Reviews Too Late: Twilight

by wjw on May 23, 2009

Urban romantic fantasy isn’t really my metier, but I thought I’d catch Twilight on pay per view and check what the zeitgeist has been up to while I wasn’t looking.

Filmed in Pale-O-Vision, Twilight was actually a pretty good movie, as far as that goes. (I mean, it is what it is, you’re not going to learn any profound truths in this film.) The plotline was very straightforward and simple, with no real twists or surprises because you know Edward’s a vampire going in. It’s all like, I’m going to totally stalk this guy until he agrees to bite me, and that’s more or less it. There’s a subplot involving some evil vampires but they exist only as a device to put Bella in jeopardy, because Edward’s too much of a gentleman to do it himself.

The acting was excellent, particularly that of Kristen Stewart as Bella, who gave the proper desperate intensity to her I-don’t-care-if-I-die-or-not-I-want-this-and-I’m-going-to-have-it soulful yearning. Robert Pattinson does a very good James Dean impersonation, down to the bushy hair. Production values were high.

I didn’t swoon, but then it wasn’t aimed at me.

The film excels brilliantly in its use of cliches. Edward’s dialog was beautifully designed to lure young Bella while pretending to keep her at arm’s length. Consider the following lines:

I only said it would be better if we weren’t friends, not that I didn’t want to be.

It means if you’re smart… you’ll stay away from me.

I hate you for making me want you so much.

I don’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore.

You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you.

I wanted to kill you at first. I’ve never wanted a human’s blood so much, before.

You don’t know what you’re saying. You don’t want this.

What if I’m not the hero? What if I’m the bad guy?

I still don’t know if I can control myself.

I’m the world’s most dangerous predator. Everything about me invites you in. My voice, my face, even my smell. As if I would need any of that. As if you could outrun me. As if you could fight me off. I’m designed to kill.

Do you trust me?

Wow. What red-blooded adolescent girl wouldn’t totally fall for any broody James Dean-like character who said actually things like that?

(Note to any adolescents or others lacking in worldly experience: When a guy says, “I’m mad, I’m bad, I’m dangerous to know,” guess what? He’s telling the truth! He’s doing you the courtesy of giving you fair warning! Thank him and then run the hell away!

(You’re not going to be The One who’s going to change him. Sticking around means giving him permission to beat you or kill you or pimp you out or whatever else he does to his victims. Run the hell away!

(This has been a public service announcement from the Dating Safety Commission. Thank you.)

But where was I? Oh yeah, Twilight.

It was well done. It was more of a mood than a movie. You could study this film for ways to keep the suspense high when things aren’t actually happening.

And of course if you like moody, swoony romance, particularly involving James Dean, this is absolutely the film for you.

Laurie Mann May 24, 2009 at 12:13 am

If you haven’t seen Adventureland, Kristen Stewart is very good in that. She was cast in Twilight while she was making Adventureland.

Ian McDowell May 24, 2009 at 6:11 am

Yeah, she’s great in ADVENTURELAND, although I expected to dislike her in it, as several critics who otherwise praised the film panned her performance.

As far as recent vampire “romances” go, I take the gorgeous, heartbreaking and very dark LET THE RIGHT ONE IN over either TWILIGHT or TRUE BLOOD. Despite being sympathetic, Eli (the eternally twelve-years-old girl played by the luminously beautiful but creepy and feral Lena Leanderson) isn’t a superhero with fangs; she’s a genuinely monstrous Nosferatu. Yet she’s also vulnerable and touching. It’s the most heartwarming movie I’ve ever seen that ended in a bloody massacre, with a coda that’s either extremely sweet, extremely horrible, or both. Plus, unlike most films about sympathetic monsters, it never forgets that Eli’s victims are human beings who don’t deserve to be killed by a savage predator (well, most of them don’t).

Ethan May 27, 2009 at 6:36 pm

It’s way better drunk, lemme tell ya…

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