My expectations were pretty low from the beginning. The disappointment started when Robert Pattinson was clearly miscast as our gorgeous Edward Cullen. Alas, I was willing to give him a try. I had hoped he would translate better on the silver screen – which he did, but still not good enough. I’ll have you know, he was the least of my concerns regarding this film.
Further more I knew this movie would be a little cheesy. I mean let’s be honest, the books ARE a tad bit cheesy, ("His hair was dripping wet, disheveled ... his dazzling face was friendly, open, a slight smile on his flawless lips"). But the romance and chemistry between the main characters was extremely intoxicating in itself to forgo the cheesiness. So what went wrong? Why did this movie fall short?...
I blame Summit Entertainment for their lack of budget. I seriously do not understand how a book with such a massive, built-in fan base, was not offered a decent size budget? Did the studio not realize fans all over the world would see this movie again and again? (Well not now) It blows my mind! Twilight is a famously, low-budget production compared to most traditional blockbusters, but this is ridiculous. If Summit allotted more than a $37 million budget they could have turned this movie into what it deserved to be - *MAGICAL* After all the story was already there. All they needed was a good director. A GOOD director. (rolls eyes & sighs) Here we go…
Catherine Hardwick, director of Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown, was all wrong for this movie. Her previous films were fine and great for what they were - small town, low budget, semi-fun movies. However, with Twilight I felt as if she was directing her first movie ever. Now if someone with ZERO movie experience, directed this movie I would have been impressed. Needless to say that wasn't the case. I simply expect basic, if not great, quality film making, even if it comes from a sophomore, semi-new Hollywood studio, like Summit.
I feel Hardwick was trying too hard to convey teenage angst between the main characters, which ultimately resulted in awkwardness and silliness. The main actors looked constipated and ridiculous throughout most of the movie. Never once did I feel the chemistry between Edward and Bella. Never once did I feel their strong connection for each other. Their romance was pretty much stripped from the movie. It made it impossible to get swept away in this forbidden, romantic adventure.
The not-so special effects, used to convey the vampires' superhuman strength, agility and resistance to gravity, were a joke. (The moment when Edward sparkled in the sunlight was extremely cheesy, as if Pattinson was given a bottle of glitter-glue and told to rub it all over himself). The editing and lighting, which was shot in moody, washed-out tones, was distractingly jumpy and amateur. And how weak was it when you could see Pattinson's contacts during his close ups?! Come on now. Needless to say the makeup looked cheap and fake. I read Hardwick wanted this movie to have a "rock-n-roll" feel to it, but COME ON! What’s with the cheesy, lame, 80's guitar background music?! I mean honestly. (pauses in shock to shake head). It was highly distracting and super annoying.
However the movie did have its redeeming qualities. The script held pretty true to the book. There were two or three scenes where Edward and Bella toned down the teenage angst/constipation and acted normal - that was a delight to see. I really liked the baseball scene. Thought it was done pretty well. I liked Alice's pitching style, and thought Jasper looked pretty cool when he was up to bat. Having MUSE play in the background during the scene certainly helped. Bella’s dad, Charlie, stole a few scenes with his dry humor and Bella’s classmates were fun to watch as well. Sadly, they were the only characters in the movie with personalities and sass.
I went in with low expectations and came out distraught. I can get behind the script being cheesy. I can even get behind the less than stellar acting performances, but what I can’t forgive is the awful directing and lack of quality this film carried out. The story felt rushed and the movie felt amateur at best. I was hoping the studio would get a better director for the sequel, but to no avail, my hopes were crushed when I heard all major actors AND director signed on for New Moon, slated for mid 2010.