Twilight Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated November 22nd, 2008 at 8:45 pm,

Short version: Twilight really is strictly for fans of the book – while not terrible, it’s far from great.

twilight reviews Twilight Review
Screen Rant reviews Twilight

So it’s finally here.

Twilight, at least for a select group of ladies, has been THE most anticipated movie of 2008 – and their wait is finally over. The question is: Was it worth it?

For them, yes.

For the rest of us? Eh, not so much.

Twilight opens with the introduction of our heroine, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). She is in sunny Arizona with her mom and new stepfather, and as they prepare for a long road trip she decides that she’d rather go up to Washington state to stay with her estranged father, Charlie (Billy Burke). He lives in the small town of Forks (population 3,000) and is the local sheriff.

She arrives in the middle of the school year so although it should be hard to make friends (and it’s implied), she manages to connect with a group of kids who are far more welcoming than she is ready to be welcomed. They give her the scoop on who’s who and they soon point out the Cullens, an odd assortment of very pale-skinned guys and gals. To make things weirder, they are apparently foster brothers/sisters yet they are “couples.” They’ve been taken in by the local Dr. Cullen and his wife.

One of the group is of course, Edward (Robert Pattinson). His story is that “no girl is good enough for him.” Of course Bella is immediately fixated on him, although the feeling is apparently very much not mutual. As a matter of fact when she is assigned to be his lab partner, he seems to be repulsed by her.

Edward leaves for a few days, and when he returns his mood towards Bella has changed considerably. He’s now polite and at least feigns interest. She (mostly) gets over being offended and tries to get to know him although he still doesn’t want to get close to her. Almost immediately he saves her from being killed in a car accident in a scene that’s been shown in the trailer. She’s no dummy and doesn’t miss the fact that he was across the parking lot, got over to her in a flash and was able to keep a van from smashing into her (to the point that he left a dent in the door with his hand). [Note slight sarcasm there, folks]

Anyway, we soon meet Dr. Cullen (Peter Facinelli) at the hospital, whose makeup job is so incredibly white that he looks like the Cesar Romero version of the Joker. He is none to pleased about Edward (I guess I can’t call him “Ed,” huh?) possibly exposing who he really is to save Bella’s life.

One thing leads to another and the burgeoning romance is on its way, with a side trip to a confrontation with the “bad” vampires who actually kill humans to feed (go figure). You see the Cullens only drink the blood of animals. The bad guys have been responsible for a number of gruesome murders in town recently. One of them decides to target Bella and thus we get the final confrontation which finally brings us some decent action.

So what’s good?

I thought that the stars and supporting cast actually did a really great job. Bella’s friends were engaging, funny and they played their roles very naturally. Billy Burke was low key and very good as Bella’s father, Kristen Stewart did a decent job, and I have to say that despite his severely sculpted eyebrows and uber-funky hair that I liked Rob Pattinson’s portrayal of Edward Cullen. I don’t know how closely the way he played the character matched the version in the book, but I thought that his uncertainty and awkwardness in light of how powerful he really was made him quite charming.

There were quite a few moments of unexpected humor in the film that I enjoyed. Nothing huge or slapsticky, but just little things that were enough to actually make me laugh out loud (which some comedies this year didn’t manage to make me do). Really the performances made this worthwhile for me.

So what wasn’t so good?

For a non-fan, it was really a pretty bland film. It seemed very slow-moving at times, and let’s face it – it’s a pretty “stock” teen romance movie. There wasn’t anything really special here outside of the fact that it had, you know… vampires.

Nothing really eye-catching as far as cinematography or interesting shots, and one think that really struck me as bad were the visual effects. When the film had its first “super-speed” effect, where the bad vampires corner one of the locals, it was so poorly done that I think I actually gasped out loud. I mean there was this incredibly cheesy blur that I can’t really describe except to say that anything you see on an average episode of Smallville is done far better.

Imagine my shock at the end of the film when in the credits I saw Industrial Light & Magic listed among the visual effects companies. I can only guess that they were responsible for some other effect and not the one I just mentioned (which was terrible throughout the film).

