Twilight Reviews

Book CoverEntertainment Weekly has a round up of reviews from all over. But I was taken with finding the most snarky element of each one. Two of my faves:

The Star-Ledger’s Stephen Whitty: In turning Meyer’s words into images, however, the movie sometimes makes them a bit absurd…. The special effects—with the undead leaping about like something from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Vampire”—are more silly than surreal. The spiky dyed hairdos suggest metrosexual monsters who live not on blood, but styling gel. 

I have a little crush on Roger Ebert thanks to his review of Twilight: “She has questions. “How did you appear out of nowhere and stop that truck?” Well might she ask. When he finally explains that he is a vampire, he goes up from 8 to 10 on her Erotometer. Why do girls always prefer the distant, aloof, handsome, dangerous dudes instead of cheerful chaps like me?”

[Thanks to Darlynne and KatieBabs for the linkage.]

Time’s Richard Corliss: “There’s an audible shiver as they first spy the teen vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), his impossibly gorgeous face caked in a mime’s pallor, sitting in biology class next to young Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). When he holds an apple in his hands to present to her — the novel’s cover image — the girls emit an awestruck sigh, as if they’d just seen Zac Efron in the flesh or a puppy on YouTube.”

I wish Corliss hadn’t been so quick to dismiss the cinema version as a pre-dose of “chick flick,” pairing the retro film elements of focusing on the about-to-kiss faces with the youth of the audience as some sort of rebirth of innocent cool – then tossing that rebirth into a pejorative slam against “movie estrogen.” If he hadn’t slid into sexist derision, I’d be hollering with glee about Corliss’ point, made at the end of the film: “It rekindles the warmth of great Hollywood romances, where foreplay was the climax and a kiss was never just a kiss.”

So, did you see it? What did you think?

 

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  1. 1
    Marta Acosta says:

    Now, I love the snark more than I should, but I kinda have an issue with middle-aged male reviewers trashing on the longing and yearning in “Twilight.”  These are the same bozos who will give raves to violent male fantasy crapfests because they appeal to their idea of cool.  Surely there are young women reviewers who could have been assigned by newspapers to critique this film.  Actually, I’ve always had an issue with magazines and newspapers because reviews are overwhelming dominated by men.

  2. 2

    I haven’t seen it, but I have a friend who’s a huge fan of the Twilight Series that went to see it at the midnight showing and the 2:30 am showing. She was supposed to get home around 6am. There’s a devoted reader base for you.
    I can’t say I’m not somewhat intrigued to watch it, if only because I had a huge crush on Robert Pattinson in his incarnation as Cedric Diggory, but I guess I like my erotic tension fulfilled in more than just a kiss. Unless I’m watching something set in the days of Jane Austen or earlier (and even sometimes then sex is nice, because even then it DID happen), I feel like, “if a kiss is not just a kiss,” then why not make visible about what we all know is going on off stage?
    Thanks for the Ebert link. I never thought to analyze a vampire’s resistance to bite a beloved someone as a metaphor for abstinence. Good stuff.

  3. 3
    Jessica says:

    I agree with Marta Acosta’s point. Would like to see reviews from folks other than squeeing teens and middle aegd men.

  4. 4
    SB Sarah says:

    I would love to go see it. Only problem: lack of available babysitters.

  5. 5
    Joanne says:

    Oh, me too on the little Roger Ebert crush, because even though his reviews have pissed me off many times he’s just so freakin’ sweetly earnest about his work. But alas, many of us do prefer “dangerous dudes” when it comes to romantic fiction. Real life: nah, too much effort most of the time.

    At my age there’s a certain “ick” factor for me about reading YA stories, it’s nothing about the authors or the books themselves, just that my choices for reading pleasure are more *cough* mature. So I didn’t read the books. I don’t want to read the books. I absolutely, positively don’t want to see the movie but I think Marta Acosta’s suggestion is right on the money.

    Age and gender often color how we see certain entertainment….. personally I’m still trying to figure out the love-fest for Rap Music so I certainly couldn’t review it.

