Sometimes you just know you’re going to hate a movie. Take Twlight, for example. It might have been the media hype, or the fact that the marketing gun was pointed directly at the worldwide legions of emo kids. It might even have been that fact that every pretty young girl wants to deflower a vampire – there’s a litany of cross-species literature from Bram Stoker to Anne Rice, not forgetting Buffy and Angel’s high-school love affair and randy undead private dick, Mick St John in the sorely lamented Moonlight.
You get the point – vampire/human romances have been done to death…
On with the review. And yes, there will be spoilers. But if you haven’t seen Twilight by now, then you’re sadder than me.
And so we play the Twilight DVD as I release a cynical yawn and break out the tried and tested Transylvanian accent – “I vant to suck your blood…” There’s Bella, the love interest who’s moved in with her personality-vacuum father to allow her newly-married mother to go on tour with step-dad. Christ, she’s pale. How do we know she’s not a vampire already?
Enter Edward Cullen, a veritable mish-mash of American legends – the James Dean brood, Elvis Presley’s quiffed hairdo, you get the drift. There’s something time-honoured and classic about this vamp’s appearance. And what Robert Pattinson adds to this is a soul-sucking darkness. So we have this mysterious brooding bad boy who likes to stare at pale girls. So far, so dull.
And it’s right about this point that everything changes: for a start, he saves our heroine from getting her head sandwiched between two cars, exposing the fact that he’s abnormally strong. Later on, he’ll scare off a pack of baying, drunk, would-be teen rapists. But despite this, he advises her to stay away from him, because:
a) he’s dangerous
b) he doesn’t want to hurt her
c) her smell is irresistable to him and he might snack on her if he gets peckish at night
Of course, this works like classic reverse psychology to Miss Bella, who promptly decides she needs an undead boyfriend. So Edward comes right out and admits he’s a vampire, and the two begin a fun-but-unorthodox relationship.
What I liked was the contrast between Bella’s slightly disjointed home life and the close-knit pack of vampires that Edward un-lives with. The Cullen clan are quite a homely bunch, even down to the one slightly resentful ‘sister’ who doesn’t approve of the relationship.
However, when Bella goes out with the clan for a game of baseball in a thunderstorm, they run into a trio of vampires who’ve been attacking humans in the neighbourhood. Naturally, they do a piss-poor job of concealing the fact that Bella is living meat, and an altercation ensues. One of the rivals vampires takes a particular fascination for eating Bella, forcing them to try and hide her. So Ed and the gang make their best efforts to get rid of any scent of her and mislead the other vamp.
Naturally, they get outsmarted pretty quickly and it all ends in a final battle in Bella’s old ballet class. Bella gets broken up pretty badly, and the rogue vampire bites her on the wrist, poisoning her. But brave Edward sucks the venom out, all the while fighting the vampiric urges within him. And as Bella passes out from the pain, she sees the blurry shapes of the bad-guy vampire being pulled apart and burned on a big pyre the Cullens have made.
I have to say, I expected to hate this movie. My one gripe was that the romance seemed to come out of nowhere – Bella met Edward once, he made a sign like she was smelly, then didn’t come to school for a few days. By the time he showed up again, Bella was virtually obsessed with him. Teenage boys take note.
Other than that, I actually enjoyed the characters. There was a running tension throughout the movie, and the climax – occurring just as Bella and Edward were becoming comfortable with each other – was brilliant. You can take it as a metaphor for any mixed race/mixed religion/mixed species love story if you like. While Bella’s family are blissfully unaware that she’s dating a bloodthirsty monster, his are accepting. However, with the threat from the werewolf community and that crazy, evil blonde vampire, this relationship doesn’t look like it’s bound to run smoothly.
- Our dog, who’d slept through the whole movie, woke up during the confrontation between the two groups of vampires and started growling at the television.
- I ran into a local council worker this morning who had an encyclopedic knowledge of vampire literature and who thoroughly approved of the Stephanie Meyer novels. How random was that? I’ve got to go out and buy those books now…