'Twilight' Is Here at Last, but Does It
By Martha Brockenbrough
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"Twilight" can't fail. Even if it had
scenes of naked men doing interpretive dance or sad clowns singing
German opera, the screen adaptation of the hit Stephenie Meyer novel
would slay the box office competition.
Sadly, the humor from "Twilight" doesn't come from interpretive
dance or singing clowns.
Like a taco burp, it arises unbidden at all the wrong moments.
When Bella stumbles, as she does at least three times, it's
funny. When the vampires first appear, looking anemic, unblinking,
and impractically coiffed, it's funny. When Edward catches a whiff
of Bella in biology, it's downright hilarious.
But don't blame director Catherine Hardwicke ("Lords of Dogtown" and "Thirteen"). The movie is faithful to the
novel. All of those scenes and images, right down to Edward's
glittering skin, come straight from Meyer's utterly adored world.
Fans might laugh, but they're also going to love this movie.
(Confidential memo to Robert Pattinson, who
plays Edward: Next time, wax your chest hair. Edward is supposed to
look like he's carved from marble, not lambs' wool.)
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"Twilight" is about a teenage girl named Bella (Kristen Stewart) who
moves from sunny Arizona to rainy Forks, Wash., after her mother
marries a minor-league baseball player. It's a self-sacrificing
move, because Bella is all about self-sacrifice. She even tells us
so in her opening lines of narration. Could she be any more perfect?
So it's no wonder that Bella is warmly (and comically) welcomed
by the teens of Forks, except for one of them, Edward Cullen, who
just happens to be the campus hottie. Little does she know he's one
of a coven of so-called vegetarian vampires living nearby.
The mysterious Edward seems repelled by her very presence, even
trying to switch out of biology so he can have a less offensive lab
partner. But soon it is revealed that he likes how she smells. No,
he loves it. And, like Antony and Cleopatra, like Romeo and Juliet,
like peanut butter and chocolate, ~*Edward*~ and Bella must be
Wouldn't it figure that as soon as they get to kiss, something
has to come along and wreck things? Without giving it away, one
might wish Bella used a more effective deodorant. It would save all
sorts of problems.
But it's like that Shakespeare guy said: The course of true love
never did run smooth. If Shakespeare could have known Edward,
though, he would have edited himself. The course of true love never
did run smooth (darned chest hair). But it runs fast, even with a
girlfriend on its back. Swoon.
"Twilight" is rated PG-13 for violence and a sensual scene
(really, really, really slow kissing).
What's in It for Kids
For kids the right age, "Twilight" is like candy, both on the
page and on the screen. What's the right age? Probably about 12 and
up, though I've certainly heard of younger kids reading it, and, no
doubt, someone will bring an 8-year-old to opening night. Gah. Kids
younger than that don't really need to know about love's more insane
symptoms. Nor do they need to see scenes of vampires biting humans,
or even of police-chief dads drinking six-packs of Rainier beer
while watching baseball games.
Once kids are already in the cruel grips of adolescence, though,
"Twilight" can't make things much worse, though it might lead girls
to believe there is such a thing as a gorgeous boy who will hang on
your every word and use his superspeed to open your car door for
you, a boy who will carry you up a tree on his back so you can enjoy
the view, and a boy who will sit and play pretty tunes on the piano
while you hang on his shoulder, without hoping for sex in return.
Alas, kids, the Perfect Boyfriend is just as legendary as the
vampire or werewolf.
Next page: What's in 'Twilight' for
'Twilight': The Lost
Everything you need to know