Not much bite

ENDLESS LOVE?<br>America’s teen eyes are all on Kristen Stewart and her vampire boyfriend Robert Pattinson in this year’s teen sensation, <i>Twilight</i>.

America’s teen eyes are all on Kristen Stewart and her vampire boyfriend Robert Pattinson in this year’s teen sensation, Twilight.

Starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG-13.
Rated 3.0

I first heard of Twilight on an airplane. A loud teenager in front of me was mouthing off about how enraptured she was in the book, by Stephanie Meyer. That should have been my first clue. Then I saw the TV news showing teen girls lining up a day in advance to see the movie. Oh, to be young again.

Twilight is, without a doubt, made for the “young adult” crowd. The slo-mo shots of Tiger Beat‘s new dreamboat Robert Pattinson, the drama of high school, the PG-13 language and relationships. Not that that’s a bad thing.

The movie takes place in a sleepy little town in rainy, dark and dismal Washington. Bella (Kristen Stewart) is its newest arrival, taking up residence with her dad. At school, she notices something different about the Cullen family, taking immediate interest in the brooding but sexy Edward (Pattinson).

Despite her apparent ability to make him want to puke, the two have a connection. And while Bella works to figure out what makes Edward different (he’s a vampire, duh!), the Romeo and Juliet love story begins, as do the complications with Edward’s family and other vampires.

And then there’s the rest of the town. Bella’s dad, the chief of police, is being called out on bizarre calls involving humans being attacked by animals. And a friend of his, who lives on the Native American reservation nearby, is oddly suspicious of Edward. His son’s pronounced canines suggest a beyond-human rivalry, but as with many other side plots, this one is left unresolved.

While none of the actors are particularly well-known, they all play along convincingly. Stewart, who played a similarly ogling teen girl in Into the Wild, is cute and subtle, but at times her character seems downright nutty (one scene, in which she’s talking to Edward about them being together, was so over-the-top it got laughs from the audience).

Pattinson, for his part, plays a perfect vampire. He’s mysterious looking, and at times it’s hard to tell if he’s just plain weird or actually attractive. His character, though, goes through some major mood swings (which Bella mentions), that are hard to predict and get frustrating at times.

The film is narrated by Bella, and it is a sweet story of forbidden romance. But like most movies tailored to teenage girls, Twilight pays more attention to the growing interest between the two main characters—and making sure Edward looks sexy—than the whole vampire thing.

Unfortunately, abandoning the underlying story leaves many questions unanswered. For the target audience, however, this may not be a big deal (I probably wouldn’t have minded). For those going for more substance, a cliffhanger of an ending—and more books in the series—promise a sequel. So, there’s always next time.