Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Written by:Melissa Rosenberg
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Cam Gigandet
Released: December 11, 2008
Grade: B+

Twilight will fulfil the dreams of all teenage girls who have wanted to be swept off their feet by a stalking, blood-thirsty vampire.  I didn’t realise anyone had such a desire until I saw the box-office numbers.  It will be one of the most profitable movies of 2008.

That said, the high demand for tickets hasn’t been driven by a whizz-bang marketing campaign or through positive word of mouth.  The cult-like following for the story started several years ago when author Stephenie Meyer wrote the novel on which the film is based.  I’ve never read Twilight (or the three follow-up books) but it seems that many young people have.  It’s the new Harry Potter.

I have to admit that like the concept.  Bella Swan (Stewart) is a teenage girl who has moved to a small town in Washington to live with her father.  Her appearance creates quite a buzz at her school and she quickly makes new friends.  There is one person though that she wants to know more about.  He has good looks, pale skin and a mysterious aura.  His name is Edward Cullen (Pattinson).

It’s obvious to everyone that there’s an immediately attraction between the pair.  They can’t keep their eyes off each other.  Edward is standoffish however.  He shows an interest in Bella but then warns her to keep away.  What’s his deal?

Bella soon realises the answer.  Edward and his family are closeted vampires.  They don’t kill people though – they have learned to restrain their strong thirst and live off the blood of animals instead.  It’s not as fulfilling as human blood but it’s a sacrifice they have made so as to fit in with society.  The worrying thing for Edward is that he has incredibly strong feelings for Bella.  There’s a chance he could lose control and his true vampire instincts would take over…

We’ve seen so many different vampire movies over the years but this story does have a freshness to it.  There are many who believe that there’s an underlying religious subtext revolving around abstinence and self-control.  I can see where their coming from but I’m not going to delve too deeply on this issue in this review.  You can debate that one with your friends.

What I will comment on is the great “look” of the film.  The credit must go to director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) and cinematographer Elliot Davis (Out Of Sight).  They have created a cool fantasy world which is both gloomy and unsettling.  I also liked the many facial close-ups.  You can tell a lot about what each character is thinking simply from the look in their eyes.

There are some limitations to the story.  I thought the rushed ending was the weakest part of the movie.  I expected a little more drama.  Perhaps we’ll see more action in the sequel, New Moon, which is already in pre-production.  Like many others, I’m looking forward to it.