Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Opens November 21
Stephenie Meyers wildly popular novel, Twilightthe first in a four-book series about a 17-year-old girl who falls in love with the hunky vampire who sits next to her in biology classbored me silly, but thats clearly a minority opinion. In the novel, Bella and her cold-to-the-touch lothario, Edward, talk and talk and talk. For the beautifully photographed (by cinematographer Elliot Davis) film version, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg (bless her) has pared the couples blather down to the essentials, as when Edward (Robert Pattinson) says to Bella (Kristen Stewart), Youre my own personal brand of heroin. Poor girl. How could she not succumb? Actually, Bellas in love/lust the moment she walks into her new Pacific Northwest high school and sees Edward, who shuns her, and then loves her obsessively. Eventually, he introduces her to his progressive vampire familythey eat wild animals, not peopleand invites her for a game of bloodsucker baseball, where they encounter a vampire thug (Cam Gigandet) who begins stalking Bella. Director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown) has drawn strong, star-making performances from her two leads, but in the end, shes clearly no more interested in vampires than Meyer herself. In the 17-million-copy land of Twilight, the calling card isnt blood and fangs, but the exquisite, shimmering quiver of unconsummated first love. By that measure, the movie version gives really good swoon.