INCLUDE_DATA

TWILIGHT (2008) ***1/2 movie review by COOP

Posted on November 21st, 2008
Posted on November 21st, 2008


“Twilight” has caused a stir long before its silver screen release. Fanatics of the popular book series bought early tickets and crammed into theaters early Friday morning to watch their favorite characters come to life. Without many advanced reviews for the fans to chew on before the release of the film, “Twilighters” went to these midnight screenings on faith, hoping the screen adaptation would not disappoint. I’m certainly not disappointed, and if the enthusiastic cheers of the audience are any indication, “Twilight” will be a hit.

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), an awkward and clumsy teen, moves from Phoenix to Forks, Washington and tries to fit in at her new school. A local boy, Edward (Robert Pattinson), catches her eye and the two become irresistibly drawn to each other. Despite the objections of those close to them, an intense romance blossoms between the two. It’s like a modern day “Romeo and Juliet,” with a twist… Edward is a 90 year old vampire. Fortunately, he and his family are benevolent monsters who choose not to drink the blood of humans. The bond between Bella and Edward becomes further tested when a bloodthirsty rival vampire clan shows up. The cruel bloodsucker, James (Cam Gigandet), sets his sights on making a meal out of Bella, forcing Edward and his family to band together to protect her.

Seeing “Twilight” with an entire theater full of screaming teen girl fans makes for a wild motion picture experience. It also works as an effective barometer for what works and doesn’t work in the film. Sections giggle loudly if something doesn’t seem genuine on screen. Likewise they hold their breath and then cheer during the parts that strike the right chord. Many of the girls wear “I love Edward” t-shirts… a few others “I love Jacob” shirts (a very minor character in this film which I’m told gets more to do in later storylines). When popular characters get introduced, they are rewarded with squeals of delight. The lesser ones, only playful “woots.”

Pattinson, who cut his cinematic teeth playing the heroic Cedric Diggory in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” may have his enemies on the internet, but he receives the majority of the cheers while on screen. As an objective viewer, I think Pattinson does a heck of a job as the conflicted vampire in love and I expect his appeal to grow, not only with fans, but with casual viewers as future sequels develop. Stewart, who’s been on the Hollywood A-list since her debut as Jodie Foster’s daughter in the 2002 thriller “Panic Room,” performs adequately as the dry Bella, but she’s guilty of some overacting. Perhaps she needs to grow into the role, but I’m not sure the fans have accepted her yet. The rest of the characters get little development, even Edward’s fascinating vampire family receive sparse screen time. Since this film sets up the series, expect those characters to flesh out in the next installment.

As for the quality of the film, director Catherine Hardwicke crafts an ideal look and feel to the story. The cinematography proved far better than expected and the few scenes of action surpass the usual, cheesy wire-effects (the “vampire baseball” scene is particularly impressive and fun). The “speed running” effect doesn’t work well, but the overall visual filmmaking hits all the right notes. Despite a few moments of silly melodramatic acting, and a dreadfully uncomfortable early scene where the two lovers express their undying affection for each other, I’d say Hardwicke delivers as promised.

The book series advisor who escorted me to the screening seemed happy with the end result. So did much of the crowd, but some complained and pointed out nitpicks after the final credits. I can’t imagine anyone dead set on hating this type of story or genre would care for it. The demographic is clearly for young girls and women with an interest in romance and fantasy. I kept my mind open and I’m pleased to say “Twilight” rewarded me with a fun cinematic experience. I see the appeal and the potential this story possesses. It left just enough story threads open to hint at epic future developments and continuing character drama… plenty for fans to look forward to.

One thing that struck me about “Twilight” is its unmistakable similarity to the hit 1997 TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” On that show, human Buffy begins an unlikely romance with the “good” vampire, Angel. The ongoing drama of that storyline captivated audiences much in the same way the romance between Bella and Edward has captivated “Twilight” readers. This film falls into the empty niche left by “Buffy” after its cancellation in 2003 and would easily attract those who like vampires, (light) gothic horror, angst-ridden characters and fantasy epics. It also adds a few interesting twists on the vampire myth without getting bogged down in it. I even like it enough to give the next book in the series, New Moon, a try. If you’re not afraid of screaming teenagers, don’t let “Twilight” scare you off. There’s something to this series.

Rating: 3 and ½ out of 5 stars

No Comments •

Comments

Search
Search Form
Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Nightmares Film Festival
2017 A Night of Horror Film Festival
2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
2017 Oxford Film Festival
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival
2017 Grenada Afterglow Film Festival
2017 Shiver International Film Festival
2017 Southern States Indie FanFilmFest

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

The Small Town Critic’s SCREENWRITING SERVICES
Follow Coop on Twitter...
    follow me on twitter
    Follow smalltowncritic on Twitter
    Archives
    Subscribe via Email!

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Subscribe via RSS feed!