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Simple blood

Twilight puts the life back into the undead
By PETER KEOUGH  |  November 24, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

VIDEO: The trailer for Twilight

Twilight | Directed by Catherine Hardwicke | Written by Melissa Rosenberg based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer | with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, and Cam Gigandet | Summit Entertainment | 122 minutes
As far as the undead are concerned, zombies are out and vampires are back in. The animated carcasses of the lumpen proletariat rising up to devour their oppressors have given way to the gorgeous, invincible revenants who live on the blood of the masses. As in the last election, Joe the Plumber loses out to the elitists.

You could also say that Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke's adaptation of the first of Stephenie Meyer's series of four YA bestsellers, triumphs because girls are turned on by boys who are bad for them. Or because all outsider adolescents want to believe they're not really losers, they're of superior breed. Mainly, though, the movie works because Hardwicke and her soon-to-be-iconic leads take the sex and death and immortality hokum that's as old as Bram Stoker and make the undead live again.

The ultraviolet-like lighting, so eerie with pale faces, does help. It flatters Bella (Kristen Stewart, like a younger, sadder Winona Ryder), a smart and lonely 17-year-old depressed about moving from Phoenix to live with her divorced dad (Billy Burke), the sheriff of tiny Forks, Washington — which is probably just down the highway from Twin Peaks. It's clear she doesn't get outdoors much, and her deadly-nightshade appearance might be what attracts the unwanted attention of the goofball cliques at her new school. Outdoing her in pallor, though, if not in their arrogant good looks, are the Cullen clan: superjock Emmet (Kellan Lutz), haughty blonde Amazon Rosalie (Nikki Reed), Cesare the Somnabulist look-alike Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), goth pixie Alice (Ashley Greene), and haunted demigod Edward (Robert Pattinson), five model-perfect stunners whose heads lift from their table like those of a pride of killer cats as she enters the cafeteria.

Her eyes lock only with Edward's, however, and well they might. His are ink-black and thirsty, fringed by semaphore eyebrows. Pattinson is as close as we'll ever come to a bloodless reincarnation of James Dean. Edward plays hard to get, and he finds Bella hard to get, but after a rocky start, they realize they can't stay away from each other. For Edward is indeed a catch. In addition to his beauty, grace, and intelligence, he and his siblings are scions of Dr. Carlisle (Data look-alike Peter Facinelli), their "dad," who is saintly and appears to be rich as Croesus. And what does this beast see in Bella? He finds her . . . delicious.

That's part of the problem. In addition, they're from two different worlds, and not just in terms of class. As for sex — Edward must exercise inhuman self-control, because if he doesn't . . . Just say no indeed. That first tentative kiss, his cold lips inching toward hers, might be the most erotic moment of the year on screen. Unfortunately, not all of Edward's kind have such elegant manners.

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Related: Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Review: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Review: Suck, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , David Lynch, Jackson Rathbone, Jackson Rathbone,  More more >
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