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Awesome: 17.76%
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5 reviews, 77 user ratings

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Twilight (2008)
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Let My Blood Open The Door To Your Heart"
1 stars

As the end credits of “Twilight” finally began to roll, the soundtrack may have featured another one of the vaguely unlistenable emo-like tunes that had been featured throughout the film, but the only song I could hear in my head was the immortal Peggy Lee classic “Is That All There Is?” Granted, having never read the enormously popular novel from Stephenie Meyer that it has been adapted from, I didn’t really come into the screening with any other expectations other than the ones generated by the months of pre-release hype that have tried to position the film as both the natural successor to the Harry Potter franchise (a comparison that became even more forced when the new Potter film was postponed until next summer and this one immediately claimed its coveted release date) and the hot new fad for 14-year-old girls of all ages. That said, whatever my expectations may or may not have been, I certainly never dreamed that the end result would be a so-called vampire movie that was actually a painfully dull and wretchedly produced mess in which nothing much of anything happens outside of one incredibly inarticulate and half-complete conversation after another between two of the dullest and most lifeless characters in recent memory (and only one had the excuse of actually being lifeless), an actual vampire-related plot conflict that finally arrives three-fourths of the way through and is dispensed with in about fifteen minutes and a finale that takes place at prom--not an attack at prom, mind you, but a straightforward prom finale that could have come straight out of the trim bin from “Pretty in Pink.” This is what has had its target audience atwitter with anticipation for months? For their sake, I can only hope that their precious tome has been unmercifully butchered in its trip from the page to the screen because if this disaster actually is faithful to its source novel, then what that says about the collective taste of its rabid fan base is too unspeakably depressing to contemplate.

The film stars Kristen Stewart, a young actress who has appeared in many excellent films in the past and who will hopefully do so again in the future, as Bella Swan, a 16-year-old girl who, as the story opens, is moving from sunny Phoenix to a grey and drizzly small town in Washington where her dad (Billy Burke) is the chief of police. For no particular reason that I can think of except to cozy up to the story’s target audience, Bella sees herself as a loner and an outsider but since she looks exactly like Kristen Stewart, she quickly becomes the hot new person on campus and the guys are throwing themselves at her left and right to ask her to prom. Because she is so delicate and fragile and outsiderish, she ignores all of their advances but she does find herself intrigued by another classmate, the mysterious Edward Cullen (hunk du jour Robert Pattinson), one of the five foster children adopted by friendly neighborhood doctor Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli). Being the intuitive sort, Bella senses that there is something strange and mysterious about Edward and his family that she can’t quite put her finger on. Maybe it is the way that they pretty much isolate themselves from the other students. Maybe it is the way that they all suddenly seem to disappear whenever the perpetual fog that hangs above them burns away to reveal actual sunshine. Maybe it is the fact that all the Cullens are sporting enough white makeup on their faces so as to be indistinguishable from the White Chicks and dress as though they about to form a Cure cover band.

Before anyone can bust out with a tortured rendition of “Boys Don’t Cry” (a notion more terrifying than anything on display here), Edward saves Bella from both a car crash and an attempted rape with seemingly superhuman powers and, combined with his ice-cold skin and his apparent refusal to eat or drink normal food, it finally begins to dawn on Bella that Edward is actually a vampire--an extraordinarily wussy vampire, to be sure (he will only drink the blood of animals, has dutifully gone to different high schools for nearly a century in order to keep up the ruse that he is a normal 17-year-old teenager and is so instantly attracted to Bella despite knowing that they can never been together that he seems to go through mood swings every three minutes), but a vampire all the same. Of course, by this time, Bella is totally crushing on him and the revelation that he is a bloodsucking freak, albeit one with dreamy eyes, doesn’t seem to bother her in the least. Before too long, the two are in love--though in a version so chaste that the PG-13 rating is never remotely threatened--and Edward even brings her home to meet his family, nearly all of whom welcome him with open arms and closed veins. (you still get the sense that one sister, played by Nikki Reed, still sees her as a walking juice box) Hell, they even invite her along to participate in a family baseball game that takes an ugly turn when a trio of wandering vampires that have been snacking on the local populace happen along and the creepy leader (Cam Gigandet) gets a whiff of Bella and decides that she will be his next snack. Of course, that will be over Edward’s dead body, a threat that takes on a new meaning when the person uttering it actually is dead in the first place. Oops, I almost forgot to mention the hunkier members local Indian tribe, supposedly descended from wolves, who pop up every now and then to offer vague portents and engage in gripping rounds of Stare-Eyes with Edward and his ilk. Then again, the movie pretty much forgets about them as well.

