November 22, 2008 2:06 AM PST
When her mom and new step-dad decide to take to the road and travel to Florida from Arizona, Bella opts to go live with her police chief father in Forks, Washington. She enrolls in highschool where she is a junior and meets Edward Cullen, vampire, and the chemistry sparks in biology class where they are lab partners. She's the new kid in school and he is the dark and brooding mysterious one (you get the picture?). They are drawn together and fall in that frenetic "you are my soulmate" state of affairs rather quickly, but we ARE talking highschool juniors here. Edward belongs to a clan or family of vampires who have turned from feeding on humans to relying on the blood of wild animals and they live pretty integrated in the local community, though their vampiric nature is not public knowledge. Bella, however, is brought into the know through her relationship with Edward. When some renegade vampires come to town, Bella becomes a target for James, the unsavory tracker for the group of bad guy vamps. And this is where the highpoint of the movie takes place, the chase, the damsel in distress, the hero trying to save the day....
I am a big fan of the vampire/horror movie genre, so when I heard Twilight was in the works I looked forward to opening day. Its gotten a ton of hype on the web. I don't watch too much television, so I dont know how saturated that outlet has been with promotional spots. I imagine cast members have been hitting the talk show circuits, though.
anyhoo....the story is based on a wildly best-selling book series by Stephanie Meyer ( http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilight_movie.html
) I never read the books, but the general story was one I wanted to see. The movie was directed by Catherine Hardwicke. She's the one who directed Lords of Dogtown, Thirteen, and The Nativity Story. Kind of thin on directorial projects. The screenplay was in the hands of Melissa Rosenberg. While she seems to have a great deal of experience writing for tv, she only had one other screenplay project to her credit.... 2006's Step Up. Still, I was not deterred from believing. Director of photography was a Hardwicke favorite, Elliott Davis. He was the DP on all three of Hardwick's previous films. (I loved his work on Lords of Dogtown) And for Twilight, he went for a very moody, gloomy, perpetually dusk blue setting. It felt more like wintertime in Barrow, Alaska where the sun never shines for the season.
Then there's the cast... I won't go all into it, but suffice to say there were no really big names anchoring this ship. The interesting note here is that the female lead, Bella, is played by Kristen Stewart who also played Jodi Foster's asthmatic
diabetic daughter in Panic Room.
Overall, the film had all the right elements, but none of them seemed to connect. I never once believed any of the over-angsty chemistry between Bella and Edward. The bad guys weren't bad enough to make me fear for Bella in the slightest. Minor characters seemed to be too prominent when they didnt serve the story at all in this context. And, for it being a vampire movie, I don't recall seeing a single fang. Is that even legal? (maybe I blinked)