'Twilight': For Teens, A Swooningly Risky Romance Morning Edition's movie critic is not, and never has been, a 13-year-old girl. But Catherine Hardwicke's dead-on screen take on Stephenie Meyer's vampire books makes him wish he could be — if only to get the full effect.
NPR logo

'Twilight': For Teens, A Swooningly Risky Romance

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/97210195/97296009" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'Twilight': For Teens, A Swooningly Risky Romance

Review

Movies

'Twilight': For Teens, A Swooningly Risky Romance

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/97210195/97296009" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

If there are teenage girls in your life, you probably do not need to be told that there's a new movie coming to the big screen, "Twilight," this weekend. You may know that it's about vampires. It's based on a blockbuster book series, and film critic Kenneth Turan says teenagers will totally love this movie.

KENNETH TURAN: I am not now nor have I ever been a 13-year-old girl, but "Twilight" made me wish I could be, at least for a couple of hours. It would help me appreciate a movie that has been targeted to that demographic with the specificity of a laser weapon. When "Twilight" opens, 17-year-old Bella is moving to the tiny Forks, Washington, to live with her dad. "Twilight's" notion is that Edward is a sexy vampire and Bella is very much alive. Placing this conflict in high school, where emotions are extreme and every moment is a crisis, was the masterstroke that created a phenomenon.

(Soundbite of movie "Twilight")

Ms. KRISTEN STEWART: (As Bella Swan) You know, your mood swings are kind of giving me whiplash.

Mr. ROBERT PATTINSON: (As Edward Cullen) I always said that it would be better if we weren't friends, not that I didn't want to be.

Ms. STEWART: (As Bella Swan) What does that mean?

Mr. PATTINSON: (As Edward Cullen) It means if you were smart, you'd stay away from me.

Ms. STEWART: (As Bella Swan) OK, well, let's say for argument's sake that I'm not smart.

Mr. PATTINSON: (As Edward Cullen) I'd rather hear your theories.

Ms. STEWART: (As Bella Swan) I have considered radioactive spiders and kryptonite.

Mr. PATTINSON: (As Edward Cullen) Huh. It's all superhero stuff, right? What if I'm not the hero? What if I'm the bad guy?

Ms. STEWART: (As Bella Swan) You're not.

TURAN: "Twilight" treats high-school emotions with unwavering, uncompromising seriousness; Laurence Olivier attempting Shakespeare didn't approach his material with more reverence. Even before the plot kicks in, Bella demonstrates the film's key attitude. As a teenager she is, by definition, a deeply superior being, elevated far above the dross of everyday life. Forks High School holds no charms for this lofty creature - until she spies drop-dead handsome Edward. Aside from being a vampire, Edward is pretty much the ideal boyfriend. Though the story's action quotient has been increased to appeal to the random males who might show, "Twilight" is unabashedly a romance. All the story's inherent silliness aside, it is intent on conveying the magic of meeting that one special person you've been waiting for. Maybe it is possible to be 13 and female for a few hours, after all.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for Morning Edition in the Los Angeles Times. And there is more on "Twilight" including our interview with book author Stephanie Myer at NPR.org.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.