By giving audiences a take on the vampire myth laced with healthy doses of teen angst, the makers of “Twilight” are hoping to give viewers something that they have never experienced before--presuming, of course, that they somehow managed to miss all seven seasons of the masterful TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” not to mention any number of films running the gamut from the 1958 drive-in near-classic “Brides of Dracula” to Eighties kitsch like “Fright Night” and “The Lost Boys.” What separates these titles (even “The Lost Boys,” a film to which I have never demonstrated any particular allegiance) from “Twilight” is that they at least seemed vaguely interested in exploring the notion of vampirism and its relationship to the trials and tribulations of adolescence--what respectable teen wouldn’t want to live forever, stay up all night doing whatever they wanted and have the ability to sweep anyone they desired off their feet with nothing more than an alluring glance and a little nip on the neck? By comparison, the vampiric conceit here seems more like a gimmick that the movie has virtually no interest in dealing with. Oh sure, it dismisses many of the standard tropes of vampire legend--our hunky bloodsucker has no fangs, can walk around during the day (provided it is overcast) and resides in a large, airy and window-festooned mansion that would make Bill Gates green with envy instead of a dark, coffin-festooned castle--but it fails to replace them with any notions of how an immortal creature might go about living in contemporary society. By doing all this, the film makes the fatal mistake of removing all of the potential danger that Edward’s character, despite his laughably staged torments, represents to Bella--as seen here, it would appear that she needs to worry less about him unleashing his bloodthirsty urges upon her and more about the possibility of him giving her mono. Worse yet, the absurdly self-serious tone of the whole enterprise means that the film doesn’t even have a little fun with the notion of a vampire attending high school--I kept hoping for a scene in history class where Edward kept interrupting the teacher’s lecture by telling him that isn’t how he remembers it. Nope, the vampires here are so bland and unthreatening that they play baseball in order to fit in and when the class goes on a field trip, they even remember to bring their permission slips. Even better, when they are exposed to sunlight, they don’t melt or burn up--their skin instead takes on the semblance of glittering diamonds and makes them look even more impossibly beautiful than before. Permission slips, pop flies and skin that looks like a Bob Mackie special--that is what the vampires in “Twilight” have to offer us. Not only would I take “The Lost Boys” over these losers, I would probably take the gang from the direct-to-video “Lost Boys” sequel as well.

Of course, one could argue, not unreasonably, that “Twilight” is not necessarily meant to be a vampire movie in the classic sense and that the real point of the story is the star-crossed romance between two young lovers who can’t stop being really, really fond of each other despite their profound differences. The only problem with that is the inescapable fact that as bad as it is as a vampire movie, it is even worse as a star-crossed romance. Simply put, the characters of Bella and Edward are two of the dimmest bulbs to be put at the center of a movie in quite some time and the already perilously thin story suffers even further as a result. Both of them are dull as dishwater, have virtually no personality to speak off and even as their relationship allegedly grows deeper and deeper, both seem remarkably incurious about the other. If you were Bella, for example, aren’t there a million questions about the day-to-day workings of life as a vampire that you might want to know about? If you were Edward, wouldn’t you be interested in knowing what would cause a seemingly normal girl to keep coming back for more even after discovering that her beloved is a bloodsucker? And yet, neither of them seem to display any real interest in each other and as a result, all of the stuff that we hear about the instant and powerful attraction between the two of them strains credibility to the breaking point--had Edward really spent the last century looking for a girl just as dull as he is? Adding to the problem is the equally inescapable fact that there is absolutely no chemistry whatsoever between the two leads--the usually invigorating Stewart is so dull and listless here that it feels as if she had be whacked with a two-by-four before every take while the blandly pretty Pattinson changes personalities in virtually every scene without ever finding one that fits. Together, they strike zero sparks together and since the entire film--the entire saga, in fact--hinges almost entirely on how the two come off together, their listlessness pretty much dooms the entire enterprise right from the start. Maybe things pick up a little bit in the future stories but based on the evidence here, these two convey all the grand passion and excitement of Frankie and Annette during a beach closing.

