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Laramie Movie Scope: Twilight

Teen soap opera suffocates in suds

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 11, 2009 -- Twilight, appropriately enough, is aimed at 13-year-old girls, and for them, at least, it seems adequate. For me, it fell well short of an effective love story. The main problem here is the lack of any kind of romantic chemistry between the two lead actors in the film, Kristen Stewart of “Jumper” and Robert Pattison of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Intense gazing is no substitute for real romance, sorry. As lovers, these two are not convincing. They don't produce enough of a spark to set off gasoline vapor.

The high school scenes are somewhat interesting, and a bit creepy, when you think about a hundred year-old male vampire cruising for chicks. It is every dirty old man's dream. Vampirism in this movie doesn't seem to have a downside. You don't burn up in the sun, crosses and stakes don't do anything, and apparently, with some effort, you can make out with chicks. When you become a vampire, you get to live forever and stay young, you become super fast, super strong and nearly indestructible. What's not to like? When Bella Swan (Stewart) says she wants to become a vampire like her ancient boyfriend, Edward Cullen (Pattison) he says the price she would pay would be too high. What price? The downside is insignificant compared to the upside. Bite her and get it over with.

In most vampire movies, there is a high price to pay when you become a vampire. You lose your soul. You can never watch another sunrise. You can't cross water. You cast no reflection in a mirror. You can't enter a church or withstand the touch of a cross. You can't enter a house unless you are invited inside. Garlic can kill you. You can't eat normal food. You cannot have sex with anyone. You can't drink wine or beer, etc. In this film, there is virtually no downside to being a vampire, except you can't eat food, and that's no great loss considering the quality of school cafeteria food. Why is this important? The romantic tension in a vampire story is caused by the fact that true love between a human and a vampire can never be expressed because of the aforementioned barriers.

Remove those barriers and you remove the romantic tension. The great romantic stories, like Romeo and Juliette, are powered by social barriers to love. I don't see the barriers here. This is more like a made-for-TV teen soap opera where there is so little at stake (pardon the pun) that the big romance amounts to puppy love. If you want to see a film about young vampire and human love done right, check out the little-known film Let the Right One In. That film shows the true difficulties of a boy and a girl vampire falling in love, and it is those difficulties that give power to the story. This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2009 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)