Star-Crossed Teens Will Love “Twilight”

22 12 2008

twilight_movie_poster-7184

“Twilight” 2008

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli

I have never read any of the Twilight novels, and I am no longer a 15-year-old girl. These two facts eliminate me from the target audience group for the screen adaptation of the first Twilight installment.

But I liked the film, in spite of myself.

The dialogue is steeped in melodrama, but the two lead actors have real onscreen chemistry, and their story is continuously absorbing as they find themselves drawn into a forbidden romance. This is the kind of love story that appeals to adolescent girls because it shows all the passion and excitement of romance without any of the conflict or monotony that exist in more mature relationships. The main conflict between Bella (Kristin Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) is that she really wants to kiss him, and he, being a vampire, really wants to bite her. Luckily, he is a “vegetarian” vampire, so he only eats animals, not humans.

There are other problems, of course. Bella is persistently stoic and unsmiling. Her situation is strange, her love likely doomed. But she is almost instantly embraced by her peers at her new school (the live ones. The undead take a bit longer to warm up to her), and her boyfriend is mysterious and HOT (what more could a teenage girl want?) Her mother is more of a buddy than a role-model, and her father keeps a comfortable distance, hesitant to butt into Bella’s affairs, but these are the parents of an adolescent girl’s dreams. Through the second half of the film, Bella is being hunted by a pack of blood-hungry vampires, but that’s all in a days work in the world of Twilight. You’d think the girl would crack a smile every once in a while (like when Edward valiantly saves her from a rowdy and hormonal bunch of teenage bullies. That warrants a half smile at least).

This is not a great film. It is not going to win any Oscars, and its unusually low budget is obvious throughout. But if it’s steamy enough to entice a somewhat romance-jaded 25-year-old, there’s no doubt it will captivate the teenage audience it is intended for.

♦♦½

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