Twilight (2008)
March 4, 2024 9:34 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] High-school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), always a bit of a misfit, doesn't expect life to change much when she moves from sunny Arizona to rainy Washington state. Then she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a handsome but mysterious teen whose eyes seem to peer directly into her soul. Edward is a vampire whose family does not drink blood, and Bella, far from being frightened, enters into a dangerous romance with her immortal soulmate.

Also starring Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Gigandet, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Nikki Reed, Taylor Lautner, Kellan Lutz.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer. Produced by Greg Mooradian, Mark Morgan, Wyck Godfrey for Temple Hill Entertainment/Maverick Films. Cinematography by Elliot Davis. Edited by Nancy Richardson. Music by Carter Burwell.

Rated 49% fresh by critics on Rotten Tomatoes, though with a more generous 72% audience score.

Currently streaming in the US on Hulu. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Twilight (1990) vs. Twilight (2008)
A Comparison
  1. teenagers learning about love/sex: 1990, No; 2008, Yes
  2. rural Hungarian village gripped by urge for vengeance after child killings: 1990, Yes; 2008, No
  3. original song by Linkin Park: 1990, No; 2008, Yes
  4. pitch-shifted and slowed-down Kate Bush song: 1990, Yes; 2008, No
  5. female minor has shockingly relaxed attitude to hanging out with multiple murderer: 1990, Yes; 2008, also Yes
  6. average shot length: 1990, two minutes+; 2008: less than ten seconds
  7. makes you contemplate the nature of evil and mortality: 1990, yes in a manner drawing heavily on philosophical pessimism; 2008, yes because watching this feels like being punished and might make you wish you would die
  8. moody central performance by an obsessive white man with a perpetually dour expression: 1990, Yes; 2008, also Yes
  9. ending: 1990, sets up the idea that evil is real but we may be powerless to stop it; 2008, sets up sequels

posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:50 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]

Did you also watch Contrapoints' 3-hour long deep dive on Twilight, desire, and death this weekend? Because I sure did. With gratitude. It's reason enough for a rewatch...
posted by ourobouros at 10:50 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]

I make jokes about this movie/series, but honestly good on them for giving Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart f-you money for life, freeing them up to become two of our more interesting and adventurous stars. Much like how Christina Ricci (various kids' films) and Daniel Radcliffe (the movies based on she who shall not be named's books) are set for life and free to be weird, Pattinson and Stewart seem to relish knowing that they can take any unusual role they want and the zeroes in their bank accounts and the stans from Twilight will make sure they stay stars.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:51 AM on March 4 [21 favorites]

I have never read these books, nor watched the movies. I will stay that course. but I do enjoy hearing others discuss them. thanks!

(I just find certain types of deviation-from-canon really annoying. vampires drink blood, its a core aspect of their being. and they really aren't supposed to be out in the daylight, so they don't need to be sparkly.)
posted by supermedusa at 11:28 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]

I was part of the Twilight generation (in like late middle/early high school when the books came out and I actually have fond memories of these movies! I think it's a rare example of a movie that's actually better than the book it's based on.

Part of it is also that R Patzz and Kstew grew into such unexpectedly fascinating and eccentric celebrities and Stewart in these movies was a huge queer coming-of-age figure for me. She's so so hot in a way that's clearly not really for men.
posted by lizard2590 at 12:24 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]

I've always liked this one! It feels like the director and the cast were, uh, not taking it seriously in a good way. But then it became such a weird sensation that everyone had to be embarrassed about it, and then the series turned into CGI wolf fights and creepy alien babies?! But honestly, I've said this from the beginning: the first Twilight movie is a lot of fun.
posted by grandiloquiet at 4:02 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]

I rewatch this series every few years, and it's a hoot.

It's ridiculous, and I'm pretty sure everyone involved knows it's ridiculous. Everyone just throws all the weirdness at the wall and it sticks.

Sparkly vampires playing baseball in the forest? WHY THE DICKENS NOT.

And my favorite "character" is Edward's house, holy moly that place is beautiful.
posted by champers at 2:47 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]

And I agree with DOT - it's been a pleasure to watch Pattinson and Stewart grow into such interesting actors, who simply don't have to care because they've got bank accounts to fall back on.

And sometimes, out of nowhere, I think about Stewart's "I'm gay as hell" retort. And then I chuckle to myself.
posted by champers at 2:51 AM on March 5

I really like this film, Catherine Hardwicke did an awesome job finding the poetry in the material and I think they all took it just seriously enough.
posted by Coaticass at 3:17 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]

This movie really took a lot of people by surprise. Back in the old days, when I used to write for the Sci-Fi channel's print magazine, they sent me to the set in Portland to cover it. (The fact that they sent me instead of the guy who covered all the fancy blockbuster genre movies is itself an indicator that they didn't think it was a big deal.) I'd never heard of Twilight before. All they told me going in was "it's vampires in high school." So I was expecting a low budget b-movie kind of thing, which was what Sci-Fi usually sent me to.

There were only two other writers there - another sign that the major genre media didn't have this on their radar. One was a teenager from Boston with a really thick accent who had never been on an airplane before. The other one was a middle-aged woman who was a fan. I mean a serious MAJOR FAN. She was just losing her shit over the whole thing. She'd brought her copies of all the books and was getting everyone to sign them and gushing all over the cast. It was unprofessional as hell, but it was from her that I realized there was more to this than anybody realized. For her this was literally like the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. For two whole days she was about half a second away from a squeal growing into a scream. She knew how huge Twilight was in the right quarters. That's how I realized there was actually an enormous fandom that was seriously pumped up for this movie - it just wasn't the same fandom the genre media was used to talking to. They had no idea what it was.

I tried telling the people at Sci-Fi that this was going to be far bigger than they realized. I told them they should put it on the cover. (Nothing I got assigned ever made cover.) They didn't believe me.

Then Comic Con came along and that fandom invaded in huge numbers and basically took it over while all the regulars were going "what the hell is Twilight?" Then Entertainment Weekly put it on their cover and it was their best selling issue ever. They had to reprint it.

Could have been us, guys. Could have been us.
posted by Naberius at 7:25 AM on March 5 [23 favorites]

Not only did Twilight sneak up on mainstream horror fans, it actually made a lot of mainstream horror fans extremely angry -- so extremely angry that they (we) never even bothered to watch it! We all kind of knew that it was cheesy and the vampires sparkled and (I think, most relevantly) that it was for girls. Horror is complicated when it comes to feminist issues: there's a hell of a lot of male gazey stuff in horror, and certainly a lot of violence against women, but there's also a lot of heroines (far more than heroes), and a lot of women who are horror fans and horror creators. And I think that if Twilight had been the same story about a 28-year-old woman in grad school, it might have been different. But once you add in a fan base of squee-ing teen girls, the kind to whom as noted above Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson might as well have been the Beatles in 1963, forget it -- mainstream horror fans, specifically mainstream horror fan guys, were always going to hate this.

I, it should not therefore surprise you, never saw these movies until last year, when my partner wanted me to watch them with her. She acknowledges that they are cheesy, but she really likes them. And I mostly enjoyed them, I found! Without getting spoilery, there are a few interminable scenes in the later films that I don't think I could have plowed through alone, there's some smashingly ludicrous dialogue, there's some...notable CGI choices, and there are dramatic choices that are kind of "holy shit" in a bad way. I also feel like there's some racial stuff happening that could be problematic? They are not perfect movies! But I did like watching them, and this is probably the best of them. Losing Catherine Hardwicke was a mistake, IMO, but clearly that didn't hurt the box office any.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:00 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]

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