‘I hope you enjoy disappointment,’ murmurs surly vampire-next door Edward (Robert Pattinson) in Catherine Thirteen Hardwicke’s adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s vampire-romance novel, but Twilight is likely to be a matter of extreme satisfaction to its target audience: pre-pubescent girls. Set against the permanently overcast skies of backwater town of Forks, Twilight is the coming of age story of Bella Swan (Kirsten Stewart), unhappily decanted from Phoenix, Arizona with her dad Charlie (Billy Burke). Bella’s humdrum existence is transformed when Edward’s vampire superpowers save her from getting squished by a truck.
To capture the domestic angst of Bella’s situation, Melissa Rosenberg’s screenplay dwells heavily on genre staples such as the loneliness of the immortals and chaste, doom-laden romance to the tune of Debussy’s Clair de Lune. The notion that vampires would choose to spend so much of their time bothering with the ephemera of US high-school life is glibly explored, and apart from a baseball-match rumble, there’s little action outside of moody glances across school car-parks and cafeterias. With Hardwicke’s spinning, circling camera in permanent swooning orbit around Edward’s pallid cranium, Twilight offers a lumpen cocktail of muted effects, po-faced dialogue and gloomy pretentiousness; tween audiences seem so hungry for this kind of wish-fulfilment that it doesn’t matter that Twilight never goes for the jugular.
General release from Fri 19 Dec.