Sunday, November 30, 2008

Into the Twilight (Zone)

Think teen romance with an Anne Rice twist. That’s Twilight, the latest book-turned movie sensation to hit the world. Or so they say.

Amazingly, the juvenile flavor of Twilight doesn’t work against it. If it were not for the story’s high school back drop, one can fairly say that the teenybopper mist is barely there. We are, therefore, spared from the typical cheesy love story and the usual youth angst we are tired of seeing on the big screen, not to mention on the boob tube.

In its subtle way, Twilight is refreshing. It presents stereotypical characters who find themselves in situations outside what is normally expected for them.

The main character, Bella, who was used to not fitting in the “in” crowd suddenly becomes the community and school darling when she moves back with her dad in the small town where she grew up. It has been quite a while since Bella and her dad had spent time together after her parents’ divorce. But Bella and her dad are far from being estranged. They know that they have lost precious time together but they don’t hate each other for it. There really is no you-weren’t-around-so-don’t-stick-your-nose-in-my-life moment between the two.

In school, Bella, becomes the latest sparkling new toy everyone wants to a get hold of. But it is Edward, a member of the gorgeous freak clique, who catches Bella’s attention. And it is not exactly love at first sight.

During her first day in biology class, Bella was assigned to sit beside Edward who didn’t display the most welcoming decorum in the world. Aside from appearing like he was about to throw up at the sight (or scent) of Bella, Edward goes out of his way to demand that the school administrator transfer him to a different class—a request denied by the school. Bella isn’t about to take Edward’s blatant gestures of avoiding her passively. She was ready to confront him but then, Edward skips school for days.

Finally Edward shows up in biology class, now more friendly to Bella. They chat but they don’t get to know more about each other until the parking lot incident.

Bella was standing beside her pick-up truck, absorbed in listening to her i-pod while taking an occasional glimpse at Edward and his fellow pale adoptive siblings. A car goes out of control and heads toward her. In a blink of an eye, Edward is next to her, shielding her from the car with his with super speed and mighty strength. Bella is unscathed unlike the car driver.

On the other hand, Edward and his special charms get exposed, at least to Bella. He saves Bella some more yet advises her to stay away.

Bella does her homework. The girl knows that cluelessness is outdated. She figures out that Edward and his family are vampires. She’s not afraid and she promises to keep mum about it. Edward clarifies the type of vampire they were. Like vegetarians, he says simply because they choose not to eat humans. Despite their obvious differences and after pointing out that Bella’s scent specially stimulates Edward’s appetite for human blood, the two grow fond of each other. And just like that, Bella and Edward were an item. None of that will-they, won’t-they drama, thank God!

I especially like the meet-the-vampire-family scene. Edward’s cold-blooded family, the Cullens, were nice and warm to Bella. I have to say it was cute!

The conflict enters when tracker James, a variety of the more vicious vampire-kind, thinks of Bella as his next hunt. Protective Edward and his supportive family work together to save Bella and to slay James for good.

I shall leave what happens next up to you to find out. After all, I recommend this movie.

Twilight is light, in that one does not have to sit and watch characters spend too much time attending to their inner struggles which is always painful to do. For a change, we witness individuals who have managed to accept themselves despite their imperfections.

The story could have easily indulged in good old sickening drama given that the main character is a 17-year-old girl with divorced parents; who moves back in the small town she left when she was a kid; who falls for a guy who, other than being a vampire, is pretty much OK; and who’s on the verge of being a fanged hunter’s next meal. Of course, the other characters have very convenient issues with themselves, too. But we are spared from those. Instead we are given the luxury of a plot that is not very much character-based, but rather rests more on circumstances.

The actions in the story just happen and the characters know how to react. If the plot were a beat, it will go bam-bam-bam.

Suffice it to say, nothing about this movie is dragging. The white foundation on the vampires’ faces was a bit distracting but other than that, I find nothing more to contest.

Needless to say, I am in the Twilight zone.


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Check out the trailer:

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