Review: Twilight (2008)

Twilight

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke

Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer’s acclaimed novel of the same title, chronicles the life and times of teenager Isabella Swan as she moves north from her native Arizona to the small town of Forks, Washington in order to live with her father, Charlie. Once there, she reluctantly begins to attend school and is almost immediately displeased by the obvious overabundance of bad weather and too-friendly classmates. Standoffish as she may be, Bella soon begins an unlikely friendship with vampire Edward Cullen; a relationship that develops into something much more serious.

Having (reluctantly) read three out of the four books in Meyer’s Twilight series, I decided to stop delaying the inevitable and took some time to watch the film adaptation of the first installment. Right off the bat, I became all too aware of the ghastly dialogue and lackluster performances that this film has become notorious for. Dialogue aside, Kristen Stewart manages to bring the most to the table, what with her fitting the part of Bella almost perfectly as a very reserved, borderline socially inept high school honor student. With this in mind, anything else offered by way of the supporting cast, Robert Pattinson included, is easily forgettable by the time the credits start rolling.

In regards to how the book was translated to the big screen, a significant amount of changes were made to, most likely, keep the film down to a reasonable length. However, it’s with these changes that a majority of the book’s more appealing elements become lost or simply don’t exist; elements that could essentially explain away the incredibly fast pacing of the film as a whole: something that doesn’t come without its fair share of plot holes as well. Personally, I blame Catherine Hardwicke’s sloppy direction for a majority of this, but I suppose she does an altogether decent job given the subject matter and the target audience. Despite said flaws, all of the essential elements that made the book appealing to those in question are indeed present, which is a plus, but the uninitiated will probably still have a question or two in store by the film’s end.

To conclude, this film adaptation is yet another one that doesn’t quite do its counterpart justice. Granted, Meyer’s novel isn’t what you’d call well-written, but the tone set by Hardwicke’s subpar direction and an altogether uninspired script just make it drag laboriously on at times. Like I stated previously, Kristen Stewart is its only saving grace, which isn’t saying much, but at least it’s enough to keep you mildly entertained. To say Twilight is just plain bad though wouldn’t be fair; it definitely shows a substantial amount of promise, and hopefully the appropriate improvements can be made in preparation for the sequels.

Rating: 4/10

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