Okay Okay Okay! There are a lot of technical problems with the script and direction of Twilight the movie, but it comes down to this: if you are a fan of the books, looking for nothing more than to witness an attempt at a live-action representation of a story that you love, you won’t be too disappointed.
I know that seems like a pretty large disclaimer, but I think it’s fair. Having read the book and guiltily enjoyed it’s corny, over-the-top romantic characters, I realized that if nothing else, the movie was a fun way to relive the book. I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, so stop reading here if you don’t want to know what happens in the movie.
Adapting Twilight for the screen would pose a lot of problems for even the most talented screenwriters. In their attempt to keep the story mostly intact for its throng of ravenous fans, the writers seemed to lose sight of making it a good movie. Die-hard fans want to hear their favorite lines and see their favorite scenes, regardless of whether or not they make sense on screen.
For the more reserved fans, myself included, the story itself has elements of the ridiculous that work in the text only because it’s written in the voice of Bella, the heroine. Through the lens of her seventeen year old mind, the book can be read as an almost tongue-in-cheek Victorian novel, complete with fainting spells, blushing kisses, and unbearable sexual longing.
Through the camera lens, that self-consciousness is lost. The viewer laughs at scenes which should be serious, and it doesn’t seem clear whether the director could decide which way it should go either. This, coupled with some VERY awkward and poorly edited scenes (one shot circling Bella in the forest and another shot of a bad vampire coven walking in slow-motion onto the baseball field come to mind) made parts of the movie cringe-worthy.
But I don’t think it quite deserves the cacophony of bad reviews it’s been getting. I think the problem is that those who haven’t read the book don’t have a way to put it into perspective. It’s certainly not a horror movie, and I was a little vexed when the previews (including one very gory clip) suggested it was. If you try to compare it to Dracula (horror) or Interview with a Vampire (travel narrative/thriller), you run into trouble. If you think of it as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie) meets Pride and Prejudice, you might just get somewhere.
I think even those who made the movie weren’t sure if they should try to angle it one way or the other. They leaned in the direction of a vampire movie, giving it an ethereal aesthetic; then they leaned back toward a teen romantic comedy with the appearance of Mike and Bella’s other slap-stick school friends. So they tried to mix genres and ended up with something less cohesive than one would like. But it’s not an easy task, so the attempt really needs to be taken at face value.
Now, Robert Pattinson. You devil you. I’ll leave my window open (and maybe the front door, too).