By Clint Morris
While ”Harry Potter” took a year off to examine the small patch of brown pelt growing on his gaunt chest, another star of the supernatural realm put up her hand to fill that vacant spot usually taken up by the Hogwarts crowd. He is Edward Cullen, the bushy browed blood guzzling brooding bad boy of Stephenie Meyer’s fantastical ”Twilight” novels.
Cullen is, of course, an immortal vampire who will never experience life like one of his human peers.
When a beautiful young woman enters his life, he is tempted to suck on her neck – but instead goes for the lips.
“Tsk, Tsk” whisper his people.
“Awww” go the packed audience of bubblegum chewing teenage girls.
Sounds like a pretty clichÃ©d character in a rather ‘Seen it all before story’, right?
For the most part the first film version of Meyer’s exceedingly popular literary series is pretty much well traveled territory.
We have seen this story played out to death on TV, with shows like ”Buffy The Vampire Slayer” exploring the relationship between a bloodsucker and a human love, as well as classic 1980s vampire flicks like ”The Lost Boys” and ”Near Dark”, which both told of young outsiders who fall in with the wrong crowd – in this case, meat eaters.
Of course, ”Twilight” isn’t aimed at us, it is aimed squarely at young teenage girls – a demographic that probably weren’t even alive when ”Lost Boys” and ”Near Dark” were released at theaters, and who may have been just a touch too young when the Buffy and Angel storyline rolled out on TV.
So this might be their first encounter with such a tale. If so, they will be hooked – because, lets face it, it is a damn intriguing concept and one that will no doubt hook them from the get go.
Seventeen year old Bella Swan (the beautiful Kristen Stewart, one of the movie’s high points) leaves sunny Arizona to live with her police officer father (Billy Burke) in the small and gloomy Pacific North-West town of Forks.
Seems the only thing in this town is rain and mist. What is a girl to do?
Bella soon makes some new friends at school but when she sees the pale faced Edward sitting with his brothers and sisters in the cafeteria she is instantly intrigued. Edward is stunningly attractive, almost inhumanly beautiful, and yet he is an outsider too.
Although Edward and his family have lived in Forks for two years they have never really been accepted by the townsfolk. It’s as if everyone knows they are vampires (which they don’t, in fact, the only people that seem to know their story are the local Native Americans).
One thing leads to another and, despite how difficult it is for him not to bite her head off, Edward and Bella fall in love. And she is fine with the fact that he is an ageless vampire too – in fact she is tickled pink by some of the nifty tricks he can do (like shoot up tall trees and bounce around the forest like an Ewok).
Of course, this relationship won’t be without its hurdles – and the main one comes in the form of a rival gang of vampires, namely the menacing James (Cam Gigandet, the chap that played the punk that killed Marisa in the car accident on The OC), who decide their enemies new pink skin friend will make a tasty meal.
As mentioned above, you have probably seen this before – but your daughter, niece, the girl serving you at K-Mart, younger sisters and anyone else still sticking L plates to the back car window won’t have. And even if they have, they’ll probably still like this.
It’s two hours of everything they could possibly want in a movie.
It’s perfectly packaged just for them. The hot “Dolly” cover worthy stars, the pop soundtrack, the heavy emphasis on forbidden love and the tragic relationship, and of course, all the pains that come with being a teenager…
It’s an attractive blend. If you are looking for a blood bath (i.e. bloodsuckers biting into necks left, right and center) you will be sadly disappointed. This is essentially Gossip Girl with a Blood mocktail.
There is more smooching, than sucking; more gazing into eyes, than poking out of eyes.
It might be best described as a “Gothic Notebook” or “A Walk with a Vampire to Remember”.
Though her writing’s are probably a little less polished than J.K Rowling (but at the same time she is also speaking to an older audience, say 16 year old females) it is clear author Stephenie Meyer has something here (as evident by the $70 million this film made on its first weekend of release in the states).
She has somehow got inside the mind of a young female and deciphered what she wants to get out of a movie. I don’t doubt there will be one teenage girl on the planet who won’t like this movie.
That’s not to say that these characters won’t be interesting to people of all ages, they most definitely will, it’s just that youngsters will be able to relate to them more – and be too besotted with the good looking boys on screen and syrupy lovey-dovey stuff to notice the performances are a little wooden and that the special effects budget could have benefited by being larger.
Having said that, the cinematography (coupled with the stunning locations) looks absolutely beautiful – just breathtaking!.
Cheesy, over-the-top fun for most of us (something that might even help block out the stench left by the last vampire film, the sucky ”Lost Boys 2”) but heaven-in-35mm for the gazillions of unlicensed young females across the world.
There are some awesome extras on the disc â€“ most notably a rather extensive making-of that leaves no questions unanswered. In this very intriguing doco, youâ€™ll learn the howâ€™s, whyâ€™s and whatâ€™s of the ”Twilight” world.
In addition, there are extended and deleted scenes (with commentary by director Catherine Hardwicke on why they were omitted), music videos (including that terrific ditty from Paramore), interviews with the cast and crew (boy that Kristen Stewart is a cutie!) and much, much more.
Expect this to fly off the shelves quicker than Edward and his â€˜Spider Monkeyâ€™ get up that tree!