With an immeasurable amount of hype and anticipation, there is little doubt as to whether the film will generate some cash flow. But unlike many other films, this is the first in a presumable series and a benchmark that the others will follow. Most importantly, it is the one that will prove whether the series of novels can successfully be brought to the big screen. There is a lot of weight on this film, and while I enjoyed both the literal and visible aspects, I see room for improvement and expect that most who read the books will come out of the theater disappointed and slightly bothered.
The lead characters, played by Kristen Steward and Robert Pattinson, have gotten a heavy wave of criticism since their initial announcement. To many die-hard fans, neither actor truly encompasses the essence and physical view of the characters created by Stephanie Meyers. Yet after watching the film, I found myself very intrigued by both stars. From their awkward, yet workable chemistry to their seamless progression within the realm of the story, both rising stars helped to bring the magical and chaotic world of Fork, Washington to life. Their growing love for one another is remarkably portrayed as they sit high atop the trees, looking out over the vast land, lost in tranquility and peace. Their movements are impulsive and reactive, creating a realness that goes far beyond their physical attributes. This makes their roles, to an uneducated Twilight viewer, dead on in terms of emotion and internal instinct.
Complimenting the two performances is the film's unique yet effective cinematography. Constantly playing with dark shades and amber tones, the film consistently carries a somber feel as you become aware that the lighting is a critical character within the film. Its presence is vital, though you can't quite figure out why. When looked at for a few moments, the visual aspect comes across as cheap and unfinished. However, when looked at throughout the course of the film, you can't help but sit back and appreciate just how miraculous the views are, as they set a tempo that not only works, but enhances the film tenfold. The enchanting view of the forest and the hideous sights that encompass the climatic ending sequence prove to be only a slight glimpse into the mystifying world that plays home to the present day love story.
The film, which is told from Bella's point of view and bears a strong narration from the independently minded young girl, takes audiences on an intriguing and sinfully addicting journey of self-discovery. But it doesn't stop there. Instead, the story plays home to a handful of backdrop story lines. These are not fully played out during the two hour film, but should resurface later as both the story and characters continue to grow and build upon themselves.
One of the more prominent side story lines is the pact made between the Cullen clan and the people of Fork, Washington. What is the pact? What are the repercussions of breaking the pact? And most of all, why is there a pact? None of these questions are answered, yet they are all strongly hinted at throughout.
As a result, the film only grazes the story, failing to go deep and uncover the many revelations that occur throughout the series. It is easy to forget that the film is only chronicling the events of the first novel. You must remember that beneath all the hype and anticipation, this film, much like the lead off book, is written off as nothing more than a character piece that serves as an introduction to the elements of the epic story; thus setting the stage for what is to come.