Somewhere between light and dark: Twilight

You’ve heard the hype, seen the novels stacking up in bookstores across the country, and even cringed at the antics of fans. But, the inevitable question has yet to be addressed: is Twilight really a movie worth going to?

The answer isn’t all that clear, even if you’ve got the foresight of Alice Cullen.

The film starts off on a somewhat low-key note, with Bella Swan replete with Arizona cactus, narrating her way through her series of high school mishaps, meeting her friends, and not quite fitting in no matter how hard she tries. From there, the film tries to strike a delicate balance between a lingering romance and a heart-pounding suspense, but does neither one truly well and seems to vacillate between the two for the bulk of the film’s 122 minutes.

On the upside, viewers will be treated to some pretty cool special effects. Visually, it’s intriguing. However, if you come to the movies for some semblance of a story, you might find this flick wanting.

The plot is fast-forwarded at best, which can be partly attributed to its short length. Edward and Bella work their way through scenes that the book emphasizes pretty rapidly, and it seems like they’ve gone from awkward biology class moments to full-blown I-love-yous in a matter of minutes.

Robert Pattinson’s Edward is delightfully unstable, graceful and graceless, in full possession of that elegance that all vampires seem to acquire after a century or so, but still coming to terms with his guilt-ridden past. A wonderfully angst-packed, Byronic hero? Definitely. Something worth shedding blood over in malls? Perhaps not. Kristen Stewart, on the other hand, seems bored for most of the movie, as though all the running through forests, climbing lofty redwoods, and encountering potential doom in the guise of her boyfriend isn’t enough to faze her. This is probably good, though, because she has to go through a lot of action in Twilight.

The movie shifts toward more of an action film in the second half, despite valiant efforts by Stewart and Pattinson to prolong the romance. After five meaningful glances and not-so-subtle delicate pauses in conversation, viewers are advised to stop trying to treat the film as a serious romance and just take it for what it is. Even Charlie Swan and Billy Black deliver their corny dialogues with wry smiles.

Canon-lovers, despair not. Well, not completely. A few scenes that might warm the hearts of distressed Twilight purists remain in this strange mish-mash of fast-paced thrills and misplaced romance. The Port Angeles (that fateful eighth chapter) and biology class scenes are mostly intact, and some of the quotes, including Bella’s famous sequence, are lifted straight from the text. What might deter fans of the novel from going to see Twilight is the speed at which everything takes place. Even scenes that are meant to be calming and get viewers ready for the next big conflict have pop songs playing in the background. Nothing ever seems to slow down.

Curiously enough, the film somehow found the time to make everyone a vegetarian. The Cullens, Bella, even the waitress at the diner that Bella and her father frequent agrees with Bella when she suggests that Charlie needs to lay off the steak. When did this happen in the books? Oh, sorry. That’s taking this film too seriously again.

The ending, though, is done quite well. Mirrors crash, vampires clash, and viewers are finally treated to some actual acting from Stewart. Everyone goes off to the prom, albeit in a cast for Bella, and the film ends with the flickering lights of a gazebo glowing lightly as dusk sets in. Or does it? Twilight fans certainly have something awaiting them in a sequel.

The overall verdict? If you’re a fan of the series, you might as well fork over the matinee fee and evade the mobs to see if it’s to your liking. If you’re a fan of beating out hordes of teenage girls and emerging victorious, then this is the film for you. Again, try not to take it too seriously. Chances are, you’ll it enjoy more that way.