TWILIGHT


2008

DIRECTOR: Catherine Hardwicke

My views on Twilight have been very varied since the films release back in 2008. I don’t think that I wanted to like a film, drenched in the angst of a teenage girl, selfishly believing that her loves, dreams and desires were of such great impertinence that they world should simply stop spinning until they are fulfilled.

 But as time has pasted and as we’re now on the cusp of greeting the first part of the final story, Breaking Dawn Part 1, in cinema’s,  and after several viewings most of which encouraged by my wife, I must admit that my initial review of 6/10, then 7/10, my views of this film just keep getting better and better.

Angst isn’t the word when describing Twilight’s breed of teenage pain. This is soaked in Bella’s dark and brooding views on life and love and when she falls head over heals in love with Edward, the vampire, we are taken on a girls journey of  self discovery as she learns that in the world according to Twilight, love is about sacrifice. Not the sacrifice of time or though trips to the pub with your mates but actual, Gothic sacrifice of lives and feelings.

This is not a review as such, for that read on to the original below but my views have changed for the better as even though this is NOT the best view of an independent woman in a new world, this is still truer to its own sensibilities than I originally gave it credit for and its visual style and crisp sound design draw you into the world of Twilight and the sleepy, cloudy Washington town of Folks.

ORIGINAL REVIEW – NOVEMBER 2009

6/10

Then… 7/10

The Twilight Saga began in 2008 with a collection of trailers and hype surrounding the adaptation of a series of novels about two star crossed lovers. Original or not, the popularity of the source material was not in dispute but myself and many others outside the target demographic were at a loss as what all the fuss was about.

We’ve all seen angst ridden vampire film and TV series before and it seems we can hardly turn on the telly or go to the multiplex without seeing a young woman pleading with a  hunky vamp to drink her dry!

But this was actually different that I expected. Going by the trailer, it appeared that we were going to be exposed to yet another girl meets vampire, vampire is gorgeous yet brooding, girl is smart yet sulking, and the pair would be running for their lives/deaths, from a seriously hard and sadistic vamp.

While we did get all this in the final movie, the focus was somewhat different. The terminator style vampire was nothing to be that bothered about as he was dispatched in moments after very little torture of his victim.

The peril, whilst in place, was almost dismissed in favour of its preferred plot, that melodramatic love story of our two leads. I was actually very pleased to see that it was classic melodrama rather than an angst teen flick, but I did find it hard to get behind the moody Bella and the brooding Edward, as they just seemed to be too intense for the tone of the film.

The vamp family was okay, but too tame and nice and seeming to be more a kin to the Brady Bunch that Vlad the impaler. I did like the disjointed relationship between Bella and her father though, and the nice and extensive set up for New Moon.

The look of the film was darker and grittier than I had expected, with edgy camerawork and washed out colours, lending to the overall tone. But the music left me too cold. The indie tracks were fine but the main score was disappointing and quite frankly boring.

I have to admit that too agree with the argument that the film in misogynistic, and casts Bella squarely in the role of a submissive female. This isn’t all bad in itself, but the scene in the hospital where she defends her injuries by claiming the either fell down the stairs or something to that effect was a little disturbing. Using the excuse of a battered wife was taking the subject matter in to a rather uncomfortable area.

I have no problem with the films tone in Bella ‘s submissive role, or her lies to cover in injuries per say, but this film is aimed at a young audience and in many ways, it defies my golden rule, that a film should know what it is about, or what it’s trying to say, and I feel that a mainstream movie like this, should not be playing with topics such as spousal abuse, or submissive women in key roles, even in a metaphorical way.

This should be left to more adult films.

Overall, this was a good film, and one that I would watch again, but I would not be running back to the DVD shelf for it. Though it did do a lot better than I expected, and I would certainly want to see the sequel.

(Reviewed – November 2009)

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