We judge it for you: Twilight
Mock it if you want, but for the legions of devoted fans of
Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series, Twilight was the most
eagerly-awaited movie of 2008.
Heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is a smart, quiet, and slightly
clumsy 17-year old girl who moves to Forks, Washington, one of the
cloudiest and rainiest towns in America, to live with her divorced dad
Charlie (Billy Burke), the local police chief. Shortly after arriving,
she falls in love with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), the most
attractive boy in her high school.
There’s only one problem: Edward is a vampire. Fortunately, he’s not
a nefarious vampire like those that usually populate teenage horror
films. Edward is part of a clan of well-intentioned vampires who drink
animal blood instead of human; in an ongoing joke, they refer to
themselves as the vegans of the vampire world.
Bella and Edward initially avoid each other and try to avoid their
mutual attraction. Edward doesn’t want to hurt her (or worse — bite
her), and Bella has been warned off the Cullens by her pal Jacob
(Taylor Lautner), whose Native American tribe seem to be the enemies of
the vampire family.
Though they eventually give into the mutual lust, there is one
important caveat. Because he does not want to lose control around her,
Edward tells Bella they can’t have sex. (The pro-abstinence message is
one of the reasons the series has become so popular amongst tweens and
their moms.) To keep their hormones in check, the couple spend a great
deal of time not touching; while climbing trees or lying in meadows or
sitting in class, they spend an inordinate amount of time gazing
intensely and adoringly into each other’s eyes.
While Edward and Bella are busy falling in love, a trio of more evil
vampires, led by tracker James (Cam Gigandet), are killing people near
Forks, grabbing the attention of the Cullen family and Bella’s police
chief father. Luckily, the script, though mostly faithful to the book,
eliminates a great deal of Bella’s clumsiness and teenage swooning, and
amps up the action scene (which in the book is mostly glossed over).
As far as tales of star-crossed lovers go, Edward and Bella are no
Romeo and Juliet. Still, as an ode to love of the emo variety, the
movie still manages to charm. The film is full of beautiful shots of
sweeping northwest scenery, the soundtrack is appropriately moody, and
the appealing leads are full of endearing teenage angst. You might go
in skeptical, but allow yourself to be won over.
Film is directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and also stars Peter
Facinelli (Carlisle), Ashley Greene (Alice), Nikki Reed (Rosalie),
Jackson Rathbone (Jasper), Kellan Lutz (Emmett), Anna Kendrick
(Jessica), Elizabeth Reaser (Esme), and Rachelle Lefevre (Victoria).