Photobucket“Twilight drives a stake into the heart of film making.”

Listen very closely. Twilight. Did you hear it? When I typed the word Twilight, thousands of teenaged girls screamed simultaneously. It is a natural phenomenon. The new film Twilight, based on the best selling book series by Stephenie Meyer, is the most anticipated film this fall. For some. For others it is a complete mystery. Not having read the books I went into the movie with a totally open mind and no preconceived ideas. I could believe all the hype from my friends who read the books, telling me that this was going to be an amazing film. But, I simply waited, let the film speak for itself. And I am still waiting.

It is hard to summarize the plot without it sounding comical or plain idiotic. Basically 17 year old Bella (Kristen Stewart) moves to a small town in Washington state where she meets and falls for the local high school hottie, Edward (Robert Pattinson). Edward is not like the other guys. It isn’t so much that he has a face as white as Casper the ghost or that he stares off into space like Edward scissorhands on Quaaludes. There is something else. Oh, yeah, he is a vampire. But no one knows. These aren’t the living dead who sleep in coffins or can’t see themselves in a mirror. In fact they do not sleep at all and are far too pretty not to have a few mirrors around. When Edward’s love for Bella puts her in mortal danger decisions have to be made. And love drives it all.

The bottom line is this. This film, like the books, was not made for me. So to set here and tear it apart would not be totally fair. I wasn’t expected to like it. In fact it might be a little strange if I did. Like collecting American Girl Dolls. It was obvious at the screening who the film was created for and even more obvious how it was received by that select group. They loved every minute of it, apparent by screams, giggles and cooing noises. An easy way to figure out if you will be in that select group is this. If you are old enough to actually drive yourself to the theater, you might be a little too old to fully get it and appreciate it. Though the film is based on high school characters I see this being huge for the 13-15 female set. And glad of it. They need a film to rally around. Young boys are always getting films like Iron Man and The Dark Knight.

As a film it falls short in a few areas. One, it feels, moves, sounds, acts and breathes like a Tuesday night prime time TV series. Not once does it simulate a big screen production. I like the characters. And the humor of a human mingling with a family of vampires had modern day Adams Family moments. The ensemble cast worked well with the story and script. But again, like they were doing Television. And there is a big difference. This movie gives you a glimpse into the characters, makes you like them, but doesn’t allow them to evolve. If I could watch them on TV each week, get to really know them, I might like it more. The love story is cute. Though at times I felt like I was watching Anakin Skywalker and Padme all over again. Edward being whiney and pouty and Bella constantly telling him to suck it up.

Twilight is Rated PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sensuality. It is totally safe for those 10 and up even though the mushy love scenes might drive some late bloomers to roll their eyes. Edward is dreamy, even with his Christopher Walken hair, and that will be a draw for most females. You know your kid better than anyone and if they are into the books at all then just try and keep them from seeing this. You will lose that battle for sure, but it isn’t a battle you should try and win. Those who have no connection with the books and just want a decent love story in a well made film need not bother. This is not the one for you. I could go ahead and give it 2.5 out of 5 blank stares but what would be the use. Again, I’m not expected to like it. And as a film to spend hard earned, sweaty, wads of movie cash on, didn’t.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com) (11/19/08)

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Review copyright 2008 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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