Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Nikki Reed
by Jen McNeely
They have stayed up late at night devouring hundreds of pages and fantasized about having a first kiss with a vampire. They have blogged about it and held late night debates at slumber parties. With years devoted to imagining the characters and turning to them as a means of escape from feuding parents or quarrelling friends, they are more than ecstatic with the release of Twilight – and have likely pre-ordered their tickets.
Who are they? Teenage girls – and the fate of this film is ruled by them. Whether they will be satisfied is hard to say but as a woman on the outside of this phenomenon, I can tell you that my satisfaction is now fixated on having a teenage vampire awake me in the night to smell my blood and chill my skin.
Set in Forks Washington, the film is dark and moist – as is the romantic story between high school cool girl Bella Swan, played by tom boy hottie, Kristen Stewart (Into The Wild), and apathetic angst ridden vampire Edward Cullen, played with absolute sex appeal by Robert Pattinson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).
The story unfolds when Bella, who narrates the film as diary entries, moves from Mom’s house in Phoenix to Dad’s hokey little town on the west coast. On the first day of school, Bella receives much attention from her silly male classmates, as the good looking addition to the chokingly small student body. But Bella is far too fixated on the silent, pale Edward – whose clique of aloof and mysterious (and likewise pale) friends are quite separated from the rest of the cafeteria.
Casting director did a slam dunk job pairing these two together. So many teen couples on screen have a single layer flirtation, but the immediate connection between Stewart and Pattinson radiates heat, despite being cold to touch.
While most teen love stories involve shiny hair and dimples, this one is practically erotic with Edward admitting to Bella “I like watching you sleep” and “your scent is like heroin to me”. Her confessions are just as steamy letting us know that she’s turned on by Edward thirsting for her blood.
There’s a lot of friction and build up before the two kids finally decide to go steady, despite fatal warning signs. This is then followed by fighting, flying through trees, protective father scenes, flighty mom on the phone, spooky Native legends and the prom.
Although there was a lull in the middle, the scenic shots of towering cedars and the DWELL Magazine worthy vampire dwelling that could have doubled for a contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright kept us enchanted.
As the credits rolled, tweens seated in front of me made plans to return this weekend, while fourteen year olds conversed in the bathroom their reaction to the film versus the books. It could not be determined whether they were elated or disappointed with scenes, but they were talking a mile a minute; almost too excited to wash their hands.
One thing is for certain, Twilight is a sophisticated teen romance that grapples complicated teenage themes with care, imagination and beauty. You probably won’t feel compelled to go out and buy the books but you may fantasize about a young vampire awakening you at night with a big fat boner.