“Twilight” was directed by Catherine Hardwicke and while the storyline fits closely enough into the troubled teen milieu that she has explored in her previous films (“Thirteen,” “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and “The Nativity Story”) to presumably explain how she got the gig, the end results are so embarrassingly bad, even by her less-than-august body of work, that it solidifies her reputation as one of the weakest American filmmakers working today. Forget everything that I have previously said about the failings of the film’s story and characters--for all I know, those were flaws inherent in the original novel that screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg inexplicably decided to retain so as not to anger the fan base. Taken simply as an example of cinematic storytelling craft, “Twilight” is amateur hour from start to finish. On a technical level, it is a botch--the special effects are startlingly amateurish and the vampire makeup is so shockingly bad that the efforts found in your average high school production of “Dracula” would put it to shame (and having actually appeared in a decidedly average high school production of “Dracula,” I can personally verify this claim). Hardwicke also makes the Level One mistake of trying to cover up for her dramatic inadequacies by throwing in incessant camera movements in order to juice up scenes that aren’t working--as badly done as the key scene in which Edward admits to Bella about being a vampire, it is made worse by having the camera spiraling around them so rapidly that it feels as though the camera operators challenged each other to a De Palma-off in the middle of shooting the sequence in order to stave off boredom. Okay, not every indie-bred director has a grand visual scheme but even the smaller and more character-driven moments, the stuff that Hardwicke should have mastered by this point, are just as bad--these scenes come across as hopelessly stagy, molasses slow and nearly all of them feel as if they have been weirdly truncated in the middle at the last minute in a desperate effort to move things along. I’m not saying that hiring a more naturally brilliant filmmaker would have helped make a silk purse out of this particular sow’s ear would have helped much in the end but even a property as silly as “Twilight” deserves better direction than this.

Last week, you may recall, I reviewed a Swedish film entitled “Let the Right One In” that is slowly making its way across the country. Like “Twilight,” it deals with vampires and like “Twilight,” it also deals with a couple of young people who find themselves thunderstruck with the pangs of first love even after it is revealed that one of them is a card-carrying member of the undead. The difference between the two is that while “Twilight” only pretends to deal with those ideas, “Let the Right One In” handles them in fascinating and strangely complex ways that allows the film to work as a powerful and touching romantic drama while still containing plenty of genuinely spooky moments to boot. If you live in a city in which both films are playing and you care at all about seeing a real film instead of the culmination of an expensive ad campaign, you owe it to yourself to spend your time and money on “Let the Right One In” and leave “Twilight” to the 14-year-olds. If, on the other hand, you decide to go along with “Twilight,” then you are a fool who is going to get exactly what you deserve--a film that wants to be this generation’s “Titanic” but which can’t even muster up the raw power to work as this generation’s “Blood and Chocolate.”

