The Twilight Saga: Twilight (2008)

Film review: The Twilight Saga 1: Twilight (2008), directed by Catherine Hardwicke

twilight-twilightWhen her mum Renée (Sarah Clarke) decides to get on the road with her new sporty husband, accident-prone teenager Isabella “Bella” Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves from sunny Arizona to rainy, overcast Forks in Washington, where her dad Charlie (Billy Burke) is the chief of police. It’s not that hard to adapt to the new school, because everyone is so nice to her and wants to be her friend – from constantly photographing Eric (Justin Chon), to cute but harmless Mike (Michael Welch) and their would-be love interests Angela (Christian Serratos) and Jessica (Anna Kendrick).

One person, however, doesn’t want anything to do with her: Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). He seems repulsed by her. Not that she’s letting that get in the way of ogling him like a piece of meat. But he has a reason – she smells so delicious that he’d just like to bite her neck and suck her blood. Because he’s a vampire, gasp.

As it turns out, Edward isn’t the only one. He’s a foster child of Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) and his wife Esme (Elizabeth Reaser) and they like taking in strays. In fact, has a full house with not just Edward, but also Rosalie (Nikki Reed), Emmet (Kellan Lutz), Alice (Ashley Greene) and newcomer Jasper (Jackson Rathbone).

Twilight is basically a dysfunctional love story. Bella loves Edward, Edward loves Bella, but he’s dangerous to her because he’s a vampire but she doesn’t care because she WUVS HIM. Even before she figures out the whole vampire thing, kind, floppy-haired Quileute Native American teenager Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), in a very minor role for this film, drops some serious hints about it that go way above her head. That Jacob’s dad Billy (Gil Birmingham) also thinks Edward is a bad match is ignored.

Unlike the book this film is based on, this has an actual external conflict going on throughout. In the book, it’s left toward the very end where it’s used as a plot device – here it’s built up a bit more. Three vampires that do suck people’s blood (because the Cullens don’t, they don’t like to be monsters, so just suck the blood off wild animals) – Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), James (Cam Gigandet) and Laurent (Edi Gathegi) – are in the background causing mayhem. Until they meet Bella and realise she’s a pet of the Cullens and decide they want to play, leading up to the film’s climax … which, essentially, is just everyone being bleedin’ idiots.

The first time I saw this film, it was because we were a group of six who had decided to go to the cinema, and Twilight was the only thing in between Winnie the Pooh and Underworld 3 we could agree on. It was my first introduction to actual Twilight – not just webcomics poking fun or forums dedicated to how much the series suck – ACTUAL canon. I giggled myself through most of the film, it has to be said, and so did the woman next to me.

This time, seeing it on TV, the Squeeze referred to Carlisle as “Dr. Sexy” (a Supernatural reference), which had me laughing about as much as seeing the man on screen originally did: he was so pale it was both ridiculous and hilarious. Which, I guess, sums up the film quite well.

It doesn’t have much of a plot, it’s not very engaging, interesting, romantic or … or anything. Like chewing gum for the eyes. The acting is more like modelling (posing with facial expressions), and I wonder if Kristen Stewart has polyps or something and that’s why she can’t seem to breathe through her nose. The sparkle music when Edward shows himself in sunlight is still really naff, and yet, this is like tween crack.

I don’t really get it, to be honest. Still, there are worse films out there – at least this is sort of entertaining. And I’m thinking Mike is a sweet kid who needs his own Team. Screw Sparkles and Doggie Hunk. Team Newton’s where it’s at! Except hmm, no, I also like Eric, but if I was near him, I’d probably want to shove the camera down his throat eventually.

Still, Team Eric or Team Mike, eh? 😉

2 out of 5 microscopes.

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