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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Twilight

Apologies to anyone who is reading this review and believes that it is rushed and not that good. You are probably correct in making these assumptions, but nonetheless I wish to get that off of my chest to improve your dispositions. Alrighty then, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years (I must confess to being one of them, having only heard of the series as of late), Twilight is a vampire romance novel which has spawned a very successful series, captivating teenagers around the world. Having not been originally indulged in the ways of the books, I did not come into the movie with a fanboy mentality, and thus I feel I got the best out of reviewing the film. Okay, story goes that Bella Swan moves in with her dad, starts anew in a different school, and is entranced by Edward Cullen, a handsome young man who is nonetheless evidently mysterious, and turns out, in fact, to be a vampire. Now, that should come as no spoiler to anyone watching the movie, and if you didn’t know that you would be best crawling back under your metaphorical rock, if you get what I mean. To start off with the positives of the film, personally I feel that the best thing that the film has going for it is the central romance. The central romance is what brought so many people towards the original novel, and thus transplanting this from novel to film would be vital. Whenever the central romance works well, and it does so brilliantly, you realise just how necessary those casting sessions were in pre-production. Kristen Stewart is great as Bella Swan, doing a great, mature job of playing the more subtle role of the protagonist. It is easy to believe in her as the lead, creating a perfectly relatable character and tour guide into the mystery world of vampires. She is our muse, and with her we are guided into this world. Think of it look a museum tour. She is the guide. A museum tour, as good as the exhibits are, can be awful if we have a bad guide. With this film, it is not the case. Also, in a brilliant casting decision, Robert Pattinson suitably fills the shoes of Edward Cullen. His looks have a certain overworldly quality whenever you look at him in the movie, and his role, while being more showy than that of Stewart, is filled with the subtleties that are generally absent from that of a snarling vampire. You can sense the angst from underneath him, making him too relatable in that respect. The irony in his character is pulled off in the fact that this is a character who young girls, like Bella, will fall in love, despite the fact he is, as he says, a bloodsucking monster. He strong and fast, yet completely emotionally vulnerable at the same time. When both of the leads are acting in unison, it creates some genuinely touching moments. This is backed up by Catherine Hardwicke, who uses an interesting style to back it up. Despite being the subject matter of fantasy, the film is firmly entrenched in reality, thus making the film more believable to the audience. Now, it must be said, that as good as the film is with its positives, that at times it is a very weak piece. For example, as I’m sure anyone reading thus or otherwise informed knows that this is the first of a series of adaptations. As the origin story of a franchise, unlike Iron Man, which was limited in many respects, the limitations of the origin story once again become every prominent. In this film, it is even more prominent than examples such as Iron Man. I thought that The Incredible Hulk made a genius move in getting rid of that flak in the opening credits, enabling the film-makers to do as they please, even if it wasn’t a great film. With Twilight, lingering problems become glowing flaws. Despite never reading the book, perhaps compressing a five-hundred page book to a two hour film wasn’t the wisest idea, even if it meant more money. Because of these compressions, it becomes this is this, this is that, whenever you should be wowed by the intricacies of plot. Although I'm not a fan of the Harry Potter films, for these films they gave the original book a two-and-a-half hour movie, and it seems with a book of this length that they have omitted some of the better plot details in order to commercialise it to a larger audience. And yes, here I go once again, sitting on my barstool, winging about scripts, but once again, here there is some great justification in what I have to say. The compression of the novel seems to me that in the transplanted script that the film is merely designed to get from A to B. The villains of the piece are pretty poor it must be said, for example, lead villain vampire James gets what seems to be ten minutes or less onscreen. He is a nothing character and then later on he becomes a bit of a voyeur to say the least. Why he is there we do not know, all we know is that what dear old handome Edward Pattinson (no error, on purpose) has on his hands Peeping Tom with fangs. This is a franchise that has so much going for it cinematically in my opinion, and I feel that they could definitely make a better sequel, pulled free from the limitations of introductions, origins et al. The only masterpiece in my opinion that pulled off this big franchise origin story off is Batman Begins. My advice you ask? Hire Jonathan Nolan, not the same person who scribed Step Up. Anyway, post rant, if you can get past the film's quite obvious flaws, there is much to enjoy. There is a genuine heart in the film, with a very touching romance at the center, the next chapter of which I personally would love to see. However, scratch this film. It's done and dusted. I believe that it is time to make a far greater sequel.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.8/10

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