Starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Rated PG.
Stephenie Meyer’s series of four romantic vampire novels—of which 2005’s Twilight was the first—have proven incredibly popular among teens. But unless you’re a 14-year-old girl who gets all giddy at the thought of cute boys and first love, steer clear of Thirteen director Catherine Hardwicke’s anemic adaptation.
Kristen Stewart stars as Bella, a moody teen who moves from Phoenix to the tiny town of Forks, Washington, to live with her dad (Billy Burke), a police chief who likes Rainier tall boys, Mariners baseball, and cleaning his shotgun at the dinner table. At school, Bella becomes immediately infatuated with Edward (British heartthrob Robert Pattinson), a brooding Luke Perry type with high cheekbones and even higher hair. At first, the pale-skinned pretty boy seems to detest Bella, but after he uses super powers to save her life we see that he’s about as charming and sensitive as a vampire boy could be. Before long, he’s clambering full speed up huge evergreens with Bella on his back and lying with her in the sun, which causes his skin to sparkle like diamonds. Cue the sound of 14-year-olds swooning.
Cullen and his amber-eyed family eschew dingy coffins for an airy, open-plan executive home; they’re benign vampires who survive on the blood of forest creatures. But Edward clearly yearns to sink his ancient fangs (and something else) into the tender flesh of his new paramour. Bella is anxious to consummate their forbidden love as well. Sexual tension ensues.
Lords of Dogtown cinematographer Elliot Davis vividly captures the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest, but the scenes of the smitten teens exchanging sweet nothings in the misty woods grow weary after a while. Things take a turn into predictable action-thriller territory when a trio of old-school bloodsuckers crashes the Cullen clan’s bizarre baseball game and the most sinister among them starts stalking Bella. The climactic showdown at her old ballet school back in Phoenix suffers from some mighty cheesy visual effects, though none that rival Cullen’s indestructible pompadour.