Twilight [2008] (movie)


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.


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…


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.


The Twilight Saga:

Twilight 2008

New Moon 2009

Eclipse 2010

Breaking Dawn – part 1 – 2011

Breaking Dawn – part 2 – 2012


25 thoughts on “Twilight [2008] (movie)

  1. Wow. That was a very open minded review. I’m impressed. Most people who have seen the movie without reading the books totally trash it. I’m pleased with this.

    I love Twilight SO much, and I am so tired of all the negative reviews from people who have never even read the books! Good job, you have proved to me that there are people out there that are open minded.

    Only one problem with this review. No pictures of Jasper! 😛

    • Twilight fans are impressing me with their intelligence and humor. Thanks for checking out my take. I am glad you enjoyed it.

      I may just have to go add a cap of Jasper now to “round it out”. 😉

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I like that you kept an open mind about the movie. The (Most of) Twifans know that the movie wasn’t the greatest but for us it was a Visual to everything about our favorite book that made us love it. We also know that some of the acting wasn’t the best. Hint: Kstew! You should read the first book. You may just like it too or better.

  3. Thanks for visiting us,and I’m glad you laughed :). I really enjoyed reading this review, as it’s unusual to find someone who has only seen the movie and not read the books. It’s so awesome you were able to keep an open mind and really see the movie for what it is. It was made mostly for fans of the books, which is why some stuff was left out. I strongly recommend reading the book because if you liked the movie, you will love the book and be able to pick up on all the little things that were missed. Then when you watch the movie again, you’ll be “in” on everything.

    Loved your observations about KStew and her acting. She didn’t really have to try to hard here, the second movie (New Moon) will be the test to see if she really has what it takes, since it is such a different story. I also hope to see more of the back story of the Cullen’s explained as the films go on.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. P.S- I wanted to tell you that you now have a nickname from all the Twilighters. You are now officially a “unicorn”, which is what we all call a guy who admits to liking Twilight, since they are so hard to find, much like the mythical creature (I believe the term was first coined over at Letters to Twilight, but I could be wrong about that).

    I just wanted to tell you in case you read about that somewhere else and had no clue what it meant 🙂

    • Thanks for two intelligent and thoughtful comments!

      BTW – A “unicorn” huh? I am glad you filled me in on that. Who knows what I might have otherwise thought! 😉

  5. Liked the review. Hilarious that you can really boil down Kristen Stewart’s performance to one facial expression.

    Haven’t seen the movie but I’m surrounded at work by about seven hardcore Twilight fans – all women, all fans of both the books and the movie.

    We seem to be saturated by vampires in pop culture these days…

  6. Hey dude – thanks for dropping by my blog! I like your review, although I agree with what a few others have said – it would definitely help to read at least the first book, so that you can fill in a lot of the gaps that had to be condensed for the sake of the movie. Also, I cracked up when I read your caption to the Alice picture with the Yoda quote! I’m a big Alice fan, so nice job – keep it up!

  7. Hey! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I like your take on the movie, you really reviewed it objectively. I totally agree with most of what you said! Kristen has One Look, much like Derek Zoolander, and I didn’t realize that until you said so, so now I am LOL’ing a bunch. Being a crazed Twi-fan I have watched the movie several times, and each time I love Rob’s performance more. It’s completely true that a lot of character development is left out, but he does a great job anyway. If you read the series the blanks are most definitely filled in.
    READ IT. 😉

  8. I am not a fan of Twilight. That being said, I will say right now that for the sake of not appearing as an uninformed bigmouth, I read the books and saw the movie. Speaking as a neutral semi-critic, I can agree with you that the movie was well-adapted to fit the book’s original storyline. And the author of the series was extremely happy with the final product. Who can argue with the creator, seriously?
    Speaking from a cinematic perspective (and I’m _such_ an expert in this field, you know *rolls eyes*) the effects weren’t overdone, the actors portrayed realistic mannerisms (considering a good sixty percent of the named cast was not human), and the score was gorgeous (I’m a music geek, can’t you tell?). The writers added a juicy peekaboo at the end, hinting at an impending sequel that obviously made many rabid fangirls quite happy. Fine by me.
    Personally, I find the best part of Twilight was the soundtrack. I love Paramore’s “Decode”. But that’s just me – a traditional view on vampires does wonders to cloud one’s vision. ^^;;

    • You are the most informed non-fan ever! You read all the books and saw the movie. What more do you need to qualify as a fan? Enjoy it? Ha.

      I will have to listen to the music more carefully because of your recommendation.

  9. I hated this miserable film, kept wishing Blade would show up and kill everyone, but I guess you’d never see him as he only kills ‘real’ vampires, not these poor imitations. No blood drinking as it was refered to as being ‘icky’ and don’t get me started on the glittering bullshit *sighs*

    • We appreciate your sentiment and dry humor.

      Yeah, when Edward said we needed to see how he “really” looked, we were expecting something hideous or horned, not, er — *sparkles*.

  10. Hello, Helina here, remember me? No? Aww too bad I love this site. Yes? YAY!!
    I cant believe i never commented this before.
    Well I just love the movie. More than New Moon in fact. I like the blueness it makes everyone quite equally pale so Edward or other vampires don’t look so unnatural that they would not fit in normal High school. As for the second movie he sometimes looks so pale everyone would be suspicions alsonI love this movie. Vampire movies where blood connstantly hits the camera really don’t thrill me. Yes, sparkling isn’t scary, but yet he could never go out in publi when its sunny. As for Kristen’s expression: SHE DOES IT IN EVERY MOVIE ( not just Twilight films) I used to didn’t like her at all, but she seems kind of sweet person in real life so i can’t dislike, but I don’t think she’s supreme great actor. As for Robert: He’s completely different in real life so if he gets to hide all his personality and become someone else I think he’s great actor.

    • It is refreshing to hear a Twilight fan have some similar ideas as we do. Thanks for weighing in Helina, we appreciate your opinion.

      You are right about the blueness. Seeing New Moon, we actually missed it along with a lot of the feel this first movie had. In New Moon Edward did stand out more.

      I do not necessarily thing Stewart is a bad person, perhaps she is not the most versatile actress; and certainly Bella Swan does not have a large range of expressions.

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

    You didn’t skip a beat. Loved the review. Hopefully eventually I’ll get to comment on almost everything. I don” approve off the book but this review regards it with exceptional grace and almost makes me look down on it…. favorably. But only by a bit. Although somehow….. Michael Jackson kept popping up in my mind………. I kept waiting for Billie Jean to kick in. 🙂 Maybe I’m just running a fever.

    ~ Loving this website~

    • We liked that line too about the eco-friendliness of tree leaping. We are gratified you are getting enjoyment out of our humor and our site Kyra Nyx. We hope it is not a fever. We hear the Pacific northwest has very cooling air for fevers – that is if you can stand the sparkles. Ha.

      We enjoyed that first Twilight movie, and that surprised us a little. However the series went downhill in our opinions.

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