Twilight was a madhouse of maniac teenage girls, a description which may or may not have included myself and my friend. However, it made for a fantastic and charged atmosphere; really, it was like one big slumber party, with everyone “shh!”ing as the lights went down, laughing at Jasper’s face (he is kind of funny looking, he has this permanently surprised look), murmuring when Edward appeared and cheering and wolf-whistling when Edward and Bella kissed.
The book might not have been subtle, but the film makes you appreciate such qualities, generally hitting you over the head with things like Bella’s scent and Edward being a blood-scuking, immortal “cold one,” just in case you live under a rock and hadn’t realised Edward is a dirty great vamp. However, like the book, the chemistry, head-over-heels part where they (supposedly) fall in love is lacking and therefore kind of unbelievable. I mean, Edward goes from being “we shouldn’t be friends” to “I can’t stay away from you, I must watch you sleep and follow you to Port Angeles,” and Bella’s all “I trust you, even though I don’t know you AT ALL and you’re a vamp who not only lusts after my body but – more importantly – my BLOOD.” While it’s faithful to the essential outlines – and favourite quotes – of the plot, it takes liberties by mixing in parts from New Moon.
Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) is broody and aloof almost to a point of overkill (but he still looks good when he’s brooding, so all is forgiven), and fairly well captures Edward’s internal struggle between his clashing desires; Bella, and the need to resist her. However, even CGI can’t mimic the sparkle of Edward Cullen’s diamond-looking skin in the sunlight; the result is pitiful and somewhat laughable.
It is well worth the wait to see Edward smile; on the other hand, it looks as though Bella (Kristen Stewart) is in constant pain, even though she’s with the sexiest vamp EVER. As Jake Wilson observes in The Age, “she has only two real acting weapons: her lashes, which she flutters to indicate confusion, and her prominent front teeth, which are put on show when she lets her mouth fall open in a wary, appraising look.”
The secondary characters, on the other hand – Charlie, Jacob and the Cullens – play their parts well, although Jacob and the Cullens were all too minor, if you ask me. I hope we see more of them – especially the latter, who were particularly good – in the film/s to come.
Jim Schembri wrote a hilarious response to the film about “25 things you will learn about your average modern-day angst-ridden teenage vampire from watching the new hit movie Twilight,” including, first and foremost, that “broadly speaking, the world is divided into two groups: normal people, or “mortals,” and vampire people, or “immortals.” The chief advantage of being an “immortal” is the ability to sit through an entire screening of
Which leads me to the “obese epic” that is
Perhaps the best and most arresting thing about
David Wenham does a mean (pun intended) bad guy (Neil Fletcher), the evil and ambitious underling to the King of the Beef Industry and landowner Carney (Bryan Brown), who wants Faraway Downs. Much underhandedness ensues, there is the inevitable confrontation, a declaration of war and so begins the battle for Faraway Downs, which is restored to its former glory with a joint effort by the Drover and Mrs Boss, who – obviously – fall madly and passionately in love. But wait – it’s not a true Luhrmann film without tragedy, which is scattered throughout the film but is compounded in the last hour (by which time you are practically begging for the film to end.)
Sure, it’s clichéd, corny, predictable, much too long, melodramatic and cringe-worthy (at least for Australians), but it’s romantic, spectacular, evocative, impressive and feel-good. Evan Williams sums it up best when he says: “there are moments in Baz Luhrmann’s over-sized, over-long Outback weepie Australia, when one wonders if there are any tablecloth clichés about Australia that have been missed. We have the horses, the cattle, the dust, the rugged Aussie loner, the Aborigine standing on one leg in a loincloth, the beer, the roos. About the only thing missing is a bloke named Bruce.”
Germaine Greer – ever controversial – had a field day in yesterday’s Age, with a scathing article about how the film is “strictly fanciful,” “a film that twists history into a fairytale confections…and glosses over the shocking exploitation of Aborigines,” essentially expressing indignation and outrage over Luhrmann’s lack of historical accuracy. But that’s exactly what
Twilight: 2.5 stars
Australia: 3 stars