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'Twilight' DVD Review: Glittering Vampires (Yeah!), Boring Humans (Boo!)

March 27th, 2009 2:04pm EDT favorite Add to My News
TwilightGet ready to don your leather knee-highs and "I Heart Edward" blood vile earrings because the Twilight movie has just been released to DVD. And even if you're not a part of the Goth-clique, you'd still do well to see what all the sensation is about.

If you are a fan of "Twilight" then you're probably excited about getting your two-disc "Special Edition" DVD priced at roughly a dollar more than the regular edition. For your dollar you'll get a seven part "making of" documentary, mostly talking heads discussing how much everybody loves the book and how difficult the wire work was. If you're disinclined to fork over the extra buck you'll just get a few music videos and a commentary track. Trust me when I say that neither edition is particularly special, but what can I say. It's a dollar. The movie is what you're buying, and in either package the film actually comes out looking quite well.

Better in print?

While lacking in the dramatic loneliness of sitting out in the rain with your laminated copy of Stephanie Meyer's tragic romance for teens, the movie is otherwise a thorough duplication of the novel. So much, in fact, that it becomes a problem for some moments. There are lines that just feel better on print than spoken out loud. I've tried breathily confessing to my girlfriend, "and so the lion fell in love with the lamb," and the furthest it has ever gotten me is coarse involuntary laugh and an "are you serious?" blank stare. But hardcore fans aren't particularly disposed to a complete reimagining of their cherished artistic licenses (remember how Super Mario Bros. worked out?) so it's probably for the best that director Catherine Hardwicke was so faithful.

Its shimmering music score is a haunting take on Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' by Carter Burwell, and there's been a lot of push for the film's soundtrack, which is a much better supplement to the film then the bonus disc so you might want to save your dollar for that instead. The film's soft tragic-blue lighting keeps it from lapsing into an extended episode of Charmed, and its later action scenes manage to avoid looking clichéd by rebuking the sleek kung-fu moves that seem out of place for vampire movies but still tend to be the norm since Blade came out over a decade ago. Instead, Catherine Hardwicke uses a more blunt bestial approach to her hero, Edward Collin, as he speeds to the rescue of Bella from the imperative "bad" vampires.

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No doubt, by now you've heard the premise of "Twilight." Bella, played by the chronically sleepy Kristen Stewart, is the average girl who moves in from out of town to face the horrors of trying to acclimate herself into a new high school life. But she quickly discovers that the high school at Forks, Washington, is unlike any other high school on the planet for two reasons: a) Every kid is impossibly nice and accepting, constantly paying her undue attention by taking pictures, inviting her out, and even slapping her on the front page of the student newspaper, and b) there are vampires there, and yes, even they are especially enthusiastic about Bella's arrival. This is especially true for the darkly handsome Edward, who is indeed the life of the film, played by Harry Potter alum Robert Pattinson.

Bella is boring

The only thing dragging the movie down is Bella, who wafts through scene after scene in a Zoloft half-gaze that makes her feel as though she isn't actually there at all. This makes for some particularly funny moments, which aren't intended, such as when Edward wonders out loud why he can't read her mind, "I can read every mind in this room, apart from yours. 'Money', 'sex', 'money', 'sex', 'cat', and then you, 'nothing'." Cue the audience laugh track and you've got a rerun of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Even Bella's friends, who she rarely speaks to in their awkward conversations together, seem to have more reasonable teen personalities meant as foils for Bella. But then the problem becomes that Bella doesn't reflect anything back. This leads to the larger problem of why Edward is attracted to her in the first place.

It's explained that she has a particular scent that drives Edward wild with passion and hunger, but he's so taken with her that he refuses to eat her. Even while there's something sadistically sweet about this, their relationship becomes more about Bella being a possession to Edward rather than a girlfriend. Several times in the film he outright commands her what to do, and in the rare case that she makes a decision for herself it only leads her into peril.

How girls can go wild for this is a sad reflection of human nature and incredibly chauvinistic. But the movie from Edward's point of view is much more impassioned and preaches a reflection of Meyer's Mormonism in his refusal to devour her whole, vis-à-vis abstinence. In return, Bella trusts Edward implicitly and essentially submits to him plainly in a way that she refuses to submit to her parents. With a movie like "Twilight," you have to take the good with the bad, and in this case the good is vampires that glitter and the bad is humans that don't.

What did you think of the "Twilight" DVD? Let us know in the comments!

Watch "Stars of Twilight discuss scary stunts and screaming fans"




Eric Jones
Story by Eric Jones

Starpulse contributing writer


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