Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) doesn’t expect much when she moves to the small town of Forks, Washington, until she meets the mysterious and handsome Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson)—a boy who’s hiding a dark secret: he’s a vampire. As their worlds and hearts collide, Edward must battle the bloodlust raging inside him as well as a coterie of undead that would make Bella their prey. Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling sensation by Stephenie Meyer, Twilight adds a dangerous twist to the classic story of star-crossed lovers.
The big-screen adaptation of Twilight
, Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire romance, is aimed squarely at its key demographic: teen girls whose idea of Prince Charming is a brooding, pale, undead teen who could kill you instantly at any moment. Such a prince is more fascinating than frightening to new girl Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who moves to the rainy-gray town of Forks, Wash., to live with her dad (Billy Burke), the local sheriff who's puzzled by a series of "animal attacks." On her first day at school, Bella appears to (visibly) nauseate her lab partner, Edward (Robert Pattinson). Turns out the scent of her blood is this vampire's "brand of heroin," and his struggle not to kill her causes an irresistible pull toward her. Whether he's attracted for the normal reasons or because she smells especially sweet to him is vague in the book and even less clear on-screen; nonetheless, Bella falls hopelessly in love with Edward, which sets her on a dangerous path when a few nomad vampires show up in town, one particularly keen on tracking the human. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen
is full of funny moments--not all of which are intentional--and the casting, from Stewart to Bella's self-absorbed friend Jessica (Anna Kendrick) is spot-on. The weakest link, unfortunately, is Pattinson. While he certainly looks the part, his Edward could have used an extra injection of testosterone (Pattinson, who is British, used James Dean as a model for his American accent). In scenes where he growls about the temptation to kill those who would harm Bella, or flitting around a forest warning her how dangerous he is, he comes off more like a whimpering puppy than a debonair monster. The good news is, his chemistry with Stewart (particularly in their big kissing scene) is palpable, which, let's face it, is really what matters to Twilight
fans most. --Ellen A. Kim
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Stills from Twilight (Click for larger image)