Twilight: The Trashening
I was quite content with the option of never having to see the recently released movie. My wife went with friends without me. I was glad to hear it. Last night I endured torture of the likes that would make Daniel Craig's Bond scream out in pain. I saw...Twilight.
What follows is my attempt at describing the pathetic dung heap that is this movie called Twilight. Oh that I were just talking about the story, the sappiness, or the differences in my view of vampires verses those on display. But no, the production quality of this film may be the worst I've seen in a very very long time. Twilight, is in essence, a home movie (and not of the high quality kind such as The Blair Witch Project) billed as a blockbuster . Robert Redford wouldn't have allowed this kind of crap at the Sundance Film Festival. I spent half the movie in a fit of giggles at just how bad this movie is.
Let's begin with the most positive thing I can say about this. The premise of the story is good. Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, boy likes girl, boy wants to eat girl, girl wants to be eaten by boy, others want to kill boy and eat girl. Pretty standard fare for Hollywood.
The absolute worst acting I've seen at least all year, and I'm sure going farther back than that. Edward was OK, and James was OK, and I'm not decided on Dr. Cullen. Other than those 3, it was pathetic. Lines were delivered as if they were memorized seconds earlier, with no knowledge of how they fit into the story. Nearly every action taken felt completely inorganic. I could understand the vampires being a little wooden, but the mortals should appear like they have a pulse and not like 80's era animatronics. I swear that one of the vampires, when told he was playing a monster, thought Frankenstein and not Dracula. Bella seems to have not been up on her tetanus shots, because she seemed to have lock-jaw through most of the movie. And could someone mention in the comments if Bella stutters? If that is true to the book, I won't make fun, but if it's just because she can't remember her lines, that's just sad.
To go hand in hand with the acting is casting. I'm told the blonde vampire is supposed to be attractive. L.A. has a myriad of wanna-be actresses, it's not like that part had any acting to do. Find someone to just stand there and look pretty OK, is that so hard? Other than Edward was there a single person in this movie with any experience at all? What did they spend their money on?
And what about that dialog eh? The movie was almost entirely made up of exposition. It's ok to spell out everything in words in a book, but in a movie there are more tools at your disposal...use them. Every other scene had dialog that explained what happened in the scene before. Not to mention the Bella narrative that could have been easily replaced with actual acting. I would also rail on the sappiness of some of the lines, but that would be like beating a crippled leper, for lying in your path. I can only be so mean...yes, even me.
Not all of the blame can be laid at the feet of the piss poor selection of actors. The director should never have let half those takes end up in the can. Ever heard of take 2, take 3, etc.? If your actors are getting it this wrong, you need to provide them some direction, maybe a couple run-throughs, and multiple takes if necessary.
There is a common problem that crops up in half of the movies made from books. The author gets involved and can't bare to part with any - I mean ANY - of the scenes. So instead of actually developing any of the scenes on screen, they provide a taste of what the scene should be then move on to the next, like a hyper active nat. They then make up for the discordance with narrative and overly wordy dialog to explain what happened in the previous or current scene. "This is what you should have taken from the previous 15 seconds. OK on to the next 15 seconds!" Develop the freaking story with visuals, don't read it to me!
The camera work. I lack the words. If everything else in your movie is done by amateurs, the last thing in the world you need is a handheld camera to muck things up even worse. There isn't a single thing going for this movie, the least they could do is frame shots half way decent. This film didn't have the chops for a handheld, use a tri-pod. Dolly's would help with the sporadic panning as well. If you don't know what zoom is for, don't use it.
What you get at the end of production is largely the result of editing. You have to provide the editor with quality building blocks (which this movie didn't), then it's up to them, with the director, to put together the final vision. If the vision was disconnected ramblings of a 60's B movie with ADHD, they were spot on.