Twilight: A Teenage Vampire Romance Without The Bite
by Emilia Dellemonico


Last Friday, the movie that tween girls across the country have been dying to see finally premiered in theaters. If you haven’t heard of it, you must not be friends with any hopeless romantics who also happen to enjoy vampires. Of course, I’m talking about “Twilight,” an adaptation from the best-selling book of the same name by Stephenie Meyer. 

The story revolves around a human and a “vegetarian” vampire who fall hopelessly in love with one another, despite the fact that the vampire has an extremely powerful thirst for his young love’s blood. Needless to say, such a unique type of romance has gathered quite a following since it was published, and the internet has been rife with websites, message boards, and YouTube accounts all dedicated to ranting about how amazing the movie is going to be. 

From the first lines in the movie, which use an exact quote from the prologue of the book, it’s clear that the makers of this film had one goal in mind: make the plethora of fans of the book happy. While there was no way to cram every touching moment between the protagonists into the movie, the majority of fans should feel satisfied that the most critical elements from the novel were retained. Although it might not be exactly as every girl dreamed it would be, there were certainly small twists in the plot in order to fit it all into two hours; “Twilight” the movie comes much closer than any other film I’ve seen that was based on a book. 

Of course, having read the books myself (perhaps one too many times) and understanding exactly the type of feelings it evokes in its readers, this movie also seemed a little too schmaltzy and melodramatic for my liking. However, I might not be the average reader, who, as most people aware of the “Twilight” phenomenon will tell you, simply can’t get enough of mushy, over-the-top declarations of love and ample bouts of angsty teenage behavior with their vampires. Of course, I must admit, the book itself is pretty schmaltzy and over the top as well. But for some reason, I didn’t fully realize this until I saw it translated onto the big screen. 

While “Twilight” the movie will probably have no problem wooing the majority of its rabid fans, it does little else to make it a worthwhile trip to the theater for those that have not read the book series. Because it tried so hard to be loyal to the book, while still having the natural constrictions of a two-hour long film, the plot will probably feel slow and disjointed to non-readers. People expecting wild, vampire-driven action are also likely to be disappointed, as there is only a fraction of fast paced action compared to all of the awkward (albeit necessary) love scenes between the two characters. Very little time is given to display or even fully understand Meyer’s idea of vampires, who are so starkly different than most vampires that people unaware of the books will surely be left wondering where the bloody carnage was, or why on earth a vampire would sparkle with a sheen more powerful than a thousand teeth whitening commercials upon standing in the sunlight. 

Even more unfortunately, the romance between Bella (a human) and Edward (a “good,” non-human killing vampire) is not given nearly enough time for it to actually come off as the deeply involving love story it is in the books. Although I can now see just how cheesy some of this romance is, it is still one of the most unbelievably engrossing romance books I have ever come across (I’ve had my share, and been extremely disappointed with the lot of them). This time-stopping involvement with Edward and Bella’s romance is unfortunately not captured enough on screen. 

The majority of the problem, in my opinion, was the way the scenes between the two star-crossed lovers were choreographed by the director. Odd, often off kilter camera angles and blurry frames inhibit viewers to fully grasp just how much of a struggle it is for this vampire to not kill the girl he loves, even with two well trained actors, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, doing an extremely good job with such hard roles to fulfill. On top of the shady camera styling, teenage contemporary love songs burst into the most intimate scenes, completely erasing any semblance of serious emotion being portrayed by the actors. Perhaps the directors were trying too hard to satisfy the younger, more abundant fans of the movie than the older, possibly more mature college students such as myself (there are a surprisingly large number of us college aged “Twilight” fans, believe it or not). 

All in all, if you’re a fan of the book series, there is no question about whether or not you should see this movie. In fact, you’ve probably already seen it if you are. However, if you haven’t read the books, I can’t really say with any sort of confidence that you will feel like you got your money’s worth. Unless you’re intrigued enough to go out and read the books, you’d probably be better off picking up a season or two of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” or better yet a copy of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”