Towards the end the teen-romance-cheese-factor pegged the needle in the aftermath of the big battle in a scene between Edward and Bella. That was about the hardest scene in the movie to sit through, and pretty much from there until the end it was quite sappy and reminded me of a typical teen TV series on the CW.

The audience full of Twilight fans seemed to enjoy it a lot and gave it a thumbs up, so I guess it’s achieved its goal. I’m curious to see if it does well enough at the box office to generate a sequel (which I’m thinking would actually be better than this film).

So take all that for what it’s worth – I’ll leave the decision of whether to see it or not up to you.

Oh, and yes (for the fans), Edward does “sparkle” in the film and Bella is clumsy. icon smile Twilight Review

Our Rating:

3 out of 5
(Good)

TAGS: 3 star movies, twilight

194 Comments

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  1. Weird, it says ’2 Comments’, but I don’t see them :(

    I’m glad the acting is at least good. At this point my daughter and I are thinking ‘train wreck’: bad but can’t look away ;)

  2. Robert Pattison is definitely a front-running contender for “most awkward acting of the year award.” His acting made me cringe away in a stiffled laughter throughout the movie. Somehow, the director thought it was a good idea to change Edward’s ability to “dazzle” people (spoiler alert: not in the movie at all, by the way), into “stalk people with a far-off, high-as-a-kite gaze.” Oh, and I hope that butt-chinned kid who played Jacob gets some acting lessons as well… he’s up to bat in the next one, hope he can handle it. Sounded like he was delivering lines on the opening night of a high school play. Charlie was a nice redeeming quality, however; nothing’s funnier than when an over-protective father constantly drinks cheap beer while cleaning his guns.

  3. At least you didn’t hate the movie, 3 stars out of 5 isn’t tooo bad. I can’t wait until next month when we in the UK get to see Twilight. I would have loved to have been in the States at a midnight showing of the movie, with all the American fans. I don’t think Twilight has anywhere near the fan base here, which is a great shame.

  4. I saw the movie at midnight and I agree with you Vic!

    The movie for me felt like the big moments in the series was the whole movie. Very stupid joking around in the beginning. I only recated when my friends looked over to me, just to see like I was enjoying the movie, like themselves, but in truth the movie didn’t start to get good until the part where Bella and Edward entered the school toghether, and everyone was staring! Even than there was dry parts! The fight scene was OMGGGGGGGGG!!! The best ever, but again after that the movie whan down hill. I would say over all the movie did it job for enternating the non readers of the series and with staying to the book somewhat(there were some non realating to the book event that happened in the movie and there was some events that were in the book, but weren’t that great)! I would give this movie a go see, but ok of a movie! Three stars, maybe a 1/2 of a star more, but I am trying to go by the whole five stars in total system!

  5. I saw the midnight showing, and I agree, there were definately some serious awkward moments.

    I think I felt literaly pain for the actors at some points… especially Jasper aka Edward Scissorhands. I agree that Charlie did an excellent job though and I did like some of the dry humor as well.

    Some parts you see in trailers were totally cut out of the film, which was disappointing. I think they spent too much time on little things and not enough time explaining what was going on with the story. I can definately see why people who have not read the books would be a little confused about why these two want each other so bad, the movie doesn’t really portray that at all.

    Over all, I liked it for the novelty, I think the stills and photoshoots were much better than the actual film. I will see it again though!

  6. well im not much of a reader but my friend april was always reading it so i guess you would say i was forced into reading it but then i loved it.. They could of done better with the cast of edward and bella but they got his family just right.. but they make edward look mean but idk im going to go see it tonight and hopfully monday i will let you no what i think cuz i was a big movie fan before anything

  7. I too am planning on seeing the twilight movie again this saturday and than with my friend, who couldn’t make the midnight showing on wednesday and sunday of next week!!! Movie was ok, but my twilight support will go on forever!!!

