ShOR 365: Twilight

Photo Credit: Summit/Lionsgate

I did something a little different the other day. I decided to go back to a film series I haven’t seen in at least a couple of years but it’s rather stuck in my head as a piece of cinema that shaped my teenage years. Yes, I’m talking about the global phenomenon Twilight. To be honest, I wanted to see if the film was as good as I remember it being, especially seeing as I haven’t watched the film since it was first released. Not in its entirety, anyway. So, I popped it into my DVD player last night and watched it. Mostly to see if it stood the test of time and mostly because I’m lazy and school has started and I didn’t feel like frying my brain with a new film. So, I apologize for hitting you with two repeats in a row but it’s all I could watch last night.

On that note, onto Twilight.

Basically, the film goes like this: Arizona teen Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves from Phoenix to Forks, Washington to live with her father. On the first day of school, she meets Edward (Robert Pattinson), one-fifth of the ethereally beautiful Cullen clan who never mingle with anyone else in the school. Of course, the reason why is that the Cullens (including their “parents”) are all vampires. The Cullens, however, don’t drink human blood. They only drink animal blood. Somehow, Edward and Bella end up falling in love which, unfortunately, draws the attention of a nomadic coven who don’t share the same rules as the Cullens, meaning that they drink human blood. Chaos ensues and Bella is almost turned into a vampire but isn’t and… yeah.

I know from the summary it sounds like I really don’t like the film but you’d be wrong. Surprisingly, the film holds up rather well. Of course, first films in franchises are sometimes an exercise in awkwardly wooden acting and forced chemistry. There’s really no getting around that unless you’re a Marvel film or something. As with anything, there are growing pains but I will admit that the script wasn’t the best but, then again, it’s Twilight. There’s a certain degree of blandness in the novel that carries over into the film but, again, I’ll give the actors the benefit of the doubt because, as mentioned before, first films are a bear to work out sometimes.

As for the original intent on watching this film, I have to say that Twilight doesn’t really stand the test of time but, past all the weirdness, it’s still an engaging story with gorgeous actors and a fully realized lore to back it up. Not to mention the score is killer and the soundtrack was perfectly curated. I mean, really, the soundtrack is ace. The Cullens play baseball in a thunderstorm with Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole” playing in the background. It doesn’t get better than that. It really doesn’t. Plus, Carter Burwell did a great job scoring the film. “Bella’s Lullaby” is beautiful and anyone who tells you otherwise simply didn’t like the film or something. I don’t know.

In addition to the music, the one thing that’s always been seared in my memory is how beautiful the Cullens are. The moment Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) walks into the hospital room after Bella is almost killed by an out of control car took my breath away when I first saw Twilight in theaters. Honestly, I adore Carlisle. If I were to be honest, I’d watch a series devoted to him pre-Edward. But that’s just me being quite vain and wanting a film just for the objectification of a (gorgeous) fictional character. Not only is Carlisle my favorite character but Alice (Ashley Greene) is as well. Her and Edward’s gifts are without a doubt an interesting addition to vampire lore. It isn’t explained in the films but I don’t think it really needs any explaining. It’s just there to add a dimension to the story.

(On that note, though, vampires don’t sparkle. Like, hey, it made for a change to the lore but nearly ten years on, it’s just strange.)

Is Twilight a perfect vampire film? No. Not by a long shot. Sorry, Twihards still out there. But the fact is, perfection doesn’t exist and outside of the phenomenon and the hype, Twilight is just an enjoyable film. Of course, you have to get past the wooden acting, the stilted script, and the barely-there chemistry. But, if you can get past that, you’re in for a real treat. Truly. The Twilight Saga may be typical young adult fodder but it’s fun YA fodder. It’s simply a film that you can sit back and relax to and watch when you’re in need of an escape.

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