(out of 5)
Teenager Bella (Kristen Stewart) leaves her mom’s home in Phoenix to go live with her dad in the tiny town of Forks, Washington, and really doesn’t mind it one bit. She starts at a new school and gets along with all the kids and seems to be doing quite well in school; why then, does she never comb her hair, and why refuse to smile? Perhaps it’s the weather. Either way, things pick up when brooding, handsome fellow student Edward (Robert Pattinson) takes a liking to her and then announces after a couple of walks and lingering stares that she is the only woman in the world for him. Imagine what a bummer it is when she touches his cold skin and realizes that he’s actually a vampire. Imagine the audience’s surprise when they stop and think about the fact that an immortal being has roamed the earth for centuries and decides to settle on a morose girl in a hoodie. Based on the astoundingly popular series of books by Stephenie Meyer, this teen romance benefits from committed performances by its two leads but has nothing else going on; the romance is about as dull as the constant shades of grey reflecting crispy Washington weather, the plot virtually threadbare and made up mostly of long, dry conversations between Bella and Edward that seem to go on forever. She is far too well-adjusted to her situation and he possesses far too much self-control for a bloodsucker; it’s a movie in complete stasis, with no one experiencing any form of change or development but just acting out a young teenager’s innocent fantasy for two hours. What young lady, as yet inexperienced in the ways of the world, wouldn’t thrill to a completely nonsexual boyfriend? It’s like bringing a declawed cat into a bedroom lined entirely in silk: all the petting without the worry of damage control. An attempt to kick-start some action into the proceedings in the last third, when “bad” vampires come to challenge the territory of our “good” ones, is far too little, way too late.
Music by Carter Burwell
Costume Design by Wendy Chuck
Film Editing by Nancy Richardson