  6. 6
    Tina C. says:

    As requested, a review from a distinctly squee-free woman:

    http://movies.msn.com/movies/pmg/twilight-review/

    Don’t miss the second page—it’s kind of hidden amongst other links at the bottom of the page.  One of my favorite lines from the review? 

    “Without giving it away, one might wish Bella used a more effective deodorant. It would save all sorts of problems.”

    Hee!

  7. 7
    Meagan says:

    I dragged my best bud to a midnight screening last night. I was disappointed by the lack of crazy tweens in prom dresses.  It’s bad. Really, really bad. Awesomely bad. Try not to sit next to a fangirl or she may kick you for laughing too much.

    Edward looks like he’s going to puke the first time he sees Bella

    The sparkly CGI made him look like he’d sprouted radioactive cilia all over his body

    Jasper looks constipated every time he’s on camera

    And the sexiest vamp in the whole damn movie is James, fer cryin’ out loud.

    I really, really hope it breaks all kinds of box office records, because if the redonkulous birth scene from Breaking Dawn absolutely has to be immortalized on film

  8. 8
    SB Sarah says:

    I’m particularly enamored of this last paragraph from the movies.msn review:

    Once kids are already in the cruel grips of adolescence, though, “Twilight” can’t make things much worse, though it might lead girls to believe there is such a thing as a gorgeous boy who will hang on your every word and use his superspeed to open your car door for you, a boy who will carry you up a tree on his back so you can enjoy the view, and a boy who will sit and play pretty tunes on the piano while you hang on his shoulder, without hoping for sex in return. Alas, kids, the Perfect Boyfriend is just as legendary as the vampire or werewolf.

    Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. You have to learn to do that for yourself – to be your own biggest fan. Hard for girls in adolescence. Hell. Hard for girls in their 30s.

  9. 9
    Tina M. says:

    I’m waiting to see it after the teens and their lovesick mothers have gotten over it, but my local radio station played a small clip of it and I don’t know…it sounded as if the actors were reading straight of the book.  Sounded so flat and unemotional.  I hope the movie has more flesh to it than that.

  10. 10
    Tina C. says:

    I just found “Twilight”: The Lost Script!  I am trying desperately hard to not roar from laughter, as I’m at work.  It’s written by the same woman that did the review.

    An excerpt:

    “EDWARD: She is so wobbly! If I weren’t holding her like this, she would fall over. Do you think she has an undiagnosed inner ear infection? Carlisle could prescribe some antibiotics. I will ask him to do so immediately. Otherwise, Bella might die and then the rest of my immortality would be a prison of sorrows.”

  11. 11
    SonomaLass says:

    I have had a little crush on Roger Ebert for a long time.  He’s one of the few reviewers published widely who is usually able to judge a movie based on appropriate criteria—he takes each one on its own terms, and critiques it based on what it’s trying to do.  I’m rather surprised that he didn’t take an adolescent girl along to review this one, as he often enlists kids for kids’ movies.  Maybe he figured there would be plenty of them there, and he could probably tell whether or not they liked it.

    In general, though, I agree with Marta that the real issue is whether this movie appeals to the demographic at which it is aimed, and that’s obviously NOT middle-aged men.  If fans of the book like it, and if it attracts some people who didn’t read the book, then it will be a big commercial success.

    My son’s girlfriend, 16, saw the midnight show last night with friends; I expect to hera her reaction after school today.  My own teenage daughter is seeing it “later” she liked the first three books, and she likes Robert Pattinson a lot, but the movie’s not at the top of her agenda.

    As for the Perfect Boyfriend fantasy, she assures me that she and her friends are all well aware that it’s just that, a fantasy.  You know, like a lot of the books we read?  “Duh, Mom, he’s a vampire!”  So while there are obviously an unstable few who blur the line, I can testify that the teenage girls I know are well aware that there are no real boys like that, nor would they want one.

    And if they DO end making all four books into films, maybe they can get the director of the Saw movies to help with the childbirth scene?

