Twilight -- the most amazing book EVER -- comes to life on the big screen starting today. And if you're like me, a crazy-obsessed fan who's read all four installments of Stephenie Meyer's vampire saga, then you've been waiting seven long months for Edward and Bella to fire up their romance before our very eyes.
Now that I've seen the movie, though, I gotta say, the book trumps the film, which lacked the suspense and intensity of the page turner. That said, I'd recommend it to my friends and family. Allow me to explain. . . .
If you are one of the few people on the planet who have yet to read Twilight, here's the deal: Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart of Into the Wild) is a teen who moves from sunny Phoenix to gloomy, small-town Forks in Washington state -- a place that's said to receive more rainfall than anywhere else in the country. On the first day at her new school, Bella finds herself strangely attracted to the school's hot, brooding outsider Edward Cullen (Rob Pattinson, who had a small part in Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire). So begins their dangerous love story, which only intensifies when Bella finds out Edward is actually pale (with redder-then-usual lips) for a reason: He's a blood-sucking vampire!
But Bella's 100 year-old, insomniac new boyfriend is different from others of his kind: He doesn't want to be a monster. He's from a family of vampires who live off of the blood of animals, not humans ("We're like vegetarians," Edward tells her). Plus, he's into Bella like he's never been into any girl before. As Edward famously puts it in the book and in the film: "The lion has fallen in love with the lamb." The main complication? The lion finds the lamb's blood to be "super sweet," and so he must fight a constant temptation to devour her -- while, at the same time, protect her from a gang of rival undead types for whom humans are still very much on the menu.
Any girl who's read the book knows that Edward is irresistible; the kind of guy every girl dreams of having as her BF. He's super cute, mysterious, has awesome powers, and is always up for an adventure. So the casting of Edward was key. At first, I thought Rob was an odd choice. For starters, he's British. But after seeing the movie, I think his Edward rocks; Robert is a super hottie (watch out, Zac Efron!). When we see Robert look at Bella, he seems so tortured by what he can't have -- which is a major kiss -- because he's in love but also, at the same time, feels a natural desire to sink his teeth into her neck.
Meanwhile, I've known that Kristen Stewart -- who was also the little girl in Panic Room with Jodie Foster -- was going to be the perfect Bella ever since I saw the trailer. Long, brown hair and brown eyes; shy but super alluring.
The report on their onscreen chemistry? While it wasn't as intense as it was in the book (which I couldn't get enough of), it was plenty intense. During their first kiss, I could feel the heat -- it was as if Bella and Edward had really come to life and that Kristen and Robert were not just acting. (Could it be because rumor has it they are dating? Were they then? Hmmm. . . .)
So what if you're a Twilight newbie who's coming to the film with no idea who these characters are -- you just know there are vampires involved. Don't expect a horror film or lots of blood. There is some, an d a few nail-biting moments. Guys will be happy to know there are special effects; the vampires, afterall, have super powers. Girls, though, should NOT expect a Troy-and-Gabriela romance -- and not just because there aren't any graduation day sing-alongs. Twilight's teens are much more down-to-earth who deal with everyday drama . . . only they have undead dudes and girls at their school.
As a Twilight diehard, I was disappointed that the movie didn't follow the book exactly, but I would say fans and newcomers alike will enjoy the ride -- and it's worth taking, even more than once. As a matter of fact, I'll be hitting the theater again today to watch Bella and Edward's first meeting, and I'll probably see it a few more times after that!
By CGG Contributing Reporter Brittany MacLeod