You do not have to read Stephenie Meyer’s best seller, “Twilight,” to know the pop culture phenomenon that this one word entails. If the innumerable sold-out tickets to the highly anticipated film give no indication of the developing franchise, then the long lines and the shrieking of fans waiting for the midnight showing leave no doubt.
While it’s never an easy task to adapt a book to the screen, let alone a book as popular as “Twilight,” director Catherine Hardwicke does an excellent job being true to the book’s essence. “Twihard” fans and non-fans will not be disappointed by the film.
The story centers on Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), a 17-year-old girl who moves to rainy Forks, Washington to live with her father Charlie (Billy Burke), the town’s police chief. There, she falls in love with the erratic but beautiful Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
However, Edward isn’t exactly what he seems. He and his family are not of the living. But don’t expect to see garlic and dusty coffins in “Twilight.” The Cullens are unlike any of the blood-sucking vampires so stereotypically found in movies of the same genre. They do not burn in broad daylight. Instead, these insanely beautiful immortals feed on animals instead of humans.
Stewart and Pattinson share an electrifying chemistry that is undeniable throughout the film. Whether it’s the beautiful, picturesque scene in the meadow, or the zoomed-in shot of Bella and Edward’s first heated but chaste kiss, both actors play to perfection the deliciously tense, but genuine love that won’t be extinguished by the powerful forces at bay. The actors breathe such life into these characters that you’ll find yourself ignoring the shrieking audience members and rooting for Bella and Edward’s love, which is both tangible and painfully endearing.
The film’s budding romance might suggest a typical chick flick, but guys need not shy way from the film. While blood is at a minimum, the climactic battle between villian James (Cam Gigandet) and Edward displays some excellent, glass-shattering wire stunts that give the males in the audience a nice little break from all the romantic and, at times, cheesy scenes in the film. Also, the sadistic aura of the evil vampires, called Nomads, provides a nice buildup to the action in the latter part of the film.
Stewart seems to stand out above the rest of the cast. She embraces the passive character of Bella, yet invokes moments of spirit and confidence. It is difficult not to feel Bella’s strength and fragility, as well as her deep love for her bohemian mother, her awkward but loving father and her beautiful Edward.
Pattinson complements Stewart’s excellent portrayal with a credible performance of his own. In the film, Edward’s profound love for Bella is never questioned. He is willing to do anything to keep her safe, even from his own thirst for her blood. Applause is definitely owed to Pattinson for his bold and successful attempt to bring to life such a beloved character. It can’t be easy to play a drop-dead gorgeous vampire who suffers from moments of self-condemnation while being a loving and protective boyfriend.
Within the limitations of a small budget, “Twilight” successfully manages to be deeply engaging, whether it’s due to the romance between Edward and Bella or the good-looking cast in the film. Surely, many will be satisfied with this film, and this franchise will be back for another bite at the movie industry.