Movies Reviews

Release Date: Nov. 21
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writers: Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay), Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Art Directors: Christopher Brown, Ian Phillips
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson
Studio/Run Time: Summit Entertainment, 122 mins.

Charming vampire love story makes good with adaptation

The reviews are in for the first film-adapted book in Stephenie Meyer’s vampire saga and as many would expect, they’re mixed. But that’s hardly the point here since critics (read: grumpy old white men, for the most part) matter little to hordes of breathless (okay, obsessed) teenage fangirls.

What makes the Twilight books (and now the film) momentous is the emotional resonance behind the characters. Sure, the book is goopy romantic, overly melodramatic and at times painstakingly slow. And yes, the film has far too many gaze-into-each-others-eyes-cue-emo-music-in-the-background moments. But despite the ooze, suckers for love will find it hard to close the book or watch the credits without feeling a swell of emotion so strong you’ll swear Edward himself is dancing on your heartstrings. Guilty pleasure or not, it’s Titanic for the tortured hipster types and in that capacity, it works.

Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) was a capable choice for the film, as she has proven that she understands and will not belittle the confusion and angst associated with teen years. As a fan of the series, she also made sure to stay true to the book, leaving nary an important detail unturned. Unlike many adaptations, the fault here isn’t in what’s missing but in some of the additions. There are far too many dialog-free scenes with the lovers laying or running through the woods together, several corny flashback sequences and a disappointing shortening of Bella’s getaway from Alice and Jasper that inevitably short changes the high-strung scene and rushes the ending. That being said, Hardwicke wrily infuses some much needed levity to several scenes in the film, in particular a sequence in Port Washington where Edward reveals that he can read minds to Bella and then proceeds to prove his ability by humorlessly outing the thoughts of fellow patrons at a restaurant (“sex, money, sex,…cats.”)

The film may not win new fans for the series, though the buzz surrounding it certainly could. But for the critics that really matter, the true Twihards, there are sure to be few complaints. Maybe a little overacted and with a sprinkling of cheesy special effects (the $37 million budget surely didn’t help in that department) but overall a faithful and heartwrenching transfer of the love story for a new generation of outcasts. And don’t they deserve it?

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