The Nice Vampires Dept.
Since my review of NEW MOON was read, discussed and out right hated by so many, I thought, hey, why not dig up my old review of the first TWILIGHT movie, after all, it hasn’t been published on Xomba, and I bet the young girls here would like to read and hate that one as well! So – here’s a review I wrote on November 19, 2008:
Before a press screening last week, the young man who’s the head honcho at one of the multiplexes said that hordes of teenage girls had poured into the place, asking when TWILIGHT is opening, as if it’s the big premiere of the week. And after the press screening I attended, I think I saw THE WACKNESS , a middle aged couple entered the foyer; they had been sent there by their daughter, who had read all of the TWILIGHT books three times since she was given them as a present in September.
So, what is this TWILIGHT thing? How the hell should I know that? I noticed that the Science Fiction Bookstore across the street had put loads of copies of the American edition in the window display. According to the movie’s ads, the books have sold millions and millions of copies. But I’ve totally missed the hype. After having seen the movie, I realize why. In this case, I’m so far away from the target audience I possibly can be.
TWILIGHT is about a 17-year-old girl from Arizona, who after her parents’ divorce moves to her dad’s place; he’s a cop living in a small, small town somewhere in northern U.S.A., according to a road sign it has 1,129 inhabitants, but that doesn’t stop the local high school from having hundreds of students.
The girl – Bella – is pale, sullen and introvert. But on first day in school, she spots Edward, a guy the other girls think is a walking sex bomb, but totally impossible to talk to and therefore not worth wasting energy on. Bella thinks Edward is mysterious and exciting, and what do you know, if the two of them don’t end up becoming a romantic couple.
Meanwhile, maimed corpses our found here and there around the town, and the cops suspect some kind of wild animal is lurking in the woods. But we know better – it’s of course evil vampires wreaking havoc. But! It’s not Edward and his nice vampire family (daddy the doctor, the All-American mom, the plucky siblings, who have all lived a hundred years or more). Three new, evil vampires have arrived to the neighborhood. Edward and his gang are kind and only kill animals and try to live regular lives in a house and stuff. These new vamps slaughter people – like real vampires do.
…And this movie is … damn lame. TWILIGHT really feels like a movie for young teenage girls. The characters lack personality, they lack character, they’re only there to make the young audience yearn for the photo model boys trying to play sad vampires. Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward, looks like he’s about to cry all the time – and he looks rather silly with his pale skin and dark eyebrows. Curiously androgynous. His dad the doctor looks so funny lots of people attending the press screening laughed out loud. And the vampire brother looks like the wimpy singer of BWO. In all, they’re just hopeless. What is this, the Ministry of Silly Undead?
I can’t understand why Bella falls in love with Edward, since the guy doesn’t do anything but walking around, being strange and grumpy. But I suppose he’s “exciting”.
The vampire mythology here is also pretty strange. The last few years, several vampire movies have messed with the mythology, but in this case, they go way too far. These vampires can walk around in broad daylight, they’re visible in mirrors, they don’t respond to Christian symbols and garlic, they don’t have any visible fangs – and the weirdest part of it, is that when exposed to sunlight, their skin sparkles like diamonds! No, they don’t burn up or explode or dry up, nope, they … sparkle … like diamonds. “You’re beautiful!” Bella sighs when Edward reveals his secret. But he doesn’t like it himself. And I wonder what the hell is going on. What are these creatures? They sure aren’t vampires…
Well, I guess all this nonsense would have been okay – because I’ve no problems with naive romantic nonsense aimed at young girls – were it not for it falling short in several fundamental departments.
For the most part, TWILIGHT is slightly incompetently made. It’s kind of like screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and director Catherine Hardwicke don’t know how to make movies, how to tell a story. There’s no drama in the scenes, no humor, no thrills, no visible passion between the characters. Far too often, the movie stops dead to let people have looong conversations in looong scenes, and the dialogue feels like it’s ripped straight from the novel. Instead of showing what’s going on in moving pictures, things are explained in stiff dialogue, spoken without much feeling. In one scene, Bella and Edward sit in the woods and talk forever while nothing at all happens – but the two of them talking.
It’s a long movie, more than two hours. They could have trimmed it by at least 30 minutes without losing anything.
A couple of native Americans show up in a few scenes, they made me a little interested – who are they? But we’re never told. And the scenes with Billy Burke as Bella’s dad are better than the rest of the movie. Sometimes they’re hanging out in a restaurant which makes me think of TWIN PEAKS, but the slightly odd characters popping up there aren’t used story-wise.
TWILIGHT feels like a pilot episode of a TV series I don’t want to follow. This impressions gets stronger during the end credits, which are designed just like the opening titles of a TV show, with images of the actors and captions with their names.
There’s also a weird scene in which the vampires decide to play baseball during a thunder storm – which apparently is a tradition. Okay, I have to confess that the young vampire sister is rather sexy, striking poses before pitching; one leg stretched out, slow-motion and stuff. But that says more about me than the movie.
This is a very silly movie. But it’s not bad enough to be considered a piece of shit.
I guess some readers think that I, a man over 40, shouldn’t come here and complain and condemn a movie not aimed at me. And of course, they’re probably right. I’m too old and of the wrong gender. I confess, I don’t understand this TWILIGHT hype.
However – I do know how to tell apart a badly made movie from a well-made one. And this is one clumsy movie!