[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00A6HL7S6][/pullquote] After the staggering success of Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter franchises, it was only a matter of time until Stephanie Meyer’s insipid Twilight Saga was put on the silver screen, with the usually capable Catherine Hardwicke chosen to direct. The success of the books meant that there was a ready-made fan-base, which would almost guarantee a huge box office return. The film like the book is aimed squarely at the female ˜tween’ market and has made a media sensation out of leads Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (R-Patz to those that think they know him).
Bella’s (Stewart) parents are divorced and when her mother decides to go travelling, she is forced to go live with her father in the small town of Forks, Washington. Once enrolled in the local school she is introduced to outsiders, the Cullen family, and most importantly Edward (Pattinson) whom she immediately develops a rapport with and the two fall in ˜love.’
It’s very difficult to take the underlying theme of love seriously when it is shown in two teenagers (although technically Edward is about 100 years old) especially the speed at which it happens. Within a few weeks they are ready to risk everything in their lives for one another. Whilst this obsessively co-dependent relationship may be mistaken for ˜love at first sight,’ the effect on the audience (other than the equally obsessive fans) is dismissive and cynical. As anyone who’s had feelings like that before will tell you; they don’t last and they’re not real. So the film has an uphill struggle to be convincing, even within the rules it itself has established.
Clearly the film-makers know their audience well as the films have been exceptionally popular. Unfortunately what it means for those of us not in that demographic, is that we are treated to, what feels like, hours of the couple staring longingly into each others’ eyes without anything of any note actually happen. By the time any action does come along it’s so heavily choreographed that it wouldn’t be out of place in a High School Musical film. Both leads are good actors in their own right, but seem to have limited chemistry on screen, which makes their intimate moments awkward to watch.
The soundtrack, whilst quite good, is so heavy-handedly used that it actually distracts. When there’s a loving moment there’s an obvious piano concerto, when there’s action it’s a teen-rock song. It’s a shame that everything is so in your face, telling you how to feel at each moment that the film never truly engages. The less said about the ham-fisted dialogue the better.
Overall Twilight will be remembered fondly by those who are fans of the books. For everyone else it is a reminder that just because something is popular, it doesn’t necessarily make it good.