Movie News & Reviews

'Twilight' drains fun out of vampires

What do women want in a man?

It seems he should be protective, devilishly handsome and interested in a deep and meaningful relationship. And maybe a vampire.

The once sexually deviant creature of the night has become a polite, gentle Casanova of women's hearts. No longer does he use pure sexual magnetism to lure women; instead he opts for the nice-guy route of meeting the parents and romantic dinners.

At least that's what "Twilight" would have you believe. The latest in vampire mania, "Twilight" comes from the best-selling teen series by Stephenie Meyer.

"Twilight" tells the story of Bella (Kristen Stewart), a young, awkward teenager who, after moving to a new town, becomes fascinated with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a handsome school outsider. Just like any other romance, theirs has obstacles to overcome before they can get together.

In their case, the problem is Edward's desire to devour Bella, despite his vow to be a vegetarian vampire who does not feast on humans. They figure out how to have a relationship without intimate physical contact, which seems highly improbable for any teenagers, human or not. It is then quickly discovered that the Cullens are not the only vamps in town and the others are human-eating.

Like a lot of books that cross over to the big screen, "Twilight" has its share of clumsy moments that leave the audience feeling as if the screenwriters skipped some pages. Still, fans of the novel will see that the movie sticks pretty close to home, quoting directly from the book frequently. There are a few moments when the skills of screenwriter and former "O.C." writer Melissa Rosenberg show through in verbose dialogue that would never actually have been said in a high school locker room.

The artificiality of the dialogue is further highlighted by the novice actors. Stewart, whose previous works include other teen angst roles in films such as "In the Land of Women," is still getting her feet wet. For the most part, Bella comes off as bland and entirely defined by her "extreme" clumsiness. In contrast, Pattinson manages an impressive feat, with an energetic performance that spices up a straight-laced vampire.

Yet in its attempt to stay safe and clean, "Twilight" misses out on compelling drama. Moments that are meant to be scary come off as farcical, and the love scenes are too corny for even the most hopeless romantic. When physical contact between the characters and the bloodsucking was thrown out, the spark went with it, leaving audiences with a watered-down Disney version of HBO's "True Blood."

Isn't the point of being a vampire that you get to be a little bad?