Published Nov 21, 2008Millions of teenagers, and plenty of adults, have salivated over copies of Stephenie Meyers Twilight series (who knew?). This inevitable adaptation falls into a little serviced genre: the teenage vampire film. Admittedly, its hard to best two Coreys, a well-placed Doors song and a menacing Kiefer Sutherland (see The Lost Boys), and Twilight doesnt even come close.
The film starts with a familiar template: a good looking though slightly quirky girl (Into the Wilds Kristen Stewart) moves to a new town and falls for a misunderstood but pretty boy (Robert Pattinson). The twist comes in the form of the boys immortality and occasional desire to suck the girls blood. This complicates things, though not unworkably.
As perennial teen heartthrob Edward, Pattinson does his best Jim Stark impression (with a dash of early Bowie androgyny thrown in for fun). Aside from batting his eyes, brooding and intermittently stalking, the role doesnt call for much. More disappointing, Stewarts Bella hints at complexity before turning into an inexplicably devoted automaton.
Though a geriatric, perpetual high school student, Edward has yet to master social graces and his awkward first encounters with Bella is that a Lugosi reference? reek of falseness, and a hint of paedophilia. Since their romance centres the film, this doesnt bode well.
Plodding and lifeless, the plot drags its feet, relying on its beautiful cast and pretty scenery to compensate for its listlessness. That works for a bit but slipshod editing and incongruent framing undermine the vistas.
Characters abound, including knowing natives, a clan of altruistic vampires, various parental figures (Billy Burke stands out as Bellas father) and the nice popular crowd, but none get fleshed out. Two-dimensional villain James (Cam Gigandet) shows up too late to make an impact and the threads brevity makes it pointless. Furthermore, Jamess strange obsession with eating Bella surely theres a better meal than a thin teenaged girl lacks tenable motivation.
Employing gratuitous flashbacks, obvious dialogue (we get it, hes a vampire) and forced metaphors (romantic murmurings in biology class), Twilight spoon-feeds the audience condescendingly (and insults vegetarians for good measure). At least The Lost Boys had Alex Winter. (E1)