Sunday, 21 December 2008

Twilight: Movie Review

Twilight: Movie Review

Rating: 9/10 for the emo kids; 7/10 for all others
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
There's nothing like seeing the first part of a cinematic juggernaut make it to the screen.
From the phenomenally successful Twilight series of novels by author Stephenie Meyer, this is the first of the books.
And as such, it's difficult to rate - it'll stand or fall on how the later episodes of the books are brought to the big screen.
The first of any trilogy, quadrilogy (whatever) is inherently about setting the scene - and Twilight is no different.
Kristen Stewart is (Isa)Bella Swan, a teenager suffering from the usual teenage alienation. Uprooted from her Phoenix community (where she never really fitted in as she never went with the rest of the gang) Bella comes to the little town of Forks in Washington to live with her father, the local law enforcement.
She's enrolled as a junior in the local school and immediately finds herself (thanks to her battered old ute) part of the slightly offbeat clique. And yet, she doesn't really fit in there either.
Her world is torn upside down, though, when she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), part of the ethereal (and pasty - almost deathly - white) Cullen family who are definite the outsiders of the school community.
When Edward is forced to sit near Bella in lab, he almost gags and has to run away - because apparently her stench is over-powering.
Somehow, though, a friendship is begun - thanks to Edward saying to Bella early on "I won't be your friend" (always the sign of someone who's more interested than they make out) and when Edward stops an out of control truck from slamming Bella into early oblivion, she soon realizes there's more to him than meets the eye.
Bella's introduced to the Cullen clan; a kind of vampire moment akin to Meet the Parents - and finds as vampires, they're vegetarian and have trained themselves to no longer devour human blood.
Life for Bella will never be the same; as she fights her attraction to Edward (and he fights his natural urges - both teen and vampiric) the situation becomes dangerous when a new tribe of killers enter town - and have Bella on their menu&.
It's hard to know exactly how to judge Twilight - it's clearly aimed at its audience; from the emo overtones with the music and moping, it's evident the adaptation's going to hit all the right chords with the teen girls and boys.
But for others, it's all been done before - Edward is yet another variant of the James Dean outsider (even right down to the iconic hair) and Bella is your average teen girl.
And it has to be said that the threat of being devoured by the new arrivals in town feels tacked on towards the end of the film and suffers from a rushed denouement.
Yet the film is extraordinarily long - and at times had me wanting to scream at the main players - Cheer Up Emo Kids!- as they espoused some bon mots as "I've been dying since I was born"&.There are plenty of humorous moments scattered throughout as well - one finds Edward wishing to meet Bella's father as he cleans his police rifle.
It covers off every horror of the American teen years - the feeling of abandonment as a child's shuttled between divorced parents; the awkwardness of the prom and who to invite and what to wear as well as having a relationship with someone thought of as the black sheep of the town.

However, every generation needs its Lost Boys and Twilight adequately fulfills that space in the 2000s teens' hearts; there's plenty of foreshadowing of doom to come in future films (Bella's involved in a prophecy; the vampires seem to be wary of the native American Indians) and plenty of scope for this vampire genre to be around for a long time to come.

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