute descriptions of all her feelings, emotions, confusions and gushy girly feelings for this dreamy guy she has fallen for. The book captivates you, and is largely conversational, but it is also what makes it so incredibly powerful to read. The movie? Not so much.
What is there is the basics, the cliff notes version of the novel, if you will. Much of the awkward glances, side-stepping, and eventual first love romance between Bella and Edward is here, but very truncated. Gone is most of the set up, much of Bella’s drive to learn the truth about Edward, the shadowy connections between the Cullens and the Native American reservation, most of the backstory on the individual Cullen family members, and most of the smaller, but important scenes where these two great characters are literally pining for one another, but neither knows how to make the first move. In the movie, it seemed like it was the basic ideas for everything. It rushes through act 1 and gets into the meat of the story way too fast and without adequate set up. If you hadn’t read the book, I would imagine you would be very lost and very frustrated.
What is there is done pretty well, and there is a definite chemistry and adorableness between Bella and Edward in the movie. Especially in the beginning when Edward, this cool guy, rich jock type, is studdering and mumbling around Bella, this ordinary girl who had confounded him so. And Bella comes across very well by Kristen Stewart. Not enough time was given to her wonderful voice-overs, which could’ve helped the movie a great deal, but when she is called upon to do them, she does so effortlessly and believably, and doesn’t come across as a narrator reading lines, but a real girl.
They also didn’t play up her clutziness or her main character traits much in the rush to dive into the love story. Bella, in the book, is the everygirl who doesn’t realize she is the everygirl. Every guy wants her, all the girls hate her, but secretly want to be her best friend. She never puts herself first, mainly because of self-confidence issues, but still…she spends her time helping her friends hook up and be happy. Boosting there self-esteem and confidence, even as hers remains low. That DID NOT come thru in the movie, with the few scattered moments of Bella helping her giddy friends out.
Overall, the film was only okay. Enjoyable in moments, mostly the times when the film trusted Stewart and Pattinson to carry a tender love dialogue for five or six minutes, but it was also highly disappointing in others, mainly due to such a large chunk of the movie missing. Now, I’m no idiot, I know the movie will be missing things and will be a different experience from the novel. But I have to say, wholeheartedly, after reading the novel (just last week), I felt like this was a film tailor-made for adaption to the movie screen. The book is 70% dialogue, 25% Bella narrating an 5% Vampire action. All you needed was a good cast, which they had from top to bottom. The Cullens all looked how I imagined them, Bella’s classmates as well, and the baddies in Act 3 were perfectly done. Why then is the film not better? Too many cuts.
If all you want is a a few great romantic scenes and some rushed dialogue, then the film is right up your alley. The romance scenes are very well done and are very very sweet, but much of the rest of this film leaves a lot to be desired. I only hope this film makes enough money to warrant a Directors-Cut DVD, and also if the remaining novels are made, that another Director with more confidence in the material is chosen to make them.