Twilight [2008] (movie)

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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.

Scary look?  Check.  Pale skin?  Check.  Red lips?  Check.  Does not show up when sunny?  Check.  If only his classmates could have put together such difficult clues!

Edward:  Scary look? Check. Pale skin? Check. Red lips? Check. Does not show up when it is sunny? Check. If only his classmates could have put these cryptic clues together!

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.

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a chevy van sliding on ice.

Bella & Edward:  Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than …a Chrysler mini-van sliding on ice?

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.

Sure leaping from tree to tree is exhilarating, but is it eco-friendly?

Bella & Edward:  Sure leaping from tree to tree is exhilarating, but is it eco-friendly?

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.

You could swear that you have seen Billy Burke play the laconic/Tom Skerritt/country sherriff part many times before.

Charlie Swan:  You could swear that you have seen Billy Burke play the laconic/Tom Skerritt/country sheriff part many times before.

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.

Alice finds, like Yoda before her, that "always in motion is the future".

Alice finds, like Yoda before her, that “always in motion is the future”.  (Also that the future is very “blue”, much like the present. Blue filters for everyone!)

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.

See how tortured he is? "If only you knew how I really look." We do know. You sparkle in a way that would make junior high girls, anime cosplayers ...and crossing guards jealous.

Edward:  See how tortured he is? “If only you knew how I really look.” We do know. You sparkle in a way that would make junior high girls, anime cosplayers …and crossing guards jealous.

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.

There is again.  The expression is harder NOT to find.  But at least it is fetching.

Bella:  There it is again. The expression is harder NOT to find. But at least it is fetching.

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.

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Carlisle strikes a great Babe Ruth pose in this well crafted shot.

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”.

Not quite a post credit "Skeletor", but nearly so.  And it clearly said without words, "I'll be back!"

Not quite a post credit “Skeletor”, but nearly so.  And what it clearly said about Victoria without words was, “I’ll be back!”

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-

By the way, just in case you did not believe me about that expression...

Bella:  Epilogue;  By the way, just in case you did not believe me about that expression…

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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.

Note the slight Dutch angle.

Jasper:  Note the slight Dutch angle.

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The Twilight Saga:

Twilight 2008

New Moon 2009

Eclipse 2010

Breaking Dawn – part 1 – 2011

Breaking Dawn – part 2 – 2012