TBTS Reviews: The Twilight Saga, Part 1: Twilight
Breaking Dawn Part 2, the fifth and final film installment of the Twilight franchise, hits theaters November 16. The movie is guaranteed to sweep the box office and cause non-fans to avoid all theaters until after Thanksgiving. It will also mean a gaping hole left in the lives of all the Twihards who will have to find some other movie franchise around which to base their lives.
I count myself as a reserved fan — I definitely loved the books and liked the movies, but I see them for what they truly are, unlike the superfans who think Stephenie Meyer can do no wrong. Fellow Tweedster Paul the Geek falls on the other end of the spectrum: definitely a skeptic, but not a superhater. He read Twilight and watched the first movie, but gave up after. In the countdown to BDP2, we decided to join forces, watch all the movies, and review them for you, dear Reader.
PaultheGeek: The movie is rated PG-13 for “a scene of sensuality.” LOL.
Esquirette: That bedroom scene with Kristen Stewart in her underwear is a little racy.
PaultheGeek: Mostly my interest centered around the idea that this was not some throwaway effort on the part of the filmmakers. However frivolous you may think the source material is, this is a respectable director and a seasoned filmmaking team. With the exception of Kristin Stewart (who really IS as bad as everyone says), it is well cast.
Esquirette: Catherine Hardwick spoke at length during the Twilight press tours about the actors and what a joy they were to work with. I think Peter Facinelli makes a fantastic Dr. Cullen (though his makeup looks weirder and weirder in each successive movie). And I’ve given props to Robert Pattinson before. But Kristen Stewart is just the worst. She looks the part, but her acting chops consist mainly of making a fart face or biting her lip. The rest of the cast is great, though.
PaultheGeek: Bella’s dad was great. Easily the best performance in the movie.
Esquirette: Billy Burke is awesome. I gotta check him out in this Revolution show. I really like his performance as Bella’s dad. He plays it well: subtle, reserved. Just like the character in the book.
PaultheGeek: And Carter Burwell does the score! The man who has scored every Coen brothers movie also scored Twilight! Never mind the great soundtrack. Say what you want about Twilight itself, the movies have always had great soundtracks.
Esquirette: I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been introduced to some great bands because of these soundtracks. A standout track on the Twilight soundtrack is “Full Moon” by The Black Ghosts. I just love the weird, ethereal sound. And though I love Carter Burwell, I am disappointed by some of the musical choices he made for the score. Apparently Robert Pattinson actually wrote a version of “Bella’s Lullaby” but it was replaced by Carter Burwell’s version in the film. I think they should have stuck with Rob’s version, even though I never heard it. I just think it would be cool to have his own composition in the film where Edward’s composition is supposed to be. The two songs he did actually contribute were fantastic.
PaultheGeek: Some of the cinematographic choices are a bit odd. It’s kind of like this movie can’t decide what it wants to be, visually. There are the sweeping helicopter shots of the mountains & treetops, followed by sloppy shaky-cam extreme-close-up shit with Bella & Edward. And during the big “you’re a vampire!” reveal, the swoopycam shit just looks silly. The special effects (especially the running and tree-climbing stuff) are a smidge ridiculous, and I’m surprised at that. The producers MUST have known this was going to be a blockbuster. This was not a “dip our toe in and see what happens” effort; there was no WAY the rest of the series wasn’t going to get made (and make assloads of money.) I don’t know why they didn’t spend a little bit more on the visuals. (They really do look bad.) But there are other impressive and surprising things going on, visually. The costuming is great, everybody in earth tones except the vampires, and it’s cool to see how it progresses through the movie as Bella changes. The blue Matrix lens filter is a bit much. I don’t think it was necessary, I mean, you’re already in rainy-ass Washington.
Esquirette: I think these are definite cinematic choices made by Catherine Hardwick. I love the attention to detail with the costuming — as you said, everyone except the vampires are dressed in warm, earthy tones. It’s interesting to see Bella’s wardrobe change as she spends more time with Edward. It’s very, very subtle. But the film feels very… I don’t know… It’s like Catherine Hardwick kept changing her mind about how, visually, she wanted to present this universe. Some of the sweeping landscape shots are stunning and convey a sense of isolation is this remote part of the country. Then the shaky-cam kicks in and you’re like “What is this supposed to be telling me here?”
PaultheGeek: I remain Team Jacob, by the way. Edward can suck it. (Ha! Get it? “suck it”? I’m hilarious…) And Jacob looks WAY better with short hair.
Esquirette: Being Team Jacob is ridiculous. There was no way Bella was ever going to end up with Jacob. You might as well be Team Bella-Getting-Eaten-By-A-Bear.