Weeks before the release of Twilight, teenage girls around the country became filled with Twilight-mania, after a wildly successful release in America. A dark love story with the added elements of a great soundtrack, a very pretty boy (Robert Pattinson) and a not-too-pretty girl (Kristen Stewart), and above all, fangs, it looks set to repeat that success here.
Based on the first of a series of books written by previously unknown author, Stephenie Meyer, the whole saga (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) have sold over 25 million copies worldwide, in 37 different languages. Its no surprise if Hollywood got involved: the surprise is that theyve done a pretty good job.
We first meet headstrong Isabella Swan (its just Bella) as she sets off to the small town of Forks, in Washington, to live with her dad while her mum goes on tour with her new husband. At school, Bella becomes intrigued by the mysterious Cullens – Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, Jasper (the one who looks like he’s in pain) – and most of all, Edward. Their first meeting is painful and awkward but slowly a tension develops between them, until Bella finally learns the truth. Edward, and the rest of his family, are vampires.
Though complicated by an ever-present blood-lust, Edward and Bella keep seeing each other, until during an extreme game of baseball (a truly exhilarating sequence), a not-so-gracious vampire group arrives and sets out after for Bellas blood. Can Edward protect her from the perfect hunter without turning Bella into a vampire herself?
In her first major release, director Catherine Hardwicke has produced a film thats beautiful to behold. Shot in a lofi realistic style, it never glosses the audience into submission, relying instead on stunning scenery, and the kind of atmospheric music that sends soundtrack albums flying. The cast are mostly unknowns devotees might recognise Robert Pattinson from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Kristen Stewart from a small part in Jumper but for the most part its refreshing to see new faces taking to the big screen so well.
Supporting characters are well sketched with enough personality to keep you interested. Jackson Rathbone, as the most recent vegetarian Jasper, puts in a particularly entertaining performance despite only one line. Billy Burke, as Bellas Dad, provides a warm backdrop for all the fantasy stuff, in a role a little reminiscent of J. K. Simmons turn in Juno.
There are times when the pace is a little slow. Edward and Bellas courtship relies on smouldering looks and a heavy soundtrack but perhaps not quite enough characterisation, and his explanations that her blood is a temptation get a little repetitive.
Despite its legion of teen fans Twilight is definitely not your everyday chick-flick. And with filming for the sequel, New Moon, beginning in March theyll be plenty more for those fans to enjoy. If you let this sink its teeth into you, itll be one set of vampires youll be hoping Buffy doesnt get her hands on.