Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fanged and Forever Young, Twilight Opens Friday

Tuesday night, I attended the Twilight pre-screening at Ronnie’s Cinema in St. Louis. I was working, giving away Twilight memorabilia and radio station prizes. It was 5:30pm when I arrived to the cinema with Z1077, the Top-40 radio station in St. Louis. About seventy people (mostly female) were sitting in line for the screening that didn’t start until 7pm. I was nervous about what would happen when they let these girls into the theatre.
Candice and I sat up next to the door, but along with us were six security guards. They did not know what to expect either. They had never heard of Twilight and were wondering why girls were going crazy about the film. Seven o’clock came and most of our radio station prizes disappeared in a matter of minutes. Everyone was summoned to a single file line as security guards checked their bags and took cell phones away. The cattle herding went without a hitch and I took my spot in the press section.
Twilight is the film adaptation of the first book from the Stephenie Meyers’ four part Twilight saga. It’s the story of an ordinary girl who falls in love with a vampire. Just saying that line makes it sound silly, but the beloved book has sold over seven millions copies in the USA alone. It was only a matter of time before someone brought it to the big screen.
The movie takes place in Forks, Washington, the rainiest part of America, perfect for vampires who can’t go out into sunlight without shining like diamonds. The color setting is cold; a lot of blues, greens and grays were used to set up the vampire love story.
Twilight was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who was also behind the dark teenage drama Thirteen. She used familiar camera techniques in Twilight, slight zooms you almost miss and shaky hand held shots gave an edge to the film. The story line moved along quickly, cutting out some of the book’s notable moments or re-arranging them to be cut down to two hours. In the first five minutes, we were introduced to Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner, who was perfectly cast for the role (his character screams werewolf in the sequel New Moon).
Hardwicke did us a favor by cutting out a lot of Bella’s inner monologue. If she hadn’t, it would have been like watching a two hour vampire supermodel fashion show. The book is filled with lines like “Edward stood in a halo of the porch light, looking like a male model in an advertisement for raincoats.” We got a look of Edward without Bella’s descriptors. The film showed the side of a selfish, melodramatic and overprotective James Dean of the undead played by Robert Pattinson, familiar as Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Kristen Stewart’s character Bella was relatable, as if any ordinary girl could have been in her situation. You know, falling in love with a vampire, the prey among other vampires. The film was aimed towards teens, but the theatre was packed with male and female, young and old.
The let downs of the movie were the scenes with Bella’s human high school friends, taking me back to my dreadful high school days with their nauseating teenage dialogue. The music selections for a few of the scenes could have been better. Once when Edwards was talking they played Rob Pattinson’s own music in the background. The infamous baseball scene where Bella meets the nomad vampires who are on a quest to kill her made me roll my eyes at how ornate the vampires’ superpowers were.
Twilight was not a let down, but I wish Hardwicke included more parts from the book into the film. Edward and Bella’s relationship grew too fast and the entire movie should have been slowed down. No one clapped or cheered at the end, some were leaving a few minutes early, and we knew what was going to happen next anyway. Either way, Twilight will be box office gold this weekend. 500 cinemas have sold out opening night and Twilighters will finally see the beloved characters, whom they have read about so many times before, grace the silver screen.

-Caitlin Tadlock, Arts and Pop Culture Editor

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