None of us in the Fortress have read the Twilight novels; we approached this film with a blank slate. This take is based on the film alone.
Twilight feels a like an indie production, and we do not mean that in a bad way. The film charted its own course; its own style. We respect that. Twilight also comes across like a book adaptation. Once again, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Movies based on books often have to condense material. You could tell that the characters had more to them than was depicted on screen. Also the number of characters, even reduced was more than average screenplays written exclusively for movies.
One of the actors said vampires are a good metaphor for human anxiety and life. This is true for “good” vampires. Characters like Angel, Mr. Data or any robot/non-human who has ever longed to be human. They miss or miss out on the essential things we take for granted. While many viewers may initially long for these vampire powers, one is eventually supposed to realize the price is too high.
However this film may not have featured the high price clearly. When romance is added, things get less clear. When it is teenage romance, things let downright muddy. “Wouldn’t it be great to live forever, stay young and be in love?” That fantasy runs smack into today’s Pacific northwest setting, and real life.
If being a vampire was so great and each one turned a human… well, you can see where that would eventually lead. A world full of starving vampires. To the film’s credit, none of the vampires were portrayed as terribly happy. Some smiled on the outside, but all were tortured by the hunger or constant pursuit.
Now for the patented Fortress one sentence synopsis: In a world with secret vampires a group that refuses to feed on humans finds one of its young males in love with a human girl who will eventually be pursued by bad vampires intent on her death and wrestle with becoming a vampire herself to be with her love. Breathe in.
Mind you these ain’t your mamma’s vampires. Twilight‘s versions need to be dismembered and burned to be killed, not just staked through the heart. Sunlight only makes them sparkle like a Winx Club fairy; an interesting idea to soften them.
The acting was consistently low-key. Good guy, bad guy, vampire and human all lived a subdued life. While female lead actress Kristen Stewart did a good job, she only had to master that “look of quiet wonder and curiosity” with her mouth slightly open. Really. Watch the film and notice that she wears a variant of this expression 93.2% of the film.
Unlike some book fans, we found Robert Pattinson’s “Edward” adequately portrayed with no adjustment. (Although we admit portraying an established romantic character can be an uphill battle.) We found the leader of the good vampire group, Carlisle to be an intriguing character along with the dark haired future seer Alice. There is more to their stories in the future we are sure.
The filmmakers purposely relied heavily on the hand held camera. While this made the film feel lower budget it added the desired feeling of “realness”.
Important to us at the Fortress was treating the book with respect (and we do not even read this series!) Thankfully the book Twilight was not bastardized by most accounts. It is not a film version of every single page, but it is a movie which faithfully represents the careful pace and feel of this romantic-fantasy novel. -end-
PS – This screen cap is for teamjalice who left a nice comment, liked the post, but noticed Jasper was missing. I am sure Jasper will play more of a roll in the future, and I hope he gets a better hairstylist for the second movie. I have to say he seemed most at ease in the baseball scene.