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Twilight (2008)

When you can live forever, what do you live for?

Directed by:

Catherine Hardwicke

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 122 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

Country: United States

I went into Twilight with no prior knowledge of the crazy popular book series by Stephanie Meyer—except that it was crazy popular. Being the girl I am, I was ready to hate it—it seemed a bit too Hot Topic cool for me, and besides, I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer with rabid fan-girliness, and this smelled like an encroachment on the human-loves-a-vampire genre that I’m still not ready for. But for all my squinty-eyed mistrust, though mockable at points, Twilight isn’t nearly the disaster I’d expected, and should satisfy its intended audience.

Isabella “call me Bella” Swann (Kristen Stewart) moves to the small town of Forks, Washington. She’s a bit surly—not exactly the popular type—but is surprisingly welcomed into the cool kid clique in the high school. As such, she’s given the lowdown on everyone else—mainly, the borderline incestuous Cullen “family” whose gaggle of foster children seem to move in slow motion and date each other. The only unattached member of the clan is Edward (Robert Pattinson), and he and Bella quickly bond, unable to hide their mutual attraction. Oh, and yeah, they’re vampires, so THAT’S a whole weird thing. Then the killings start, the work of three vamps who don’t so much adhere to the “no human blood” rule, and when one of them gets a whiff of Bella … well, it’s all downhill from there.

My first instinct was to dismiss this as fodder for romantic fifteen-year-olds—which it is—and to make fun of the angst-laden, oh-so-intense glances from across the biology lab—which I did. But it has something about it, something that made me look up comments on it and ask readers of the book how they felt about how the big screen handled their book. A friend told me, “You like it.” I fought vehemently, but his point was this: “We hate Hannah Montana. We do not spend time looking up background information on Hannah Montana or talking to people about it. You just had a whole discussion about Twilight and whether it was ‘true to the book’. You like it.” There’s some of the cheesiest dialogue ever; while cavorting in the woods, Edward declares to Bella, “You’re like a drug to me. Like my own personal brand of heroin.” There are plot holes—maybe these things come up in the book, but why can’t Edward read Bella’s mind? Why is James so intensely obsessed with Bella? And maybe it’s the character, maybe it’s Stewart, but I found Bella to be not-so-likeable. Despite all this, however, I think the movie is right on for what it is. The boys are beautiful and tragic, the teenage love is tragic and epic, and it’s all just so almost-taboo. As a story, it’s OK, and if it’s your thing, you’ll be entertained.

It's Got: Big time tragic teenage love, pretty boys, and overacting.

It Needs: To calm down on the meaningful glances.

Alternatives:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cry-Baby, Interview with a Vampire

Summary

It sucked me in more than I thought it would, and for fans of the epic tragedy of melodramatic human/vampire love, this is a film for you.

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