Movie Review: Twilight

“What did you expect? Coffins and dungeons and moats?”

A little over a month ago I lost my wife to a well-known phenomenon called Twilight. It was unlike her to tear through a book series so voraciously, but I suddenly found that there were nights when our regular TV shows were left unwatched as she opted for the books instead. I must admit that I was able to get a lot more work done with the TV off too and there are some shows that we still haven’t started watching again. I guess I owe the author of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer, thanks for helping us to get weaned from the boob tube just a little bit.

When the movie version of Twilight was released last month, another amazing thing happened—my wife actually wanted to go to the midnight show! It was a fun switching of places as I was usually the one who’d stay out all night watching the first showings of movies like Star Wars, or The Lord of the Rings.

Well, it was finally my turn to watch Twilight tonight. I think my wife was a little nervous about whether or not I’d like it since I hadn’t read the books and she tried to fill me in on little details as we got ready to go. I was actually hoping to stay free of details from the book to see how good of a job the movie makers did in telling the story in a concise way that could be enjoyable without of all the exposition of the book. Now that I’ve seen it I have to say that I very much understand why so many are so fascinated by this story, I really enjoyed it!

One thing that I was a little nervous about upon seeing the trailers was that it would be a movie filled with brooding, moody teenagers. That was definitely an element of the movie, but it wasn’t quite as oppressive as I thought it would be. While much of the time the main characters Edward (played by Robert Pattison) and Bella (played by Kristen Stewart) are very serious, there are moments where we see them enjoying their time together, which is important if we are to hope that their relationship lasts.

One impression I had as I was watching this movie is how much of a morality tale Twilight is. There’s a reason why we are taught so many morals through fairy tales, legends and myths. Sometimes telling little children that Little Red Riding Hood needed to beware of wolves is a more comprehensible concept than detailing all of the many ways people can be evil or dangerous.

It’s the same with Twilight. Teenagers face such powerful forces pulling at them in their relationships. While I am concerned at how many young people might internalize the intense relationship portrayed in Twilight and will find themselves seeking out these things in their own lives, I also see a valuable lesson taught in the value of self restraint. In the movie, if Edward gives in to his urges he will either kill Bella, or change her into a monster. In real life, if young people (and old) don’t exercise wisdom and self-restraint, they run a very real risk of injuring those they profess to love, in other very real and lasting ways.

So, right now I’m interested in reading the books. I’d like to know if some of these themes that I picked up on in the movie are more elaborate in the novels. Towards the end of the movie I found myself becoming invested in this bizarre family and am anxious to experience more.

To sum it all up, director Catherine Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg did an excellent job filtering Stephenie Meyer’s vampire tale down into a movie that was fulfilling and complete.
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