Tuesday, December 16, 2008
After seeing Twilight tonight, I looked up "twilight" in the dictionary (I know, it sounds a little weird, but stay with me, I'm going somewhere with this)...
- the soft, diffused light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, either from daybreak to sunrise or, more commonly, from sunset to nightfall.
- a terminal period, esp. after full development, success, etc.: the twilight of his life.
- a state of uncertainty, vagueness, or gloom.
As I so eloquently said to Ma after the movie was finished... "PFFFFFFFFFFFFFT"!
Now I've read the book... actually I remember quite enjoying the book, what I don't remember is the book being as hideously overblown and melodramatic and full of pointless angst as the movie is. And you know how you can read something on the page and it sounds fine, but if you ever try and say it outloud then you realise that no living person in the history of the entire world has EVER talked like that. Welcome to Twilight: The Movie!
Interestingly, while I'm in the middle of savaging it, I have to say that I'm not sure if my opinion of the movie wasn't coloured somewhat by an article/column I read in The Advertiser on Sunday... Clementine Ford makes a very persuasive argument about the series (the books more than the movie I think) when she described it as "what is essentially an emotionally abusive relationship between a 17-year-old girl, and a 108-year-old vampire". And that and a number of the other things she said were very much in the back (and sometimes the front) of my mind as I was watching the movie.
As I said before, the whole thing is SOOOOO overblown, and unlike what I remember of the book, in the movie it all just seems to come out of nowhere. Yes, the book has 430+ pages to work it's magic, whereas the movie has to crank things along to fit everything within the 120 minutes that it's been given, but for a movie that should be flying along at breakneck speed it still manages to drag at certain points. Maybe it would have been different if I hadn't known at least in rough strokes how the story was going to play out... but the intended audience for this movie isn't people who haven't read the book... it's the hardcore Twilight groupies...
And if hordes of teenage or tweenage (or whatever) girls are lapping this movie up and declaring it's the best movie ever, then I weep for the future of the human race.
Now I have to take a moment to convey my particular contempt of Jeanne Van Phue. Jeanne, as far as I can work out from the credits, was the head of the makeup department (if I'm wrong, then I apologise and heap my contempt on whoever WAS the head of makeup)... and while I'm sure that Catherine Hardwicke, as the director had final say in the makeup design, I'm singling out Ms Van Phue because the makeup in this movie was APPALLING! A-PAUL-LING! Granted, as soon as I'd seen the movie poster I knew the makeup was going to be godawful, but little did I know how really, really appalling it was going to be. I think it's at its worst on both Edward (the lead character), but also exceptionally bad on the character of Dr Carlisle Cullen. Honestly, the first time I saw him I wanted to laugh.
And don't even get me started on the SPARKLES... "oh look, sparkly disco vampire"... puh-lease *rolls eyes*
Which kind of brings me around to both the acting and the actors...
The acting, as I've said, is overblown... but then so is the dialogue, and since most of the actors seem to be relative or complete unknowns, you can occasionally cut them a little slack. I'm choosing not to though...
There are a few halfway decent performances, but nobody who I would have said was a standout... it was all a little lackluster. It you twisted my arm, I'd probably say that Billy Burke as the dad (not that he really has a lot to do) and Taylor Lautner as (vague spoiler) "werewolf-in-training" Jacob Black were probably the best.
And I will give the movie it's due... I think that from a purely physical standpoint they got the casting of the two leads, Kristen Stewart as Bella and Robert Pattinson as Edward, pretty right. Sure they both could have been slightly more attractive (but maybe that's just what I read into it when I read the book), but from what I remember, they were pretty close to the character descriptions. I was impressed though that I didn't get even the slightest whiff of Cedric Diggory from Robert Pattinson... I half expected to keep seeing Cedric peering out from under the bad vampire makeup, but he was very much inhabiting the character, bad dialogue and all.
And I'm sure that there is some sort of drinking game you could invent where you have to scull a shot every time you can finish one of Edward's lines with the word "creepy" instead of what he's actually going to say (okay, so I can only think of one example right now, but I'm sure there are others)... and if I had to sum up his performance in one word, I think "creepy" would be that word.
Another disappointment from both an actor and acting standpoint was the treatment of all the "regular" kids. I remember them being slightly full on and eager in the book, but not to the degree that they're incredibly annoying, which is the way they're portrayed in the movie. Ah, character development, how we must leave you on the cutting room floor to produce a two hour movie...
Which brings us, as always, to the hotness... while in theory there's a lot to drool over in this movie... Jackson Rathbone as Jasper (although he can't act his way out of a paperbag even when he only has about three lines... camp as a row of tents though), Kellan Lutz as Emmett, the aforementioned Taylor Lautner as Jacob and Cam Gigandet as the villain of the piece, James... and yes, I'll agree with Eddy that James/Cam with his low slung pants and blonde ponytail can bite me any day of the week... you know what, none of the pretty really gets that much screen time... we're all supposed to be drooling over Edward, and honestly, while there was an occasional shot where he was all pretty, he wasn't really doing it for me.
Two words... lackluster and overblown...
yani's rating: 5 sparkling vampires out of 10