About three things I am absolutely positive: first, I just saw Twilight. Second, there is a part of me – and I don’t know how minuscule that part might be – that thinks it was almost okay. Third, it was unconditionally and irrevocably hilarious.
Written by: Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson
Seen at: National Amusements Enfield Cinemas 12, Enfield, Conn.
Running time: 122 minutes
So, all you little spider-monkeys, I did in fact just return from a late-night showing of Twilight (the one that all the embarrassed middle-aged moms went to) and immediately sat down to pen my thoughts on the matter.
In a word? It was hysterical. To borrow a trick from Ms. Meyer’s book (or rather her thesaurus), not only was it funny but it was a riotously jocular humdinger of a film.
First, let’s talk tech specs. The film’s cinematography viewed like a bad spoof of 300, only with more vampires, 98% less blood, and 99.9% more extreme close-ups. And when there aren’t a billion poorly-edited cuts between Edward’s face and Bella’s face, there was slow-mo. And a lot of it. At any moment during the baseball scene, for example, I expected some half-naked guy with a lobster claw arm to glide down from the treetops and ask to join the game. I mean, I have a hard time swallowing slow-mo in an action flick, much less in a film in which half of the scenes consist of the characters stretching out on a field to gaze into each other’s soul.
And that brings me to the moment we were all waiting for, fans and anti-fans alike. I’m not going to lie, folks, I was bouncing on my seat in anticipation of the sparklies. Color me curious, but I was excited to see how they would accomplish that effect. Would they use lens flares? Glitter? Bits of cubic zirconia glued to the makeup caked on Robert Pattinson’s face? There seemed to be a lot of options, so the fact that they decided to use Pattinson’s natural (and profuse) perspiration is something of a letdown.
But to be fair, the effects aren’t all bad. After an hour and a half of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”-style soaring through treetops, the big throw-down at the end between James and Edward is actually pretty exciting. In fact, it almost made me appreciate Meyer’s choice of the ballet studio as the battleground in the first place, and on screen I actually winced at Bella’s injuries whereas in the book my reaction consisted of a dash of meh and decent dose of yawn.
And speaking of yawn, that’s a good description of the acting. Kristen Stewart definitely had her moments, but Robert Pattinson not so much. At times his performance is painfully stale and at others, particularly during his and Bella’s first meeting, it is overworked and over-acted. For most of the film, he comes off as either constipated or as a creepy prima donna, or perhaps as a constipated creepy prima donna. It seems to me though that it’s through no fault of his own; the writing is simply that bad. Lines that are passable in a book (“…and so the lion fell in love with the lamb,” for instance) cannot possibly be delivered in any way that makes them sound anything other than horrifically cheesy.
Which brings me to my absolute favorite line of the film, from the sparkle scene:
[CUE “DRAMATIC” MUSIC]
“…This is the skin of a killer.”
Take a minute to laugh, it’s okay. That’s the line that made me wonder if director Catherine Hardwicke had decided to spoof Twilight rather than adapt it; it was a line that I could imagine in a Cleolinda Jones recap and a line that I’m a little jealous for not having written myself. I mean, Edward, come on – you sparkle. “This is the skin of a killer?” It’s like saying “These are the eyebrows of a vampire!” or “Beware my shins, for they are murderous!” I have to wonder how many takes Pattinson needed for the line just because I would never be able to deliver it with a straight face. And frankly, that line sums up the film perfectly: it’s unintentionally ridiculous and takes itself way too seriously, as if it doesn’t realize that it’s actually a film about glitter.