Twilight ** (out of ****)

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz
Rating: PG-13 (some violence and a scene of sensuality)
Running Time: 122 min
Release Date: 11/21/08

Twilight is another in the long series of vampire stories. Whether in books, moives, or TV they seem to have an eternal live of their own. Stephanie Meyer has written a series of novels of which Twilight is the first. I haven’t read them and so please understand my review is based only on the film. If there was something more redeeming in the book version, it would seem that screenplay writer Melissa Rosenberg and director Catherine Hardwicke have failed to capture it.

The story begins with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), whose parents are divorced, leaving her mother in Arizona and going to live with her father Charlie (Billy Burke) who is the police chief in the small town of Forks, Washington. She goes through the new girl in school phase and soon had two boys competing for her attention. Eric Yorkie (Justin Chon) is an Asian-American student who gives her to tour of the school and Mike Newton (Eric Welch), the good-looking jock, who manages to interrupt Eric every time he tries to ask Bella out.

In the normal world we’d bet on Eric, but instead for some inexplicable reason, she falls for her weird biology lab partner Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). The guy just stares at her, a technique that I at least haven’t found to be very successful. Then again this is a girl who is just pleased as she could be when her father gives her an old red pickup truck. It must be partly the fascination that developed after Edward saved her from being crushed between her truck and a van skidding out of control by an act of pure physical strength. Before long things develop and it seems that Edward has all the answers in class. There is a reason for this, you see Edward has done it all before. He is a vampire who is stuck in a teenage body and so as cover he goes through high school over and over again.

Edward tries to push Bella away given that he loves her but also sees her as potential meal. Eventually, she is invited over to meet the “family” for dinner. They are really aren’t family but a group of very out of place looking vampires with the town doctor, Carlisle Cullen, playing the role of father since he is the leader. The group at first seems to see Bella as potential “meal” but Dr. Cullen and Edward make it clear that is not to happen. Bella is enjoying the vampire “trip: until a group wondering vampires enter the scene. One of them gets a big time taste for Bella leading to the action phase of the film.

It’s really unclear to me why this was such a hit movie. So much of the motivation of the characters seems strange. Why do these girls keep falling for the vampires? Why does the vampire fall love with its meal? But, then it happened to Buffy as well. As the saying goes, “you just don’t get it!” In this case I don’t.

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