  12. 12
    darlynne says:

    My respect for Roger Ebert went off the charts with this one review. I don’t always agree with him, but he understood this story, IMO, and the emotional excess so much a part of the teenage years. We don’t need to get into the way-back machine to remember what it was like to be in love with being in love. Or, something even more seductive, the idea that someone finds us deeply and desperately desirable. My problem with the book was what Joanne described above as the “ick” factor: Edward was too stalker-ish for this middle-aged woman.

  13. 13
    Marsha says:

    I went to the midnight showing with a friend who didn’t want to go alone and found it to be a highly pleasant way to spend a couple hours.  I haven’t read the books and so had no preconceived (or imagined) ideas about what I’d see.  Moreover, I have a low tolerance for the handwringing and despair over What Twilight is Teaching Girls.

    So.  Yes, it was nice.  I don’t believe every movie has to be a perfect symphony of effects as long as what I’m seeing supports what I’m thinking – in this the movie does well.  Sure, in the cold light of day much of the plot is utter BS, but so is Star Wars, and I had no trouble suspending disbelief while in the moment.  I read Edward as courtly and unsure of himself in this new territory of attraction to a mortal and Bella as a bit bemused at how her life’s been moving along and not shy about calling Edward on his crap even while she refuses any path but the one she alone chooses.

    I’m trying to decide if I should read the book now. 

    points67 – I could probably make that many points, but I have a meeting in 15 minutes.

  14. 14
    Meggrs says:

    OMG, Tina C.!

    “Can’t hear you. Earbuds.”

    Hee! That made my Friday.

  15. 15
    Kathsan says:

    I only became an “adult” recently, within the last few years, but what I have to say about Edward is, again, that he was way too stalkerish for me.  I understand the appeal that he and other alpha-male heroes have; I mean, it would be really nice to have a guy so completely head-over-heels in love with you that he hangs on your every word and does cheesy things for you that no actual human would ever dream of doing.  It’s fun to read about, and there’s no harm there.  But honestly, given the choice between Edward and a normal decent nice funny guy, I’d choose him over Edward any day.

    I think my turning point was when Edward took the engine out of her car or something.  If I were Bella I would’ve bitch-slapped him halfway to hell for that.

  16. 16
    Marta Acosta says:

    I met Roger Ebert once at a shindig.  He was very nice and funny.  I don’t always agree with his reviews since he is so very nice, and I’m not.

    Thanks, Tina C., for the parents review from the un-squeeful writer. 

    I found this assessment valuable:  “It’s this sort of stunt (along with a constantly churning soundtrack and lingering scenes of Bella and Edward on their backs in a field of wildflowers) that makes this movie feel more like a marketing device or ‘80s music video than an artistic statement by itself.”

    Perhaps I’ll just watch Robin Sparkles sing “Sandcastles in the Sand”:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgBMFwVeIGI 

  17. 17
    Marta Acosta says:

    Let me try that link again.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgBMFwVeIGI

    “Thought I could fly when you held my hand,
    You’re good at pull-ups and have radical hair
    I hate my dad, he’s so unfair.”

  18. 18
    Hortense Powdermaker says:

    Tina C., thanks for the link! Great picture of the Cullen ‘do it all its reverse mullet glory. I suggest a name for that style: cullet. Because it’s a party-in-the-front, business-in-the-back kind of cut.

    For more lulz see Growing Up Cullen

    NO ONE UNDERSTANDS MEEE HE WOULD SEETHE AS HE PRESSED HIS WILDFLOWERS

  19. 19
    Marta Acosta says:

    Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek wrote an interesting, really smart review of the movie.

    “The vibe of ‘Twilight’ is one of erotic innocence—which is not to say it’s un-erotic. When I was a little girl and just falling in love with the Beatles, I heard them sing the line ‘I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man,’ in ‘Run for Your Life,’ and it horrified me…I don’t think the meaning of the line—a line that walks right up to the tiger’s cage of romantic obsession—was completely lost on me: Even then I could see that love was a danger as well as a pop daydream.”

    http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2008/11/21/twilight/index.html

  20. 20
    Melissa says:

    I just found “Twilight”: The Lost Script!  I am trying desperately hard to not roar from laughter, as I’m at work.  It’s written by the same woman that did the review.