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17385&reviewer=389
originally posted: 11/21/08 00:00:00
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell teeny bopper crap 1 stars
1/27/16 Taylor Love this film! 5 stars
2/14/15 jason gracio this movie for girl, children, retarded people and geek like harry fucking potter movies 1 stars
11/13/14 Thomas Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 2 stars
11/10/14 Derek What's the last date I can post this to to arrive in time for Christmas? <a href=" h 5 stars
11/09/14 Charlie Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 5 stars
11/09/14 Amia What's the last date I can post this to to arrive in time for Christmas? <a href=" h 4 stars
10/23/14 Charlotte Cool site goodluck :) <a href=" ">how much does bimatoprost cost</a> The new Explore feat 5 stars
3/22/12 maxomai somewhere between paint drying and "wtf am I watching." 1 stars
10/13/11 ashley rexrode love this movie 5 stars
4/29/11 art I EAT MY WORD"S from last year,THIS IS AN EXCELLENT FABLE! 5 stars
2/22/11 Joey Something of a small masterpiece in the romance novel genre. 5 stars
12/13/10 sandra dee a awesome movie based on a great book with a wonderful romance. 5 stars
11/28/10 hunt a cool vampire romance flick with cool action and making out. 4 stars
11/28/10 car a epic gothic romance with cool effects and a decent story 4 stars
11/11/10 Lundon how anyone can enjoy this movie i'll never know very slow not a whole lot happens 1 stars
9/04/10 anjana twilight is a good teenage love story.i love edward 5 stars
6/17/10 art PLAY"S better as a DIME NOVEL,rathr than a NIGHTMARE movie! 1 stars
5/26/10 Daniel Well directed considering the material. Beautifully shot in a Goth way. 4 stars
3/16/10 LP Quagmire Gas-passing vampires are no fun. 1 stars
2/10/10 amanunsa cool man 5 stars
1/20/10 Stanley Thai A timeless romance with vampires. The performances are great! 4 stars
12/27/09 jcanthony The reviewer's right-rent Buffy. There's nothing original here. 1 stars
12/20/09 amy Pretty good. It was better than I had expected. Judge for yourself. 4 stars
12/15/09 TheGreatMillz33 All I can say is that Twilight as a whole is a great dissapointment. 1 stars
12/13/09 Sakes Twilight rocks. Edward is deliciously good and amazing with his emotions. Great deep movie 5 stars
12/10/09 Lucas Twilight is complete garbage. You want a REAL vampire book? Go read something of Ann Rice's 1 stars
11/28/09 nora wazwaz WHO EVER HATES TWILIGHT IS A NUB!! I LOVE THE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/26/09 art OVERRATED JUNK! 1 stars
11/23/09 Albert Valentin It is a pretty good movie with dark tones and a tragic romance 4 stars
11/21/09 FrankNFurter Kristen Stewart is the worst actress.Ever.Makes a corpse look too enthusiastic. 1 stars
11/19/09 ronald Holst great If you are very young and love Vampires 3 stars
11/18/09 Stewie Mills and Boon for Generation 'Y' 1 stars
11/16/09 millersxing twits 3 stars
10/18/09 auzzie chickie the book? Awesome. The movie? Awful! To save from let down watch the movie first. 1 stars
10/14/09 art THIS IS FOR LITTLE KID"S! 1 stars
9/06/09 art PURE COMIC-BOOK DRIEVEL! 1 stars
9/05/09 CTT If CW ever made a vampire story... 2 stars
7/26/09 Arsenic More boring than watching paint dry. I gave up halfway and snuck into a different movie 1 stars
6/17/09 jurisprudence terrible 1 stars
6/02/09 Matt This making 200 fucking mil is everything that's wrong with America. i havent even seen it 1 stars
5/31/09 art "YEAH I REALLY DUG THIS YARN" 1 stars
5/28/09 Bobby the Critic hehehe...bob 2 stars
5/01/09 kali super 5 stars
4/13/09 Dion Stewart has charisma on screen. DIrector got the tone of the movie right to the book. 4 stars
3/30/09 Dani O. Mah naemz Bella n I preeeeetty n I mov 2 small town n make out w/ sparklee vamp-boy. *puke* 1 stars
3/28/09 Eric Stewart & Pattinson pretty good, but overall the movie didn't live up to the hype. 3 stars
3/26/09 Amy Boring. Stupid fake makeup. Bad special effects. Why are all the boys wearing lipstick? 2 stars
3/22/09 eidy V Not what I was expecting never have read the book, but nice flick for a date. nice overall. 4 stars
2/04/09 Rio Twilight is film's answer to the Jonas Brothers. Sucks, but sells with stupid fangirls. 1 stars
2/01/09 Ashley It was suckish.The book was WAYYYYYYYY better 1 stars
1/08/09 Samiijo German the best movie i ever seen ! honestly the book was better, but i still love the movie. :} 5 stars
1/04/09 Koko I have never read the books. After seeing the movie, I really don't want to. 1 stars
12/18/08 Morgan hopelessly dissapointing. no chemistry. krud acting. 2 stars
12/15/08 Cesceli This Movie Is the best Movie i have ever seen in yeqars.I lOve how you write your books, it 5 stars
12/04/08 Joan Lunden What a waste of money. I could have spent it on a new black dildo. 1 stars
11/28/08 Rebekah I absolutely loved it! 5 stars
11/28/08 Kat You're all nuts. Best comedy I've seen all year. 5 stars
11/27/08 littlered this movie rocks. everyone should see it! 5 stars
11/27/08 Rachel Rigodon Don't do it! Stay away! 2 stars
11/26/08 Jonathan Why watch "Twilight" when we've got "True Blood" on HBO? 2 stars
11/23/08 Nicole your review is so accurate it's scary 1 stars
11/23/08 Obi Wan What kinda vampire movie has vamps with no fangs?! 2 stars
11/22/08 AJ Muller Not completely horrible but nowhere near GOOD; can't deny any faults mentioned either. 2 stars
11/21/08 Hailey Incredible review. I feel enlightened. 1 stars
11/21/08 Lauren Hilarious review. This is pretty much everything I've hated about the series, put on screen 1 stars
11/21/08 Raul Valdez Jr This movie is for the book fans not really for those who are horror fans. 4 stars
11/21/08 Evan Wow that review rocked. Let The Right One in is way superior. Great book and movie. 1 stars
11/21/08 Andy I'm really not that surprised. Poorly written book, poorly constructed movie. 1 stars
11/21/08 Kate A lot of the problems you had with the movie are problems that are found in the book. 1 stars
11/21/08 Maria From your review alone, it sounds insanely faithful to its source material. 2 stars
11/21/08 jes A big disappointment 2 stars
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  21-Nov-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 21-Mar-2009



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