Reviewed by: Jennifer McGillan

Full disclosure: I haven't read any of the books, and if I have my way, I never will. I learned everything I know about Twilight from the recaps written by Cleolinda Jones. As it turns out, that knowledge was more than sufficient to be able to follow the plot in the movie. As plots go, it is not a complicated one: Girl (Bella Swan) moves to small town, meets Boy (Edward Cullen) who kind of seems to hate her, but then he rescues her from Peril, and it turns out he likes her. She maybe hates him at first, too, but then she changes his mind and falls uncontrollably in love with him. And then it turns out he's a vampire! A vampire who sparkles in sunlight, and does not want to drink her blood or ravage her person. A vampire who would much rather lay around in a meadow while wearing beige, holding hands and looking soulfully at the sky. Or maybe play some baseball! In a thunderstorm!

It's the baseball that brings the bad vamps to the yard, and which in turn kicks the shenanigans into high gear. The bad vamps clock that Bella is not a vamp, which they can't be doing with at all, so they decide she's absolutely a snack. Edward isn't impressed. Hijinks and high-speed chases ensue, but everyone gets home in enough pieces to go to prom and drop the anvil of foreshadowing on our heads for the next installment of the story. (Which I am totally going to see, because, dude, werewolves! I can't wait to see what awful things are going to be done to that archetype!)

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As you have probably gathered by now, this movie is ridiculous. My initial reaction was that it was also epically, hilariously awful, but on further reflection, that's not entirely true. The scriptwriters shaped Meyers' reportedly turgid prose into something that flowed reasonably well, and director Catherine Hardwicke (who has since been fired from the franchise) extracted performances from the cast that ranged from decent to fine. (My viewing companion was convinced Robert Pattinson was pondering string theory in all of his scenes; I maintain he was trying really hard not to laugh at some of the clunky things he had to say.) And the cinematography is quite good; the sweeping vistas of Oregon are both epic and content to fade into the background when necessary.

Here's what this movie is not: a traditional vampire movie. If you are in any way attached to the blood-and-sex drenched mythos, and the idea of vampires who don't live in castles with moats and scary looking gargoyles causes your eyes to bug out with suppressed rage, well, you should just stay home and watch Nosferatu or Shadow Of The Vampire.

If, on the other hand, you think you can keep the heckling inside until you leave the theater and not cackle like a hyena during a Sensitive Moment (like I did), get yourself to the cinema and prepare to laugh (quietly, into your sleeve!) until your stomach hurts. (Seriously, y'all, be respectful to your fellow moviegoers. For many of them, this movie is the Holy Grail. You would be upset if someone howled and heckled through The Lord of the Rings/Star Wars/The Half-Blood Prince/insert movie of your deepest heart's desire here, okay?)

Reviewed on: 13 Dec 2008
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A vampire romances a mortal girl in an American small town.
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Rick Derisz ****

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Writer: Melissa Rosenberg, based on the book by Stephenie Meyer.

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, Cam Gigandet, Taylor Lautner, Anna Kendrick

Year: 2008

Runtime: 122 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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