Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Too many sparkling vampires spoil this adaptation

A movie theatre pitch-black with a slightly red hue could not have been a better setting for the first cinematic installment of Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight,” the teenage vampire romance novel series that is au courant with still-teenage Harry-Potter-generation fans. Accordingly, it is wholly appropriate that the theatre’s acoustics were saturated with Ohhhhh’s (in reaction to Cedric Diggory-cum-Edward Cullen, actor Robert Pattinson) and Ahhhhh’s (in response to the only heated scene of the movie which lasts no more than ten seconds) coming from the same generation that thought the most intriguing part of the “Chamber of Secrets” was Ginny’s prepubescent crush on Harry.

Though many have come close (see “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “The Lord of the Rings” series), no movie has ever truly replicated its literary foundation; “Twilight” is no exception. While it’s a “carefully faithful adaptation,” according to New York Times critic Manohla Dargis, my significant other could not help but lean into my ear and whisper, ‘It’s not like that in the book’ every five minutes or so.

My verdict: movies should no longer claim to be “based on” novel X; rather, they should claim to be “inspired by” novel Y.

The movie has an uninspiring opening –– except for the fallaciously interesting fact that it is set in Forks, Washington: Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves to the middle-of-nowhere town to be with her father. The introverted and clumsy Bella does not make many friends and feels at home when she is alone (O.K, so far, so good). In a matter of days she becomes everyone’s new favorite talking point and ends up with a lot of friends who gravitate toward her in an effort to make her feel welcome.

The first mystery becomes the nature of the Cullen family. They are pale, all hang out together and don’t socialize much (Oh, did I mention that they are all gorgeous?) After a few Google searches (yes, Google searches –– I guess the cinematographers finally figured out that their faux pas Mac OS search engine wouldn’t pass anymore) she figures out that they are vampires. By that time, however, she is already emotionally-manacled to Cedric, I mean Edward (Robert Pattinson), the only single male Cullen left, who admits to being “over-protective” of her.

I am told that the movie does not do the book justice regarding Bella and Edward’s cloying relationship. Apparently this relationship is supposed to be the most sickeningly sappy, impossible-turned-possible, make-you-want-to-squeeze-Abigail-Breslin’s-cheeks cutest relationship ever. Instead, it came off as an inevitable, awkward and (fine, I’ll admit it) ‘hot’ fling that, because of its lack of plausible sentimentality, sometimes makes you wish the movie were rated R just to keep you interested.

This movie is aesthetically appealing not for its cinematic deftness, but for director Catherine Hardwicke’s penchant for capturing beautiful young actors and actresses in roles whose sole purpose is to accentuate their unique prettiness. Though they’ve had relative success in the past (Stewart was in the abysmal, yet critically acclaimed 2007 film “Into the Wild”, while Pattinson was Cedric Diggory in “Goblet of Fire”), “Twilight” is to them what “Bend it like Beckham” was for Keira Knightly and Parminder Nagra. We’ll see which one goes on to play superlative roles in movies like “Atonement” and which goes on to play pedestrian roles in shows like “E.R.” (Knightly did so much with so little potential and Nagra did so little with so much potential). But don’t get your hopes up just yet.

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