Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Premise: A teenage girl (Kristen Stewart) new in town begins a love affair with a vampire (Robert Pattinson).
What Works: The film has some very effective casting, especially Kristen Stewart who brings a lot of vulnerability to her role. By far the most interesting scenes in the film are between Stewart’s character and her father (Billy Burke). The father-daughter relationship is effectively done and has sufficient humor and rise and fall of emotion that makes it the best thing the film has to offer.
What Doesn’t: Twilight is plagued by clichés of recent vampire lore. So much of this film has been done before and done better in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Interview with the Vampire, True Blood, Moonlight, Forever Knight, Near Dark, and The Lost Boys. The film is also deeply clichéd as a high school romance. Just as in Mean Girls, Heathers, Cruel Intentions and a million other stories like it, the shy new girl gets in with the hip crowd and finds her friend and family relationships strained as a result. Twilight gets further into trouble in that it does neither the high school romance genre nor the vampire genre very well. The romance is flat with the two falling in love right away and the story violates the most basic guideline of a successful love story, which is to create an impossible obstacle that keeps the two lovers from getting together. Even though Pattinson’s character is a vampire, that obstacle is quickly discarded and the movie spends most of its screen time on repetitious montages of Pattinson and Stewart running around the woods and laying in the grass together. There is no conflict in the film until the very end when vampires who look like rejects from Blade show up for no particular reason and instigate some vampire-versus-vampire warfare, but by then it’s too late and none of it is done that well.
Bottom Line: Twilight is a mediocre vampire film and even worse as a romance. Audiences would be better served by spending their time and money renting some other incarnation of this story on DVD.
Episode: #218 (December 14, 2008)