    Oh holy geez!  I’ve never read any of the books, have no desire to see the movie, but this fake script had me laughing out loud repeatedly!  Thank you very much for sharing, Tina C!

  21. 21
    karmelrio says:

    Um… Edward Cullen totally swiped my ‘do.   

    This is too, too much.

  22. 22
    Marianne McA says:

    It’s not out in the UK till December – school breaks up at lunchtime on the last day of term, so my daughter & her friends are planning to go to the cinema that afternoon.
    Don’t think it’ll matter whether it’s good or bad – they’ve been waiting so long that they’ll just enjoy the event.

  23. 23
    Lynn M says:

    I’m going to go see it with a friend on Tuesday, at noon, when the squealing fans are back in school. Doesn’t matter what movie it is, I never find it enjoyable when shared with a theater full of texting, talking, squeeing teenagers.

    I’ve been readings scads of reviews, and I am surprised (I shouldn’t be) by how many negative reviews are the result of the critic being a male/non-teen who bashes the fan-girlishness of everyone so obsessed with this series and movie. These are the same “men” who glorify every form of male fan-boy fodder, yet they act like something girls/women get obsessively fannish about is so much garbage, and those who admit to liking it are simply stupid and silly.

    I know movie critics have the job of watching every movie, regardless of genre or whether or not the movie is aimed at them demographically. But shouldn’t a good movie critic approach a movie with an open mind rather than predisposed to hate the movie because they found the source material not their cup of tea? It’s like me going to a Saw movie – and I hate, HATE, this genre with the intensity of a thousand white hot suns – and saying the movie sucks because it’s gory and scary. If they are unable to be objective, they shouldn’t review it. And if they find genuine fault – this movie isn’t perfect – they should be specific and not just condemn it for existing in the first place.

  24. 24
    CharmedKim says:

    I really liked it! There was a lot of giggling, on my behalf, and some squeeing, also on my behalf. But, despite the silliness and cheesiness, it was fun and enjoyable.

  25. 25
    Willa says:

    I don’t think anyone’s actually posted this link to the review on the Jezebel site yet:

    http://jezebel.com/5095580/twilight-at-midnight-smells-like-teen-spirit?skyline=true&s=i

    I’m pretty sure the reviewer is neither middle-aged nor a man, but I could be wrong.

    (sorry if this has already been posted, didn’t see it anywhere)

  26. 26
    Ehren says:

    There are redeeming features of this story. It’s brain numbingly stupid and the writing is substandard. Why the heck make a movie of it? I admit, the previews look all right, cool even, but previews do not make a good movie. I’m surprised they had enough plot to even make a movie! There IS NO PLOT WHATSOEVER. Not even from a teenage perspective can I understand how this would be entertaining unless the people reading it either just really really enjoy cheesy, old school Harlequins made for teens or they’ve all suffered from what I’ve been calling “the dumbing down of Americans”.

    Seriously, all this fuss about the movie is grating on my nerves because they keep trying to claim it’s the “next Harry Potter” and SMeyer is “the next J.K. Rowling” and the girls that love this series seem to enjoy trying to put it up on a pedestal and call it a “saga” and claim SMeyer is a genius for writing it. No, she isn’t and quite frankly it’s insulting to think that these people think she’s a genius when I know amateurs who write better. Hell, I could write better, but then saying that is like saying I can write better than a seventh grader failing English class. Not that big of a leap.

