Can a movie that is marketed to tweens and revolves around vampires and teen lust appeal to a grown woman?
Having a tween daughter who read the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyers, I read them too. I enjoyed the books and appreciate them for what they are. And my daughter, having read the books had to see the movie. We saw it together over the weekend. Would the movie version live up to her expectations, would it live down to mine?
Twilight won the weekend box office with a $70.6 mil debut gross, according to Sunday’s estimates. Twilight, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, is the top debut ever for a film directed by one woman. It’s the 29th best first-weekend show of all time (falling just shy of 300’s $70.9 mil and coming in just ahead of Transformers’ $70.5 mil). It stands as the fourth biggest premiere of the year — better than Quantum of Solace’s $67.5 mil opening, better than WALL-E’s $63.1 mil, and better than Hancock’s $62.6 mil.
The studio has announced that they’ll go forward with the sequel, New Moon, much to the delight of Twilight fans. It’s already in the works.
Twilight, the movie, has found its target audience and has sunk its teeth in. But where will Twilight go from here? With its core audience sold and all the attendant buzz and positive word of mouth, I’m sure that Twilight will be able to build on its record-smashing start. It’s perfectly poised for the Thanksgiving weekend.
My daughter’s initial review of the movie can be summed up with one acronym, one word and two exclamation points:
My review? I found parts of this movie unintentionally funny. Most of the
scenes where Edward is fighting his desire for Bella affected me that way, but especially the
scene in which Edward fights his demonic drug-like addiction to the delicious Bella while sucking her wrist to remove poison from another vampire’s bite to her wrist. Robert Pattinson achieves an almost cross-eyed look of soulful turmoil as he must simultaneously suck her
blood and fight the desire to drain her bloodless.
While the cinematography of the film was lushly beautiful, the storytelling was uneven and left me unsatisfied. The special effects were unimpressive and would have been at home in a made-for-TV movie.
From the larger issues mentioned — to little things like wigs and
teeth: I found the wigs that some of the actors sported distracting;
found myself wondering if weaves would not have been better. I was
especially distracted by Taylor Lautner’s wig. Taylor Lautner plays
Jacob, and does so charmingly. It’s too bad that whenever he is
onscreen, his bad wig and blindingly bright white teeth are trying to
steal the scene.
With the above considerations and having read the book , my five word summary? The book is infinitely better (and that is said with the caveat that the book itself is rife with objectionable messages and questionable modeing.)
Since our after-discussion of the movie, my daughter has (I’m happy to report) revised her opinion and actually agrees with me (happiness is mine!)
Other Twilight reviews
I agree with Justin Chang at Variety who says, “[Director Catherine] Hardwicke
can’t get inside the head of her young protagonist, Isabella ‘Bella’
Swan (Kristen Stewart); consequently, Bella’s decision to get hot and
heavy with a hot-and-hungry vampire, far from seeming like an act of
mad, transgressive passion, comes across as merely stupid and
ill-considered. The result is a supernatural romance in which the
supernatural and romantic elements feel rushed, unformed and
insufficiently motivated, leaving audiences with little to do but shrug
and focus on the eye-candy.”
Slate says “Twilight is a story about pining for the one person you can, and
should, never have, and who among us hasn’t at least once experienced
that vampiric craving? As a life lesson for teenage girls, Twilight
(excuse the pun) sucks. As a parable for the dark side of female
desire, it’s weirdly powerful.”
Here’s a review by Roger Ebert and here are opinions from critics around the country, via Rottentomatoes.com:
“Twilight is silly and melodramatic and hard to dislike in much
the same way as its target audience, with a distinctly teenage sense of
” Not that Twilight’s fate hangs on intelligibility. It hangs on
fangs that aren’t bared, and on a bloodlust that isn’t indulged.”
— Wall Street Journal
“Twilight works as both love story and vampire story, thanks mainly to the performances of its principals.”
— Washington Post
“My advice: Focus on Pattinson and Stewart. They make you understand why the books sold 17 million copies.”
— Peter Travers Rolling Stone
“Gothic wooziness stifles many of Hardwicke’s lighter impulses,
such as her knack for jiving humor in scenes among friends and family.
And some of the more cartoonishly gymnastic CG stunts look plain silly.”
— Amy Biancolli Houston Chronicle
“With its vapor-thin plot and goofy gimmicks (game of vampire
baseball, anyone?), Twilight seems best left to its impressionable
— Rafer Guzman Newsday
“Meyer is said to have been involved in the production of
Twilight, but her novel was substantially more absorbing than the
unintentionally funny and quickly forgettable film.”
— Claudia Puig USA Today
“Catherine Hardwicke’s choppy direction plays all this much too
seriously. The film lacks the clarity and cleverness that might have
ameliorated the campier moments.”
— Nancy Churnin Dallas Morning News
“Sometimes sensitive and often silly.”
— Rick Groen Globe and Mail