Twilight the Movie: Not for the Purist

[Spoiler Alert! This review has spoilers. Stop if you don’t want to be spoiled]

A Twilight Saga purist will not appreciate the Twilight movie. I am confident to say this after seeing Twilight twice as of the completion of this review. I am a huge Twilight Saga fan (except for Breaking Dawn) but I am not a purist. I am open to new interpretations and I understand that movies provide another way of telling a story. With this background, I humbly offer my Twilight movie review.

Acting

I had very high hopes for Kristen Stewart (Bella) and Robert Pattinson (Edward). Too bad, only Pattinson performed to my satisfaction. Stewart’s Bella did not show the strength and maturity which is a huge part of the character’s appeal. Stewart’s portrayal focused too much on Bella’s klutziness and lip-biting to the point of having seemingly one repeated expression throughout the film. Still, her scenes with Taylor Lautner (Jacob) especially the beach scene was quite good. Pattinson’s Edward, on the other hand, was right on the mark. He portrayed Edward’s inner conflict, insecurity and impossible circumstance consistently. Pattinson channelled Edward from his canteen entrance to the Biology lab, the hospital, the meadow, the Cullens’ home, Bella’s room, the Ballet studio and the prom. In all the scenes, one can feel Edward’s inner struggle which is so central to his character. My favourite Edward moments include the first hospital scene, the garage scene and the ballet studio scene. Pattinson once said that “He’s just the meat”. I disagree. He became Edward in this process and he has gained my respect.

Other standout actors in the Twilight movie include Billy Burke (Charlie), Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen) and Anna Kendrick (Jessica). Burke’s Charlie was just how I imagined Bella’s father would be. His presence was not imposing but his love and concern for Bella shined through. I loved the way Peter Facinelli played the father figure to Rosalie and Edward. His authority and compassion was revealed in Facinelli’s performance. I loved the scene where he was telling Edward to “find the will.” Kendrick who played Bella’s friend Jessica portrayed the quintessential Valley girl to a tee. She’s fun to watch.

Story

My major gripe about the Twilight movie is the way the story was presented. Since I read the book, I can understand the situations depicted (i.e., Biology lab, Meadow, Beach, etc.) but if a person who has not read Twilight watched this film, he/she will wonder why Bella seemed to fall in love so completely and so fast. The backbone of this love story is the process of how Bella falls for Edward (through their conversations and interactions). Watching the film, it seems like Edward was such a big jerk and Bella just fell in love regardless and too quickly. 

Twilight, the novel, also delved into the history and uniqueness of the Cullens. Edward’s sharing about his family did not seem to be enough. The scene featuring Emmett and Edward shown in the first Twilight trailer was nowhere in the film. It seems that only Edward and Dr. Cullen’s characters were developed in the film. Where is Alice’s prom makeover for Bella? Where is Emmett’s big brother banter? I wanted more of the Cullens! Now, I feel bad because the Cullens are not around much in New Moon. I want my Cullens!

Regardless of my gripes, I still enjoyed the film. As a fan, I was happy to see the novel brought to life even if the situations and dialogue in the book were reframed. Many of the novel’s dialogue were delivered in a different situation in the film. This will make a Twilight purist fume red but for me, it’s ok. I still had fun. I still enjoyed it. 

Music

When I saw the Twilight movie soundtrack in Odyssey, I asked for a listen. I didn’t like it that much. However, after seeing how the music was used, I can now say that the music was brilliant. It felt like another character in the film. The musical score was perfect for the scenes specially the use of Pattinson’s “Never Think” in the Port Angeles scene, the music during the baseball scene and the use of Bella’s Lullaby all throughout the film. I still don’t have plans of purchas
ing the soundtrack although I have plans of buying the DVD.


I have tickets to another screening this Saturday. I wonder how I’d feel the third time around. 

Photo: MTV News

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