Posted by: znewkirk | November 25, 2008

New Release: Twilight

(2008 ) Director: Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown) | Writer: Screenplay – Melissa Rosenberg (Dexter), Novel – Stephanie Meyer

Robert Pattinson is attacked by Bob Hope in between takes on the set of Twilight.

Robert Pattinson is attacked by Bob Hope in between takes on the set of Twilight.

Every once in a great while comes along a film so transcendental, so utterly immersive and engrossing, that it blossoms into a cultural touchstone, unifying people of all races and creeds under the banner of universally beloved entertainment, all while cementing itself as a permanent benchmark of high art, to be looked back upon throughout the centuries as a defining achievement in the annals of mankind.

Twilight, which totally sucks, is not that film.

Based on the first in a series of teenage vampire chick lit novels by Stephanie Meyer, the film adaptation premiere was built up to be an Event along the historical lines of a presidential election or the Super Bowl—and as expected, Twilight did rake in something like 43.7 billion dollars this last weekend, mostly from the pocketbooks of screaming adolescent girls and their begrudging mothers. However, what was not expected is that the movie itself is an unintentional laugh riot, featuring community theater-grade acting, vomit-inducing dialogue, and a plot with more holes in it than Edward James Olmos’ face. I laughed harder during this film than I have in most comedies that meant it, and that’s not a compliment.

olmos

Twilight concerns itself with the plight of the ludicrously-named Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bob Hope), a 17-year-old girl from Phoenix who is forced to move in with her dopey cop father in the Washington town of Forks, a place bereft of sunshine but stocked to the gills with paraplegic Native Americans. When Bella’s life is saved by creepy, pale hunk Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who—surprise—turns out to be a vampire, a fierce mutual attraction develops between them. Is it true love, or will their fling be interrupted by the murderous bad guy vampires who show up in the movie’s last half-hour? Yeah, you’re right: who cares?

Maybe Twilight would feel like a more serious movie if its leads were subtler actors, but Stewart attacks each scene with all the gloomy nuance of a less-talented Neve Campbell, while Pattinson insists upon reciting his lines with a nervous, staggered diction akin to Hayden Christensen’s whiny delivery in the more recent Star Wars films. Together the star-crossed couple twitch, blink, and stutter through the film like relapsed meth addicts. It doesn’t help that in most scenes director Catherine Hardwicke’s camera lingers uncomfortably on their anxious faces long after they’ve finished talking.

But worse than the acting, direction, editing, special effects, score, casting, cinematography, and dialogue is the film’s interpretation of what a vampire is, owed mostly to source author Meyer. The Cullen clan consists of “vegetarian” vampires who abstain of human blood by feeding only on animals. They have strong family values of unconditional support and love. Oh, and instead of exploding when exposed to sunlight, they turn all sparkly, like they’ve been tarred and glittered. It’s as though Meyer and Hardwicke flipped through a Hello Kitty catalogue and randomly picked out attributes that would make Edward and his undead family more sellable to the tween girl demographic.

Twilight is a bloodless, lifeless take on the vampire myth, yes; but more importantly, it’s pure camp. I’m certain that, years down the road, theaters will be playing this film as a midnight-movie attraction alongside The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Showgirls. As an unabashed fan of bad movies, I can’t say I don’t recommend this film. Just be aware that expecting a Titanic-level romance-fest will leave you wishing you had done something more constructive with your nine bucks, like paying a homeless guy to punch you in the throat.

Rating: One of Five Stars (Four of Five for Comedy Purposes)

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Responses

  1. that movie inspired unintentional laughter so many times. But the best part is reading interviews with the leads in which they pretentiously talk about their character motivations and the bond that developed during the shoot. In an article in EW, Kristen Stewart proudly states that she will/would not follow a direction unless she agrees that it is in line with her character. I remembered that statement while watching one scene in particular: near the end, when she’s in the hospital. She goes way over the top when the vampire tells her they should be apart. what a joke.

  2. “Every once in a great while comes along a film so transcendental, so utterly immersive and engrossing, that it blossoms into a cultural touchstone, unifying people of all races and creeds under the banner of universally beloved entertainment, all while cementing itself as a permanent benchmark of high art, to be looked back upon throughout the centuries as a defining achievement in the annals of mankind.

    Twilight, which totally sucks, is not that film.”

    U make me proud boy! I say let do “Zacker and Ebert.”

  3. Okay I started to read the review but I’ll hold off if we’re going to do a podcast about it? Also it looks like you started the post with some html code? I think you posted the html in the text box when it wasn’t set to html.

  4. Great review. I saw the film at the midnight showing (I swear I was only there in support of some diehard teen fans in my youth group). If it wasn’t for being all hopped up on junk food consumed in the four hours I waited to get into this joke of a movie there is no way I would have made it through without dozing from boredom. The teenage angst in this movie was nauseatingly overdone. I could go on and on discussing the horrors of this film but I’m trying to erase all memory of it from my mind.

  5. Hian, Kaitlynde, Blaine and I did an impromptu, unimpressive recording after watching the movie. I have it on my computer for you.

  6. Those are the best kinds. I’ll get it from you when next we meet. Also, Seth keeps talking about Transporter 3 is there a chance you’d be interested in doing a podcast on that one with the Roadhouse scholar himself?

  7. yeah, definitely. I think I’ll be seeing it Sunday, unless I have time to sneak out and watch it tomorrow.


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