Twilight, A Cult Film Phenomena

twilightOkay people… for those of you who are as intrigued by the vampire genre as I have been over the years [I simply adored Dark Shadows and Barnabas Collins]… Twilight is not necessarily a “cookie cutter” film… It certainly isn’t Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the television series, Dear God… NOT the movie). But it is a stand alone sort of film with an interesting, if not downright romantic point of view rarely explored by the genre… Thursday night, I was one of the select privileged few to have been invited to an advanced screening of the much anticipated and hyped film. I will say that the film itself is cinematically sound, directed rather artistically and aesthetically, and has a wonderful ensemble of young actors. Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) and Kristin Stewart (Bella Swan) carried the film rather well. The connection between them felt honorable and even a bit karmic and spiritual, enough for everyone who read the books to feel that unexplained longing… tugging away gently at their hearts. And therein lies the film’s enduring “bite”… Twilight will probably be a huge disappointment to those expecting a horror film, a ton of CGI effects, a kinky, sexual vampire flick or any combination of these. More time during this film is spent talking about going to the prom than drinking human blood… and that’s as it should be. The climactic battle takes place in a ballet studio.

And for the legion of increasingly rabid fans who have consumed Stephenie Meyer’s books whole, this entertaining adaptation provides at least three films worth of teen angst, dreamy good looks and scintillatingly-skinned vampires who glisten with allure. Although you may not get sucked into the world of Twilight instantaneously… after viewing this movie, you will at least come to understand what all the fuss is about. Twilight was filmed with a relatively small budget, which may have been the perfect scenario for this project. Catherine Hardwicke, director of the underrated “Lords of Dogtown,” has a true knack for making her young actors seem unpolished and real, even when the events from the book and the dialogue are inherently hard to believe. This courtesy also extends to the adults in the film, who are rarely inane, naive or mean. Bella’s small town sheriff dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), is a pleasant cross between Harry Dean Stanton in Pretty in Pink and Andy Griffith. Although this film will seem a tad bit tumescent to newcomers… as the plot kicks into gear somewhat slowly; Twilight never has the rushed or stilted feel of a 500-page book that’s been adapted into a two-hour plus feature film. Small things might appear to be missing, but considering the number of characters introduced and all of the themes that are impeccably explored, it’s a credit to Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg that the film remains extremely coherent throughout (something all too rare in this industry).

A Strong Editorial Advisory: This movie contains some violence and sensuality. This material also attracts packs of girls with extremely high-pitched voices, who will scream every time their favorite character comes onscreen. Bring a good set of earplugs, or sit at least six rows away from anyone female between the ages of 12 and 15. Trust me, you’ll thank me for telling you.

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~ by upbeatmag on November 23, 2008.

One Response to “Twilight, A Cult Film Phenomena”

  1. I’m sure it’s a good flick for a teen romance, but it doesn’t call to me. Currently, my favorite vampire flick is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. That movie has a firm, serious tone, strong horror elements, and a lot of visual magic.

    What I don’t like in vampire movies are things like Underworld, which ruin the vampire by making them so human that you forget they are vampires. I mean, look at Kate Beckinsale: in Underworld, she looks like a Goth supermodel who pretending to be a character from the Matrix. There are points when humans and werewolves and vamps are all intermingling and you can tell who is who.

    A couple years ago, I wrote a vampire novel which tried to look at the creatures through as much of a realistic lens as possible – to the extent that I had to redefine 90% of where they come from, what they can/can’t do, and how they die. I think it came out great…and a friend of mind is working on a screenplay (we’ll see)
    http://www.myspace.com/wakingvampires

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