Release Date: March 06, 1998
Starring: Kristen Sewart, Robert
Pattinson, Billy Burke, and
Genre: Horror/Teen Romance
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 121 minutes
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Executive Producer: Karen Rosenfelt, Marty Bowen,
Guy Oseary, and Michelle
Producer: Greg Mooradian, Mark Morgan
and Wyck Godfre
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg
Address Comments To:Rob Friedman, CEO
1630 Stewart Street, Suite 120
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 309-8400
Fax: (310) 828-4132
TWILIGHT opens with 17-year-old Bella leaving her mother, who’s re-married a baseball player in the minor leagues, and joining her father in the tiny, rainy town of Forks, Washington. In high school, Bella meets the mysterious Cullen family, including 17-year-old Edward, her mysterious, but incredibly handsome, biology lab partner.
Edward gives her the cold soldier in a weird way, then suddenly disappears for a few days. When he returns, he seems much more friendly, but still mysterious.
Intrigued, Bella keeps pressing Edward to open up to her. He continues being mysterious, until he just happens to stop a van, which has lost control, from hitting and killing her. Eventually, after some clever snooping by Bella into local Indian legends, Edward reveals to Bella that he and his foster father and mother are vampires who have disciplined themselves to only consume animal blood.
Edward is afraid that his romantic attraction to Bella will release his bloodlust. He tries to scare her away, but Bella becomes more infatuated. They decide to make their romance public while keeping the Cullen family’s secret. A group of nomadic vampires, however, have killed a couple humans. One of them targets Bella as her next victim, but Edward and his family decide to protect her.
The weak link in this movie is the performance of Robert Pattinson as Edward. He does not deliver the movie’s passionate lines and action as convincingly as Kristen Stewart, who does a much better job of conveying Bella’s emotions. Also, the action in the third act is rather pedestrian. It doesn’t generate as much thrills and suspense as it could or should have done.
That said, the movie holds one’s interest. The character arc of Bella’s growing relationship with her estranged father is quite moving at times. Hopefully, the sequels to TWILIGHT will deepen these redemptive, inspiring moments and Pattinson will become much more comfortable in portraying Edward’s emotions. The latter event may indeed happen, but reports about the content of the other three books in the series do not lend much credence regarding the possible content in the future movie sequels. For example, one Christian critic said, concerning the third and fourth books, that Bella makes some disparaging remarks about marriage and having a child. The theology and history about the vampires also seems to be occult and non-Christian as well.
TWILIGHT the movie doesn’t contain any overt references to God or religion beyond the movie’s brief explanation and portrayal of the special powers its vampires have. There is also one scene where Bella learns that the local Indians believe they were descended from wolves, but, from what we understand, this aspect doesn’t get much focus until the second book in the series. Apparently, the local Indians and the vampires do not get along.
TWILIGHT does not contain much foul language or teenage vulgarities, and the strong violence is not extremely bloody or graphic. There is, however, one scene in Bella’s bedroom where she and Edward almost start to fornicate but Edward has to stop himself, because he’s still scared that his vampire lust may take over his moral conscience. In other words, unmarried sex is okay for teenagers, but murder is not.
Because of this implication, and the movie’s vampire theme, TWILIGHT warrants strong extreme caution. Apparently, the author of the book series is a Mormon who attended Brigham Young University, but the often bizarre, non-biblical and anti-biblical teachings in that religion does not inspire confidence that the author knows, much less believes what the Bible actually has to say about God, truth, history, and morality.
There are ways to put a Christian worldview in vampire stories, as Bram Stoker’s original DRACULA novel does, and as do movies like the 1931 DRACULA with Bella Lugosi and the 1959 HORROR OF DRACULA with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. TWILIGHT gives no evidence that the film’s producers are going to do that with the movie sequels.
They are likely, however, to continue to capitalize on the great interest that teenage girls seem to have for the good-looking young male stars they are assembling for this movie franchise. At the screening MOVIEGUIDE® attended, there were some female screams regarding the featured young male actors. In light of that, parents probably should remind their daughters about the dangers of getting too wrapped up in physical appearances and heavy teen romance. It’s much better to be God-fearing, warm-hearted, conscientious, sincere, honest, biblically astute, and wise rather than “cool,” good-looking and on the make.
This first entry is just as much a teen romance movie as it is a vampire horror movie. The weak link is Edward Pattinson’s sometimes overly melodramatic performance. Kristen Stewart does a much better job as Bella. Though this first entry does not get into the strange, occult issues in the rest of the series, it presents smoldering teenage passions apart from God. Thus, TWILIGHT warrants extreme caution.