Twilight sparkles, for teen girls, anyway
Finally, a chick flick with some bite to it. Dont misunderstand: Twilight has swimming pools of big, goopy romance. It has mountains of swoons and skyscrapers of sighs and so many long, heartfelt looks its hard to believe the characters eyeballs dont freeze in place. But it also has guys stopping moving cars with one hand, leaping across treetops, throwing 1,000-mile-an-hour fastballs and zooming up mountains like rocket ships. It has people torn to shreds. No people were torn to shreds in Sex and the City. Not even in Samanthas sex scenes. The extremely faithful adaptation of Stephenie Meyers initial Twilight novel is likely to please the already converted, a large group consisting largely of tween to 20 girls and their romance-reading mothers. It exists in a teen-virginal everlasting-love, knight-in-shining-armor reality where Prince Charming just happens to have fangs. Whether it will cross over to the male action crowd, though, is another question. There are those swimming pools of big, goopy romance. And they are Olympic-sized swimming pools. One things for sure: This is the perfect date movie if your date is 13 years old and just had her braces removed. Be prepared for literal screams from the audience. Not at the gory parts. At the swooning parts. Teen Bella (Kristen Stewart) has just moved to a small, cloudy town in upstate Washington to live with her police chief father (a nicely clotted Billy Burke). Shes making friends at high school when she spots an oddly beautiful group of five adopted siblings, the Cullen clan. Her eyes rest heavily on Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson cue the first screams). The initial attraction between the two is spurred even more when he inexplicably saves her from death with a superhuman feat. After puzzling mightily over whats so different about Edward, it finally dawns on Bella: Hes dead. Aw, heck, no boyfriend is perfect, right? So she and Edward hook up, and he takes her home to meet the family, all of whom have some desire to literally devour her. But these are vegetarian vampires they only chow down on animals, not humans. Still, complications ensue. The nice thing about Meyers novels is that although each is bloated to the approximate length of War and Peace, theyre mostly stuffed with lovey-dovey hooey and have very few scenes where anything actually goes on. Thus, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg is able to distill the novels essence quite nicely, losing almost nothing in the translation. And director Catherine Hardwicke, who specializes in edgy teen stories (Thirteen, The Lords of Dogtown), has a natural feel for the material. Still, in deference to fans and author the storys high corn level is kept intact, and at times the goopy dialogue is so bad it overwhelms. At other times the storys operatic moments become unintentionally laughable. Or maybe Hardwicke is just trying to break up the heaviness. Either way, the film works for what it is because of the performances of Stewart and Pattinson, each of whom give a lot more than theyre given. Stewart exudes intelligent innocence, and Pattinson has a sly sense of humor that helps. They never seem to be forcing themselves through the dialogue, which is something of a miracle. Twilight will sparkle for those who come wanting to see it glow; and it may seem downright dumb to many unbelievers. But it is certainly the movie the book and its fans warranted. Monsters in love what could be more reassuring?
Twilight An adaptation of author Stephenie Meyers initial Twilight, directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Rated PG-13 (some violence and a scene of sensuality) with a running time of 2 hours and 1 minute.
By Glenn WhippLos Angeles Daily NewsCatherine Hardwicke has experience directing love stories about abstinence-minded kids with very peculiar sets of problems. (It doesnt get more complicated than The Nativity Story, does it?)Even so, making a movie from Stephenie Meyers scream-inducing, lite-lit phenomenon Twilight, an essentially plot-free book about a sparkly bad-boy vampire (but oh, how he wants to be good!) and the fragrantly scented, oh-so-klutzy girl who cures his loneliness, presents its fair share of challenges. Kids and hormones. This, folks, is Twilight. Yes, theres a late-game, haphazardly shot, cheesy CGI showdown between Edward and a not-so-evolved (i.e. irredeemable) bad-boy vampire (Cam Gigandet), an alarmingly underdeveloped character. (Question: If this movie makes a little dough, can someone please ramp up the effects budget for the next one?)But Twilight exists as wish-fulfillment for every teen girl (or been-there, done-that teen girl … hello Twilight moms!) craving dangerous types and not just craving them, but winning them, so that they change (for you!) and they then love you so much that they will keep you safe and never, ever, pressure you into doing anything you dont want to do.Hardwicke, with an emphasis on extreme close-ups, captures that swoony intensity, and Pattinson and Stewart have an undeniable intense chemistry. For fans, thatll be enough. Newcomers need not apply.
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