  8. No david, we aren’t out of our minds! We are just telling it like it is! We are tell the truth!

  9. I’ve read the whole series and I just saw the Twilight movie last night. After being increasingly disappointed with the butchered movie translations of the Harry Potter books, I was a major skeptic of any book-to-movie. I agreed to see Twilight with friends out of loyalty to the series, but walked into the theater completely objectively and with no high expectations. I rolled my eyes when the lights dimmed and 150 teens around me shrieked their lungs out.

    By 25 minutes into the movie, however, I stood utterly corrected. The tone of the film mirrored the book spectacularly and the actors completely nailed their characters. Edward’s delivery of, “As if you could outrun me! As if you could fight me off!” raised mile-high goosebumps on my arms. By the time Edward was playing Bella’s lullaby, I had joined my squealing peers while mentally vowing to find the sheet music ASAP.

    Overall, I was VERY pleasantly surprised with the on-screen interpretation of Twilight. Even fans of the book who look further into the plot than flawless Cullen faces were delivered a satisfying film.

  10. We saw the movie last night it was great fun! We talked and laughed about it for hours and still are discussing it. We loved the actor’s interpretation of Charlie (he steals the scenes), the cast of Bella’s friends Edward’s family was perfect, the actress’s interpretation of Bella was a little too bland, not too shy, not too clumsy, not too angry, not too depressed, not too passionate, not too happy, not too stubborn etc., and the interpretation of Edward was fascinating to watch at times painful at others, I truly think the director had a lot to do with this as there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of directing being done and the actors seemed to be at loss at times as to what they should be doing.
    We fell in love with Jasper, Emmett, Eric and Jacob. The meet my family and baseball scene was really fun! The location scenery was beautiful. See the movie if you are a fan!

  11. watched it twice on the same night.

    first time: audience was sucked in the movie and gasped, clapped, and awed practically every second. Although i did not gasp clap or awe at all, I was sucked in. The movie was powerful and captivating the first time around. I guess your sort of still in shock because your seeing this type of love for the first time on screen, which the book described so intensely. so overall, the first time I watched it was great!

    The second time was not as fantastic. The audience pretty much laughed at the most dramatic scenes. A couple of people even walked out and yelled out how much the movie sucked. Im guessing most of the audience did not read the book? I was not as sucked into the movie anymore, even falling asleep at some parts. And i definitely laughed out loud along with the audience during the part where Edward could not stop sucking Bella’s blood in the ballet studio and the camera zooms in on his face, which looks like a constipated big eyed frog.

    dont get me wrong though, for all those twilight avid fans. I am also a fan who will definitely be getting twilight merchandise and will be waiting for the dvd to come out. I just understand that the book is too heavy and intense [cant really explain] but its very “weighted” on a special kind of love. A love that i know can never really be fully captured on screen. I think Kristen and Robert did an amazing job and they are great actors but its understandable, you really cant capture a love like Edward and Bella’s completely.

  12. The movie resembled a student project at an indy film festival. It was shockingly bad and resembled a glorified Power Ranger film.

    The acting left a lot to be desired but even the most talented of actors would not be able to pull this movie off. The screen play, cinematography and special effects doomed the movie within 10 minutes.

    This was literally the worst film I’ve ever had the patience to sit through. I’ll give it a second viewing when I’m in need of a good laugh.

  13. I was going to see this movie last night but I got snowed in so im going to see it tomorrow. I gotta say Im very questionable after reading the book how they will portray it on screen. Their is a lot of intense moments in the book that will be hard to show on the screen. I think most movies that are based on books should remain in a book but Im still looking forward to seeing this movie.

    I have mixed feelings with Stewarts acting ability. I have to say she is talanted but still questionable. She did well in the panic room but I didn’t really enjoy ger performance in Speak. Who knows mabey she will suprise me. Pattinson impressed me in Harry Potter so im sure he will do fine in Twilight.

    Ill write back when I actually get to see the movie tomorrow.

  14. Always remember: Books are way, way, way better than the movies!!!

    Examples would be, Harry potter movies vs. the harry potter books-The books were better than the movies and the twiligt books were way better than the twilight movie, so far.

