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Vol. LXII, No. 49
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

HOLD ON TIGHT, I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE: The vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, right), finds himself in a dilemma. He has fallen in love with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), but also thirsts for the taste of her blood. See the movie to find out how it all turns out.

Twilight: Girl Meets Vampire in Adaptation of Romantic Fantasy

Kam Williams

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has decided to live with her father (Billy Burke) to make it easier for her recently remarried mother (Sarah Clarke) to accompany her husband, a minor league baseball player (Matt Bushell), on his frequent road trips. So, Bella must move from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to overcast Forks, Washington, a dreary town that is located in the rainiest spot in the nation.

At her new high school, the socially awkward 17-year-old proves to be pretty popular, and finds herself being courted by several of her classmates. But the shy loner keeps to herself until she spots Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) across the crowded cafeteria.

Bella is warned by her girlfriend, Jessica (Anna Kendrick), that Ed and his four pale foster siblings are strange and keep to themselves. In fact, there’s a nasty rumor that they might date each other, and that their father, Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli), behaves more like a matchmaker than a legal guardian.

Nonetheless, from that moment on, Bella finds Edward irresistible. Edward is attracted to her too, though not exactly for the same reason. What Bella doesn’t know is that he’s a vampire, albeit one trying to go vegetarian. However, her alluring scent draws him to her, and he is torn because he is falling in love with her on the one hand, but wants to feast on her blood, on the other. When the two start flirting in biology class, Bella doesn’t realize that Edward is struggling to resist sinking his fangs into her neck.

The first hint Bella gets that something is strange occurs when Edward saves her life by stopping a careening car with his bare hands. When she subsequently guesses that he has supernatural powers, he instead honestly warns her that he’s bad news. However, she’s already too smitten to keep her distance. “I trust you,” is the best response she can muster, after he eerily admits, “I’ve never wanted a human’s blood so much.”

Does their romance stand a chance? Will Bella’s father, the local sheriff, identify the mysterious serial killer who’s been haunting his town? Can the Cullen clan convince Edward that he’d be better off dating his own species?

These are the questions at the heart of Twilight, an inspired overhaul of the vampire genre. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen), the film is based on the popular series of young adult novels written by Stephenie Meyer.

This visually enchanting screen version is full of surprising twists, humorous asides, and novel special effects, all of which combine to make the movie quite compelling. Another plus is the convincing chemistry generated by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, a must when you’re asking your leads to execute such an improbable premise. After all, what woman in her right mind would stay in a relationship with a boyfriend who says scary things like, “I’m a killer” and “I’m the world’s most dangerous predator.”

Twilight provides two hours of nonstop, edge-of-your-seat tension, because you never know what to expect next from this inventive film.

Excellent (four stars). Rated PG-13 for violence and sensuality. Running time: 121 minutes. Studio: Summit Entertainment

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

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