Goodnight and Goodbye
I choose not to review the movie based on story elements from the book but rather on its own merits as a movie. However, no detail from the books could save this bland and dry romantic fantasy story driven solely by the fact that the main character is a vampire. The chemistry between the leads is weak, it offers a very weak insight into its mythology, and is the start to one of the most repulsive love stories of all time. This should be fun to review.
In Twilight, Bella Swan moves to the town of Forks, Washington to live with her father for the new school year. This seemingly average and introverted girl is shockingly the interesting focal piece of her school as she swarmed with millions of new friends and love interests despite being so wooden in her personality. That is until she locks eyes with the deliciously, pale skinned, and constipated faced man known as Edward Cullen and is immediately smitten by his repulsive and abrasive attitude. After some research she realizes that Edward is a “vampire” except he sparkles in the sun, can be seen in mirrors, and doesn’t drink human blood. With all of these facts in mind, they begin a “romantic” relationship due to their eclectic “chemistry”.
This movie is a whole mess of weird ideas thrown together and trying to replicate the formula that the Harry Potter franchise had at the time. Any sort of interesting detail or tidbit in this story is immediately cast aside to focus solely on the relationship between Bella and Edward. This could be okay if the relationship was one worth investing in, but it is completely dry and devoid of any love or affection and instead is replaced with creepy and abusive tendencies that should be red flags in the relationship.
This could be helped with the performances of our title characters, however they are so stiff and rigid in their portrayals that it is hard to see if they feel any emotion at all in this story. Robert Pattinson’s Edward looks constipated all the time. He looks like he is in pain trying to just get through the movie and cash in a paycheck for his time on set. He doesn’t seem interested in being there and the character’s stalker tendencies are supposed to be seen as romantic. He watches Bella sleep, he follows her when she is hanging out with friends, and he puts her down when she almost gets robbed by a bunch of thugs. This isn’t love, this is downright uncomfortable and painful to watch and Bella actually buys into this relationship.
Kristen Stewart’s Bella is completely uninteresting and incapable of showing any kind of emotion. Her expressions are blank and she acts like an awkward teenager who has no idea of how to interact with anyone even when a bunch of people are trying to be friendly to her. The most unbelievable part of this story is not the fact that there are vampires in this story, but the fact that everyone is so fascinated and intrigued with Bella’s character. Everyone wants to be her friend, ask her to prom, and date her and everyone goes out of their way to try and know this girl. It doesn’t make any sense because the only interesting thing about this girl from what the movie gives us is that she is dating Edward Cullen who is also an awkward recluse.
The main appeal of this movie and franchise as a whole is the fact that a normal human girl is dating a vampire. What could be an interesting mythology and insight about what truly makes someone love another person is stripped away entirely from this movie until its third act. Until then, our characters blankly stare at each other for long durations of time and aimlessly just walk on around. They kiss occasionally, hang out and play the piano, play a baseball game with horrendous editing, and talk about how hard it is to be a pale faced vampire. There is zero romantic chemistry to buy into, and the characters on their own are so uninteresting it makes you wonder why anyone would think this is a competent story.
When the film does reach its third act and some of the “vampire action” starts to take place, it actually becomes a little bit interesting. I am not sure if this is because the first 2 hours of this film are so boring that the last half hour is more interesting in retrospect, but nonetheless I did find some enjoyment near the end. It delves into a horror-esque setting and has a minuscule amount of tension to try to keep audiences attentive. It doesn’t do much to redeem this movie in the long run, but at least it is there.
The most egregious aspect about this movie is that I don’t know what kind of message this movie is trying to send off. It definitely is not an advocate for healthy relationships, it is not a coming of age story for characters trying to break out their shell, and it certainly is not an entertaining fantasy story to just enjoy. It is simply made for people to swoon however how hot Edward and Bella are and have a false sense of enjoyment due to the fact that the character is a vampire. Unfortunately, that is not enough to make a movie.
If I am to review the rest of these movies, I do hope that this franchise can get better but considering this sloppy and sleep-inducing start, anything can be better than this. Maybe this movie isn’t meant for me, but given the surprising amount of hype around it I am surprised that it has developed as many followers as it has today. Needless to say, this is a boring fantasy romance young adult story that will be forgotten with age and I on one hand have already forgotten it entirely.