    Any other examples would be great!!!

  15. I didn’t get to read the book and I think it’s better, because a lot of people couldn’t help but compare the two. You have to be realistic. There is no way to fit all 500 pages into 2 hours. And even if they did that would be super boring, repetitive, predictable.

    That said I really liked the movie. My only problem was the first 30 min. The scenes were exaggerated to me. And I don’t think the actors were to blame.

    What I’ve noticed is that a lot of people didn’t get to appreciate the beautiful scenery. I was impressed. Awesome shooting location. From other reviews I also get the feeling that some people were looking for a lot of blood, action visual effects (300, Lord of the rings style) Maybe the next Underworld movie will be more appealing to these folks. This is more romance. If you’re not into that don’t go and then leave some stupid comment about how little action packed this was.

    And last but not least is that there were good comic sitiations that got me to laugh. Something that comedies these years lacked

    So to end this I’m going to say that you really have to go and see the movie so you can draw your own conclusions. I’m going agian.

  16. i think it should have gotten 5 stars it was awsome, it was the best movie i seen all year!

  17. This article had a few grammar mistakes and misspelled Forks.

  18. wow these “amazing and awesome” reviews make me think a lot of people can’t see past the beauty of the actors , I read all the books and I thought the movie was poorly made , the main thing is their love and that did not show in the movie , the supporting characters were better than the main IMO , Bella was dry , lost and emotionless, Kristen looks the part but she definetely did not play it well , Rob was good I thought and did a good job with the facial expressions of Edward but some of his lines werent good either and felt like he was trying to control his accent all too much, in all I would give it a C+, they wanted to stay close to the book but lost the essence of it , it was fast and choppy , I can’t wait for the next one because hopefully there will be more money and let’s pray a new director, screen writer and editing team. I think the cats deserves another chance since they have been good in other movies . My fave scene was the baseball one with the Muse song , (maybe cause they didnt talk lol)and the fight scene was pretty good , Bella seemed to deliver feeling pain better than love lol.I hope they listen to the fans ( not just the teeny boopers ) and bring it on with the nxt movie.

  19. @Kristina
    Thanks, I’ve gone back through the review and tried to find any errors and correct them. If you still see any in there pleas let me know.

    @Sil
    I think my review MAY have been influenced by the fact that I sat through the movie with an audience full of hardcore Twililght fans and their reactions. I didn’t exactly give it a glowing endorsement, but it was better than I thought it would be going in.

    Vic

  20. @ Vic

    I can understand that I was very excited for the movie , and it was thrilling to see my 11 year old daughter take it all in lol, she made me feel like a teen again and I did enjoy the movie , now if you look at everything else it lackd a lot of emotion and important scenes like the meadow and car ride from Port Angeles ,IDK I liked it but didnt love it , for someone that compared the screen play of Harry Potter to this one , well I have to say HP was way better , Iguess after watching Lord of the Rings and HP one expects more of these fantastic movies , you need money to make it look good , but the acting can be good even without so much money, Charlie and Alice were my favorites , even with the little time they had on.

  21. See the movie tonight for the second time, even my mother agrees, was better!!!

    The firs viewing of the movie, is just so shocking you never realize that you are seeing the movie.

    The more times you view the same movie, the more you catch, that you didn’t catch before!!!

  22. @Sil

    Thats why i had mixed feelings about this movie. I heard that Stewart wasnt that great but besides that it wasnt horrible. Ive heard a lot more worse reviews on this movie. This a much nicer one i gotta say.

    @Tina & Maria

    Like I said the book is always better then the movie :)

  23. I went to see the movie completely excited the DAY it came out. I was disappointed, maybe i expected too much. although im starting to see im not the only one. the movie over all was good but very little was how we all would have imagine from the book. I think they should have put ALOT more detail and alot more of the book into the movie. not a complete loss though. I guess i should remember that this was only the first movie. However they need to really step it up big time in the next movie meaning {more details, more parts of the book, and LESS focusing on ONLY the little parts} and with all the money and a new bigger budget that should happen. I think twilights fans would all gladly sit threw a 3 hour movie that has alot more details and alot more parts of the book rather than a 90 minute movie that has less details and only some key parts of the book. the term “less is more” does NOT apply to these types of movies, id rather have more than less
    certain main characters such as bella, eric, sam and a few others werent exactly what i imagined, but the whole vampire cast including edward were perfect for the parts they played.

