Sunday, April 5, 2009


Title: Twilight
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Gigandet, and Nikki Reed
Genres: Drama, Romance, Thriller, Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hour.0 minutes
Release Date: November 21st, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I really wanted this movie to be great, especially after loving the books so much as I read them for the first time just a few days ago. Unfortunately, I was incredibly disappointed with the film adaptation. It is always tough, adapting a fantastic much-loved book into a film, for several [fairly obvious] reasons: One is the individual vision of the story created by the reader, which is not always compatible with the vision of the movie maker. Then there is the limitations of reality, as well as budget. Another challenge is to keep faithful to the source material, which seem to be a challenged for some movie-makers, since it would require said person to resist their urge to "mark their territory" and make the story ever so slightly their own creation. And then there is casting; properly catching the characters are one of the most essential ingredients of any book-to-film-adaptation. And of course, the movie making craft itself, including directing, acting and cinematography, all of which drastically alters the end result.

The film was not all bad, certain scenes and aspects were well created, such as the ballet studio scene, the green environment of Forks, as well as a some of the casting, especially when considering the characters strictly visually. Both Edward & Bella, as well as several of the other characters, are [visually] fantastic, with a few exceptions. The vast majority of the divergences from the source seemed to have been made mostly for the purpose of film adaptation, straight up lack of skill (directorial, as well as acting-wise), or in an effort to hide budgetary constraints leading to lack of other, truer-to-the-story options.

Before I watched the film, I not only read all of the books, but I also read the Director's Notebook, which was interesting. Being able to see the film-making process, and the thoughts and inspirations behind the movie made the film a bit more enjoyable. It was evident (from the Director's Notebook) that the director wanted to capture the essence of the story, but unfortunately, those intentions often fell short, making for a very unsatisfying book-film-adaptation.

I had more than a few complaints with this film. Some issues, such as the laughable special effects, more suitable for a home made movie, as well as the inability to properly re-create every part of a fictional world in reality, are at least comprehensible for a low(ish) budget film. Those issues are [somewhat] forgivable. Other failure are harder to reconcile, such as the frequently atrocious acting (and over-acting), which never should have been allowed by the director, nor should the frequent alterations and additions to the storyline, or the choppy, border-line incoherent, resulting film.

I'm glad I saw it, but I really, really wish it would have been better. I regret that I cannot give this film a better grade. All I thought as the credits rolled was "It's a damn shame", and I still think that sums it up. I'm hoping the next installments, with a new director and a bigger budget, will be much better.

Grade: 4

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I totally agree with you on that, I mean, the books were GRRRREAT and then the movie came out and it wasnt anything like the book...I mean, it had the general outline of it but other than that they really didnt capture what she wrote...