Monday, May 4, 2009
Late Observations: "Twilight"
I tried to finish the first "Twilight" book. I really did. But after the author reminded me for the 798th time of how gorgeous, perfect and Adonis-like vampire Edward Cullen was, something inside me broke. So I passed the book along to a friend's 10-year-old daughter, who has since devoured it and moved on to "New Moon." I'm always happy to support literacy.
I still find "Twilight" fascinating as a cultural phenomenon, which is why I watched the movie over the weekend. If I were a 13-year-old girl, I would be all over this. My walls would be plastered with pictures of adorable Robert Pattinson, and I'd be arguing over minor plot points with my fellow fangirls. That's because "Twilight" hits the bulls-eye of young teens girls' fantasies: that a beautiful, soulful and vaguely dangerous boy is obsessed with you, and only you, and that the two of you will co-exist in a bubble of melodrama and sexual tension ... without having sex.
Pattinson was a great pick for the role of Edward, one of the pasty/intense Cullen vampire kids who keep to themselves at Forks High School. As Bella, Kristen Stewart makes the character much more appealing than she is in the book. Of course, that may be because the movie doesn't allow for the nonstop newscrawl of Bella's internal dialogue. Stewart is part of a long tradition of "ordinary" female characters being played by very attractive actresses.
Like the book, the movie version of "Twilight" never really explains why Edward is so smitten with Bella, other than the unique scent of her blood. But the two actors do have good chemistry, which might explain why their off-set relationship is on the cover of all the gossip rags. And maybe I just noticed this because I'm old, but I thought it was neat that the supporting cast was so diverse. Black vampires? Who knew?! I remember when you could watch a teen film from start to finish and see nary a person of color. (And no, I'm not counting Long Duc Dong from "Sixteen Candles.")
Granted, I laughed out loud a few times, like when Edward informed Bella, "I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore." The whole sparkling-in-the-sunlight business made me giggle, too, but I realize I'm not the target audience. (Or am I? There seem to be an awful lot of women my age buying the books and swooning over Edward. That's .. interesting?) I'm not hating, though. Overall, "Twilight" is a perfectly serviceable movie that's worth a Neflix rental. On with the sequel.