    My friends who have read it or are reading it like I am are disgusted with it and its popularity. :D Which is why I’ve taken to writing in the margins with a great big nasty red pen and underlying every thing I have a problem with or something to snark at. Which is a lot. Right now, Edward has gained the nicknames “Superman” and “Failed Jedi” for his failed Jedi mind-tricks in trying to convince Bella that she should stop asking questions and the fact that SMeyer conveniently makes her vampires not so much fast healers but completely indestructible. (Their skin is made of a crystal that is harder than diamonds and the cells are lubricated with venom, their internal organs are made of the same crystalline structure and lubricated with venom, their body fluids are fully replaced with venom, their eyes are crystalline and lubricated with venom… ect.) Even the most innovative of vampires is still possessing the same body qualities of a human before they were turned. This not only makes the WAH-mpires not vampires, but I have the theory that they are actually from another galaxy and they crash landed here and were mistaken for vampires. Thus the aliens breed through infecting others to be like them, their “venom” changing the complete cellular structure of the human being they infected and make them just like them.

    Too bad SMeyer doesn’t have my brain, or she might actually make an interesting story.

  27. 27

    I’ll be seeing it tomorrow!!!! Finally!

  28. 28
    Lyra says:

    There’s a Twilight clip floating around YouTube (six minutes culminating in the sparkling scene), and I have to say that the acting looks terrible. Purple prose sounds bad when spoken, but the actors seem to have the collective emotive capacity of a teaspoon.

    Also, when Edward says “Say it… I want you to say it out loud,” I just keep thinking of Allyson Hannigan in American Pie going “Say my name, bitch!” and that just ruined the effect.

    Personal favorite snark snippet:
    If only Twilight were more like its spiritual inspiration, Romeo and Juliet, then at least its lovebird protagonists would eventually wind up taking an eternal dirt nap. – Slant
    (I agree, the entire Twilight series could have benefitted with some actual loss and suffering on the protagonists’ part)

    I also really love this review from Metromix Chicago, because while the reviewer specified that he was reviewing the movie and not the book, his complaints are exactly the problems I have with the book:
    The term “meh” was added to the dictionary this week, and just in time. Hardwicke assumes audiences know everything about everything and thus never establishes the good or bad vampires’ agenda …; if Bella has any personality outside of loving Edward…; or why the vampires play baseball…when tennis or soccer would be so much less of a hassle.

  29. 29
    Shay says:

    Caught a matinee of “Twilight” with my teenage daughter.  Marketed with teens in mind, I enjoyed it (although this enjoyment might have had something to do with my daily dose of Prozac).  It is an angsty, but watchable film, with beautiful scenery, likeable cast, and easy, familiar story to follow.

    Think Michael Mann’s cover of “Last of the Mohicans”, substitute gorgeous North Carolina mountain scenery with equally gorgeous Washington forestry, exchange heroine, Colonel’s daughter Cora of the long windswept tresses, for Sheriff’s daughter, Bella of the long windswept tresses.  Exchange many prolonged close ups of yearning from hunky Hawkeye, with vampager Edward, and exchange pursuit and hand to hand combat with Mohawk and evil Huron warriors, to good vampire versus evil vampire. Finally, keep music video style filming, and that pretty much sums up the “Twilight” experience.

    Unlike my teenager, I hadn’t read the books, so I could watch the movie without too many complaints (which were reserved for the special effects, which I found less Crouching Tiger, and more Roadrunner “meep, meep” cartoon).

  30. 30
    Mel L. says:

    I saw it this afternoon-at an early bird rate or else I wouldn’t have gone. Look, I read the books and thought eh…. So I went into the movie not expecting great things…hey, if they weren’t there in the books, they weren’t coming from anywhere else…especially after seeing those cheesy, angsty trailers.

    However, I was pleasantly surprised by just how awful this movie was. I mean, I was laughing through most of it-the effects, the awkward brooding, the stilted, cheesy dialogue. It was truly MST3K worthy- I went with a friend and we did our own version of robots in the corner of the screen. This movie was so bad-it was good. Don’t get me wrong, it had some awwww moments, but they were few and far between and the interesting characters…Edward’s family and Jacob and his dad…were not seen or heard from for more than a couple of minutes.

    But, yeah, I recommend seeing this movie. You’ll have a ton of laughs, a barrel of eye rolls, and a general feeling of WTF-ish-ness. Definitely worth the 6 bucks.

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