122 Min | Drama – Fantasy – Romance | December 2008
IMDB Rating: 5.2
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke
Twilight Review: Few Hollywood productions have the concern of appealing to both the demographics flocking to romances and supernatural action films, and as such, the impression is frequently given of Twilight biting off more than it can chew. This indecision between concentrating on the supernatural or romantic facets of the film leads to one of the more glaring flaws of the picture – the sense of neither being devoted enough focus to truly excel. While the climactic battle is gruesomely effective, for the most part, the film’s special effects appear rushed, under-budgeted and just plain sloppy, coasting by on horrendously unconvincing slow motion to represent vampire super-speed and making moments which should have been filled with wonder and awe instead evoke unintentional laughs and groans.
However, Meyer’s revisionist take on vampire lore is intriguing, and the viewer wishes Twilight had delved into the technical aspects of immortal vampire lifestyles further – a sequence where protagonist Bella slowly begins to suspect the true identity of the mysterious boy she has found herself involved with is impressively eerie and chilling. Such moments are aided incalculably by the tremendous musical score of Carter Burwell, whose bold mix of brassy Gothic themes and eerie, chilling motifs perfectly compliments the intensity of the film. However, Twilight’s main concern lies in its script, which boasts some particularly gruesome patches of dialogue apart from the general lack of characterisation one has sadly grown to expect from the teen romance genre. Similarly, despite director Catherine Hardwicke appearing to be the perfect candidate to helm such a film, her handling of the source material is unfortunately shaky.
Twilight repeatedly falls prey to the “Harry Potter syndrome”, feeling somewhat clunky in its almost robotic adherence to its source material, giving it the sense of jumping awkwardly from plot point to plot point and lacking the necessary cohesion and narrative flow. While Twilight is hardly a failure on all fronts, with a sporatic peppering of effective moments, the word which most ably describes the film as a whole is ‘passable’, lacking the necessary intensity or impact to truly hit home. It is easy to envision the adaptation being far more satisfying if done as a smaller, independent production outside the shadow of Hollywood, one which would not shy away from capturing the true passion and intensity of the central relationship without baulking at the prospect of a simmering yet sexless teenage relationship. As is, Hardwicke’s film is content to succumb to cliche and sloppy, complacent storytelling, making it far too ‘bloodless’ to truly satisfy.