“Twilight” a crush you can sink your teeth into
It’s easy to understand the phenom behind “Twilight.” This first installment of Stephenie Meyer’s best selling novels is an abstinence fable that is based on love, not unrequited but, restrained. This is a romantic notion all but invisible in film today and to that end, “Twilight” has an old fashioned heart beating in its contemporary vampire-themed story.
If you don’t think someone can appreciate this first of (likely) many adaptations unless they have read the books let it be said one time: Bite me.
While fans of Meyer’s books will likely adore this film, there are several elements even novices can appreciate.
Kristen Stewart is a good choice as Isabella Swan, a lonely, quiet teen who is forced to move to tiny Forks, Washington to live with her father, the local police chief (a sturdy, likable Billy Burke). Though Stewart’s reticence and stammering initially annoy, she effectively captures the self doubt that can happen to a high school junior thrust into a school of strangers.
One student captures her immediate fancy, her chemistry lab partner Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). With his James Dean scowl and a coif that would impress Conan O’Brien, he at first rebuffs the new girl in town, reluctant to reveal the origin of his eternal youth-turns out he’s been 17 since the turn of the century.
Given the challenge of the role, Pattinson is immensely watchable–he would stick out in any group of his peers-but he also possesses a natural charm. Together the two navigate through some potentially sappy dialogue, the kind that George Lucas might have written, but somehow their scenes together feel more sincere than sticky sweet. As good looking as the pair are, sometimes the camera lingers too close for too long, though Edward groupies will almost certainly disagree.
Being the first installment the film requires Edward to explain his bloodsucking idiosyncrasies to Bella which include a shimmering skin and superhuman strength. Lucky for her, the Cullen family (who are all interesting characters themselves and hopefully will be further developed in future films) are “vegetarians” that is, they have sworn off human blood.
Not so for some lurking bad vampires who can smell fresh human from miles away and pose an imminent threat.
“Twilight” does a lot of things right including some action sequences involving tree travel, a thunder cracked baseball pick-up game, and one barn burner of a vampire duel.
Director Catherine Hardwicke who so skillfully guided “The Nativity Story” with a light touch, uses a similar approach here which may bother those who want their vampire stories to be loud, gory, and nightmarish.
But those movies have been made ad nauseam. In “Twilight” it’s the combined elements of teen angst, romance, and danger that separate it from your typical blockbuster.
Much like the first “Harry Potter” film, the objective here was to stay true to its source material and therefore satisfy its fans while working out some kinks along the way. “Twilight” delivers on that premise while giving converts both old and new something to look forward to.
Rated PG-13 (Violence, Sexual Situations)
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