January 9, 2009 By Snowbrocade
An unusual and lovely teen, Bella, reluctantly moves to live with her father in the misty, verdant forests of Washington State. Her first day of school goes well due to friendly classmates but then she encounters a young man, Edward, who glares at her with feral scorn--his black eyes sparkle with offense when she is near. She determines to confront his rudeness. But the next time she sees him he is oddly courteous and sincere. As they get to know one another Bella discovers that Edward has super strength and can even read minds. But when she is shocked by the icy cold of his hand she knows the truth. He is a vampire.
Edward's mystery, beauty and old-fashioned manners are irresistible to Bella. He makes a chivalrous attempt to stay away from Bella to protect her from the vampire world, but it is too late for both of them because are deeply in love. Bella and Edward have a forbidden love. They belong to warring families. Like Romeo and Juliet their passion is intensified by transgression against norms of their heritage. Bella is relieved to learn that the family of vampires Edward is a part of is unusual; they are "vegetarian" vampires, meaning they only drink the blood of animals.
Edward and Bella spend idyllic hours romancing in the mossy green redwood forests. Physical touching is almost impossible because Edward must continually fight against his fierce instinct to drink her human blood. But their hearts touch through their eyes. Edward's tender yet ardent courtship of Bella is poignant and tantalizing. Then Bella is threatened by becoming the target of a rogue predatory vampire. This predatory vampire is tantalized by the challenge of a battle of wits and skill against Edward and his family, who unite to protect Bella.
Meyer's brilliant Twilight series introduced a fresh new vampire world into the genre. And in the movie the freshness continues. Filmed in gorgeous redwood forests, it is startling to see vampires in the sunlit meadows yet seeing them in light does not make them less mysterious or menacing. The young actors in this film are well cast; beautiful but unusual. Their characters are not shallow teens; these are complex young adults that care deeply about their lives, friends and family. Bella, played with intensity and verisimilitude by lovely Kristen Stewart, is a worthy and courageous hero who does not hesitate to put her own life in danger to protect her mother and her father. Despite the fact that she is just a frail human she fights back against supernatural and human predators. Edward is equally interesting as he is physically seventeen but is much older in years. Yet Bella is his first love and he is terribly concerned that he will cause her harm. Oddly handsome Robert Pattinson plays Edward with magnetism and aching vulnerability. Kudos to the rest of the actors, particularly kind-faced Peter Facinelli as Carlyle, sensitive Billy Burke as Bella's father, captivating Justin Chon as Erik Yorkie, piquant Christian Serratos as Angela Weber, striking Gil Birmingham as Billy Black--I could go on and on the casting was excellent.
Brilliant director Catherine Hardwicke matched the beauty of the ancient forests with the emotional tone of the scenes with authority and confidence. Though I have not seen this director's other films I look forward to seeing her work.
Twilight the movie has had to make choices to adapt Meyer's huge novel to the screen yet no sacrifice of quality has been made. The movie sensitively portrays the thoughtful and passionate characters created by Meyer while it enthralls and entertains with its contemplative beauty. Vampires symbolize the primal drives in all of us but in Twilight we are introduced to vampires who choose to put aside these urgent desires to avoid harm. Tender love and care are portrayed as the greatest power of them all.
Seen it twice and can't wait to see it again. An enthusiastic five stars--Twilight deserves to be a smash hit!
INTENSITY AND VERISIMILITUDE