What do you do when you have a book series that has become a runaway bestseller with teenage girls and (surprisingly) their mothers? Why of course you make a movie. If it’s as big a success as it’s supposed to be (based on the book sales) then you have the option of making the whole series into movies, and you have you very own mini-Harry Potter franchise.
Of course Twilight has already been a success in the States, guaranteeing that future movies will be made, but as of yet, Twilight (the movie) hasn’t been released to the New Zealand public.
Vampires are one of those things, you either love them or you hate them, or occasionally, like me, it varies from movie to movie. Underworld and Blade were terrible movies, but 30 Days of Night was spectacular. Sadly however, Twilight isn’t that kind of vampire movie.
You see Twilight features vegetarian vampires, a group of vampires who have decided to live amongst us and train themselves to live off animal blood, not human. Of course, as with a reformed alcoholic working in a liquor store, the temptation to fall off the wagon is a daily experience for these friendly vamps and as such, they try and keep their distance from the mortals they live amongst.
The younger vampires of course have to go to high school, and it’s here that new girl Bella sees and falls for vampire land all round weird-but-cute guy Edward. Forbidden romance blossoms, the kind where the teenage girl alienates herself from society just to be with her every so slightly predatory boy friend. For a father of three girls I found myself slightly disturbed at Bella’s all encompassing acceptance of Edward, and extremely weary of some of Edward’s behaviours and the liberties he takes.
But of course, Twilight is teenage pulp-romance; the vampires are only there to make the whole thing even more (bizarrely) romantic. Even when a rogue group of vampires turn up and start killing locals, we don’t get to see and blood and guts – this one is strictly for the girls.
So, is Twilight actually any good? Yes and no. It’s not something most guys are going to want to go and see – there is absolutely nothing in it that screams vampire movie in the traditional horror/splatter genre. On the other hand, teenage girls and 30-something mothers (especially those who’ve read the books) are going to love this movie. It is (according to my wife) everything she wanted in a movie based on the book. It would probably land quite high in her top ten movies for the year.
From an acting/production point of view, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a modest teen romance. It’s a little cheesy in places – especially when trying to show off some of the vampire’s physical abilities – but when it comes time to rumble (in pretty much the only fight scene in the movie) things do get pretty tense. It’s surprisingly not tedious like some teen movies, so if your girlfriend (or wife) drags you along you might actually find yourself enjoying it.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Supernatural themes and violence.
Duration: 121 mins.
Genre: Action, Horror, Romance.
Director: Catherine Hardwicke.
Actors: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser.
Release Date: 26 December 2008.