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January 18, 2009
Review - " Twilight " (in Theaters) - By Roland Hansen
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Twilight - Rob Pattinson & Kristen Stewart
"Twilight"  (Golcrest Pictures & Summit Entertainment)
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Taylor Lautner

The very talented and Delta Award winning actress, Kristen Stewart
manages to choose roles where her characters seem have a lot of trouble
with sex. In "Speak" she plays a high school Freshman who is raped by a
Senior at a party. In "Zathura" she gets all moony eyed over a hunky
astronaut who turns out to be her brother (shoulda seen the look on her
face when she discovered THAT little tidbit). "Fierce people" finds Kristen
playing with some body paints with Anton Yelchin. She tells him "Tonight's
your lucky night". On his way to their little tryst he gets jumped and beat
up. Poor Kristen has to do without. In "Into the Wild" Kristen is lying on a
bed in her underwear practically begging Emile Hirsch to give her a little
satisfaction and he says "Let's go visit a museum instead" (In the words of
Hermione Granger "What an idiot!"). Her character Lucy Hardwick from "In
the Land of Women" falls for the cute guy across the street. He slips her
the tongue but wont go any further cuz he's in love with her mother (go
figure). In "The Cake Eaters", Kristen is a young woman with a
degenerative neurological disease similar to Cerebral palsy. She manages
to get into a big fight with her boyfriend - in bed in the motel room (rented
for the express purpose of disposing of that annoying virginity) just before
the big moment. I won't tell you how it turns out, you'll have to rent it and
see for yourself. And Now, as Bella Swan in "Twilight", she falls in love with
a guy she can't get it on with because it could literally kill her. Perhaps
she'll fair better as the stripper Mallory later this year in "Welcome to the
Rileys". One can only hope.
For a teenager, one of the hardest life changes is to be transferred to a new school in the middle of a grade, especially if
that grade is in high school. Such is the unenviable situation of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who has moved from Phoenix
to the small Washington State town of Forks in the midst of her junior year. Her new school isn't a bad place. Despite the
small size of the student body, it has all the usual cliques: jocks, nerds, outcasts, and Goths. The final group is unusual
in that it's not comprised of Marilyn Manson lookalikes but real life vampires. Of course, no one knows that.

"Twilight" takes place in the rainiest place in the continental United States, Forks, Washington, where Bella Swan (Kristen
Stewart) has come to live with her father, Charlie (Billy Burke), in order to give some much needed space to her mother and
her husband back in Phoenix. Carrying a cactus and a load of good intentions, she braves a new school full of strangers in
mid-year, and a father who adores her but has trouble expressing it in so many words. Forks, being a town of barely 3,000,
finds Bella the most exciting thing to have happened lately. She makes friends easily, and one enemy, just as easily. That
would be Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), whose strange beauty and even stranger antipathy towards her sparks her
interest. After a couple incidents and the help of an old Native American legend, she figures out Edward is a vampire. Of
course, it’s just a matter of time before the reasons for that antipathy are declared, before Edward and Bella admit their
mutual desire, and before the Cullens, Edward’s foster family, also vampires, come around to accepting Bella as part of their
family. But soon their relationship is tested when three vampires begin to hunt humans in Cullen's territory.

Kristen Stewart, who may be familiar to some viewers from appearances in "In the Land of Women" and "Into the Wild",
acquits herself admirably. She brings a seriousness to Bella that works because she plays the role absolutely straight. We
believe her because she sells the character. Robert Pattinson fairly smolders on screen, so much so it's surprising that the
celluloid doesn't literally catch fire. He switches seemingly effortlessly between brooding angst, revulsion, anger, amusement,
and fairly oozing charm. There is no question that Stewart and Pattinson have loads of chemistry on screen. It's not
surprising that Robert developed a real life crush on Kristen. Good luck to him. Regardless of how much the fans would
like to see the two get together, Kristen does not reciprocate the feelings. She already has a boyfriend in her "Speak" co-
star, Michael Angarano.

This irresistible love story involves the brooding hero of the novels, Edward, a beautiful young man whose vampirism
prevents him from doing anything more than sharing a few chaste kisses with the Bella, the heroine. Their time together
involves him actually talking to her, and more, listening to her. And because her blood smells better to him than anyone
else's, his attraction to her will never end and neither will his temptation to not only drink Bella’s blood in a frenzy of thirst, but
also to have his more carnal way with her in a frenzy of lust. He suffers because of his baser instincts, making him more or
less, the almost perfect boyfriend.  

The script has taken a few liberties with the novel, but all serve to make the plot zip along in a cinema-friendly fashion. There
is also an expansion of the relationship between Bella and her father, Charlie, a man of few words, but of deep feelings.
When Edward appears to formally introduce himself to Charlie, it just happens to be when the latter is cleaning his rifle and
the way he snaps the weapon shut while telling Bella to bring him in speaks volumes about the nature of their relationship
and that of fathers and daughters as a whole through the ages. The relationship between Edward and Bella is nicely
handled. If the story itself is a cliché, Pattinson and Stewart invest a touching sincerity in their characters that allows for a
modicum of playfulness amidst the brooding and angst of their forbidden love. The secondary humans of the story are lively,
multi-cultural, and, like the rest of the town of Forks, because the story demands it to work, oddly dense when it comes to the
vampire brood in their midst. Less dense, and certainly more intriguing are the Native Americans, including Jacob (Taylor
Lautner), who has a crush on Bella and knows the local legends about just who the Cullens really are. Truth be told just
about every male in town has a crush on Bella. Several of her classmates ask her out but she manages to deftly deflect their
attentions elsewhere without bruising any egos. She may be clumsy in gym class but she's has grace to spare in the
relationship arena.

Twilight’s built-in audience won’t be disappointed in the way the characters have been brought to life. They are lovely,
anguished, and plucky as they break the rules their respective societies have laid down for them. Far from a masterpiece,
though, it manages to be an entertaining bit of fantasy with a take on the vampire myth that is a refreshing change from the
ordinary.

The filming was very impressive, and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. The cast does a nice job of bringing the
characters to life. Stewart and Pattinson portray their characters exceptionally well, as does Billy Burke as Charlie, Bella's
father, adding surprising humor.

"Twilight" is tastefully adapted into an impressive movie that will leave viewers and fans satisfied and waiting for the
second.