The Story: Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has just moved to boring Forks, Washington to live with her father Charlie (Billy Burke). Immediately swarmed with new friends she finds herself drawn to the mysterious Cullen family, mainly to Edward (Robert Pattinson). Through a series of bizarre events Edward and Bella are thrust together and eventually Bella finds out Edward’s dark secret, him and his family are vampires.
Pros: I’m a vampire fan (as evidenced by my True Blood coverage last year) so I was excited to see this when it came to theaters. I had read Stephanie Meyer’s book that this is based on and while I didn’t enjoy that the movie really differentiates and cuts the fat that didn’t work in the source material. When this came to theaters I hated it, but I do admit that I enjoyed it far more on DVD. The story is tight and interesting, essentially showing Vampire Lore 101 for young girls without all the overt sex seen in most vampire stories. The Cullen family is firmly established in the genre as iconic with all the hype this movie has and that’s because they’re so mysterious. Twilight sets up everything that will go on in the trilogy and as I watched this I wanted to know more about the Cullen’s themselves. We only get a glimpse of the rest of the family and it seems that’s the intention to keep fans coming to the next in the series. I’m happy that a lot of the lovey dovey stuff from the novel wasn’t brought over to the film. While this is a romance movie the book is incredibly saccharine and is incredibly difficult for anyone over 15 not to scoff at. While the romance is a bit melodramatic I found it more palatable this time. Robert Pattinson does well in a pretty thin character. He’s engaging and a good looking guy, perfect vampire material. The second half of the movie is the best since it involves the “bad” vampires bent on sucking human blood. Anyone not interested in the romance will love all the action in the second half. I also really enjoyed the soundtrack in this movie; the ending scene used music really well. As much as I hate overt set-ups for sequels I have to say the ending was well-done and director Catherine Hardwicke didn’t beat us over the head too much with what the sequel is about. For tween girls and their parents this is perfectly safe to watch, no sex and only one big make-out scene.
Cons: I’m in my early 20’s and for me this movie pushed the boundaries of sickeningly sweet and wholly unrealistic. Yes I know it’s about vampires but writer Stephanie Meyer fills her books with overly romantic things for young girls that make anyone with any semblance of life experience laugh out loud for. I say if you’re over the demographic age for this movie to watch it a second time after laughing at it, you’ll enjoy it more once you gauge how it is. The Fans of vampires who aren’t in the age bracket here might want to stick to something like True Blood. weakest link has to be our heroine Bella Swan. Kristen Stewart has always had that monotone voice but here she just seems to be sleepwalking through the entire movie making it hard to root for her.
Features: The DVD has some great features; there is a 2-disc that came out recently that should have more for the die hard fan. For the casual fan you get an entertaining commentary with director Catherine Hardwicke and stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. I was really surprised they got both the main stars to do commentary that seems to be dwindling in films lately. All three keep the comments light and they have a great chemistry. I also found it interesting that Hardwicke commented on her not returning to the second film, you don’t normally hear about studio issues on DVD commentary. There are five extended scenes which are 9 minutes. They’re merely a few tacked on minutes to scenes already in the movie so if you’ve just watched the movie it’s not worth it to notice a few extra seconds. Hardwicke does provide commentary but never explains why these were shortened, something I enjoy hearing in these sections. There’s also nothing deleted which I found odd. There are also three music videos from bands Linkin Park, Paramore and Muse. The music videos were on constant replay on MTV when the movie came out so if you follow music at all you’ve probably been beaten over the head with these songs and videos already. They’re okay to see if you’ve never seen them or heard them but just get them for your iPod.
Overall: I hate to admit I really enjoyed Twilight on my second visit. The movie isn’t perfect and certainly isn’t catering to my age range but there’s something there. This is definitely a rental for anyone not familiar with this or who haven’t seen it yet. If you’re a die hard fan then you’ve probably already bought the 2-disc DVD. I give Twilight the movie and DVD a 3/5.