  24. Just getting back from the movie I’m still on a Twilight high and looking to see what everyone else thought of the movie. I loved it!! .. but then, I have read the book and knew what was going on. I’m sorry for those who hadn’t read the book because it moves to fast to give you the full effect of the depth of their relationship and therefore might leave someone who has not read the book like the relationship was rushed,chaotic and superficial. What I did like is that they did a great job of keeping the intesity of feelings that Bella and Edward have for each other. For those who are Twilight fans you will LOVE it! I DID! … I found myself wishing we had another 45 minutes to an hour to put in some other vital details. Might have lost some of you if it had been that long but I’d have been happy and enjoying it! :)

  25. Any movie that was made because of a great book was never quite as good. Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” is a good 500 pages and the entire story was fit into a 2 hour movie. Of course parts will be skipped and/or hurried along, but if done right, it can still capture your heart.

    As a die-hard fanatic of the Twilight Series, I was very pleased with the movie, and very excited to see the story brought to life. And also as a person who lives in the Pacific Northwest, where the book is based out of, I was excited to see the backdrop true to it’s surroundings.

    I would recommend to anyone who loved this book, see the movie. If you are expecting the movie to be exactly like the book, you will be disappointed. But remember, it is about the story of between Edward and Bella. It is the story about the Lion that fell in love with the lamb. And if you remember that, you will also fall in love wth the movie.

    And a side note to all you men out there who are going to this movie with your girlfriend or wife, and you are secretly dreading it… My husband took me… and he actually really liked it. Now of course my husband was secretly dreading it, and he would prefer an action packed thriller with explosions and great stunt work over a “chick flick” any day. But he liked the movie!

    Two thumbs up!

  26. Since there is another Jess here im adding an H to mine.

    I just got back from seeing the movie. After haveing high expectations I wa not disappointed. The only issue I had was not going into more depth with Carlisle past and wy he does what he does. I dont think anyone who didnt read the book wouldnt understand why he resists the blood and dosent kill humans. I like it in the book when they were in the study and looking at the pictures in the book which I thought was intersting and I was looking forward to that. Besides that I was not disappointed and I understand they cant put in every single detail but then again ths is the first movie so I wont push my luck.

    Going to see this flick again. Mabey not something for a guy to see if your not a fan but its something worth at least checking out.

  27. alot of people are giving the line of “a 500 page book will never be good in a 2 hours movie” while that is right , is not my issue at all I wished they would have made it longer and not so choppy , but what dissapointed me personally was the bad acting , there’s no excuse for that , no money or short book or whatever is going to make an actor act good , Kristen simply sucked , and I do think she looks like the Bella I imagined , not too pretty , clumsy and casual , but she did not fel the love or passion for Edward that the book portraits.

  28. I went to see this movie last night with my girlfriend who kept asking me to go with her. Both of us is a huge Vampire movie fan and for me being hungarian and having a name Bela ( like Bela Lugosi) also made it more fun. Well i’ve seen many movies about vampires and in my opinion this was one of the worst ever! I haven’t read the book so i did not know anything about this film but i heard it in the bookstore some people even said this is the Harry Potter of the vampire movies. I guess he was joking around. The acting is horrible in this movie and even the fight scene was short and disapointing. Some story is only good and enjoyable in books and need a very good director to be able to make it on film. This one should have stayed in a bookstore.

  29. If you remeber from the book Sil if you read it, that Bella dosent express her emotions well but I do agree I have never really been impressed by Kristen’s acting. She didnt cause much grief for me though since i really didnt expect much out of her to begin with. A lot people did say they were disappointed with her though.

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