Adding to the often hollow words exchanged by the two main characters, were the bad ensemble cast. This is very heavily an ensemble film, and the sequels will be even more so, so I was devastated to see the Cullens (Rosalie, Emmett, Alice, Jasper, Carlisle, and Esme) exceed my expectations as individuals, but never quite mesh as a group.
At best the interactions between them were wooden, not something you expect from a family who have been together for decades. To make matters worse, their pale face makeup looked fairly ridiculous (when the film introduces Carlisle, at many angles he actually appears GREEN!), Jasper as a wide-eyed newly turned vampire winds up looking more like a zombie for the majority of the film.
Along with the makeup the special effects were downright atrocious; again they did what they could with the budget they had I expect. Most times when Edward is running or climbing, you can practically see the wires and harness, there is little fluidity of movement – with the exception of one scene in which Bella drops an apple and Edward pops it up with his foot. The action sequences are far overdone; I suspect this was an attempt to fill in what they couldn’t afford to do with high end effects, with overacted movements, which left me thinking B-movie. Finally, the numerous instances where speech was dubbed in over unmoving lips or lips were moving but no sound, was extremely unsettling – I don’t know much about film or sound editing, so it has to be bad if I caught it.
Overall, I was pleased to watch an on screen adaptation of a story I’ve come to love, but my greatest hope is that this will simply act as the stepping stone to a big budget production on the next installment.
3 ½ / 5 stars