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PCR #452 (Vol. 9, No. 47) This edition is for the week of November 17--23, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

The Tampa Film Review for November  by Nolan Canova and Chris Woods
"Twilight"  by Mike Smith
Show Review: Renninger's Antiques Extravaganza 2008  by ED Tucker
The Uptown Theater  by Chris Woods
Duhnavan Mcnabb .... Oh Where Oh Where Has My Septic Tank Gone.... .... Forry Resurrected ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
Who Was That Guy (or Gal)? .... The Moose .... The Winners Are .... Holiday Movies .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1951 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Summit Entertainment     
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Peter Facinelli
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 2 hours 2 mins

Unless you’ve been on Mars recently you must be aware of the hype surrounding the release of the film “Twilight.” A popular series of novels that young teenagers have eaten up like candy. It’s rare that a film based on a book earns such fanfare. Recently the “Harry Potter” stories or, for the older crowd, Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code,” have generated such excitement. And fans argued among themselves whether they were done successfully. And that argument will continue with “Twilight.”

Bella (Stewart) moves to the small town of Forks, Washington to live with her father (Billy Burke) the town's chief of police. Seems mom has gotten remarried to a baseball player and she’s leaving Phoenix and heading down to spring training with him. With a population of less than 4,000 people, the new girl in town draws the attention of her fellow classmates. But one student catches her eye, the very pale Edward Cullen (Pattinson). Made lab partners in biology, Bella senses that she makes Edward uncomfortable. Just as uncomfortable are the townspeople. Seems a few of them are turning up dead, apparently the victim of animal attacks. Did I mention that Edward was very pale?

I’ll admit here that I haven’t read “Twilight.” I have no idea if the book is just a hodgepodge of vampire tricks inter-spliced into a love story. I do know that the movie is exactly that. And though we as movie-goers have some idea as to how our vampires should act, the ones here bend the rules. Sunlight doesn’t kill them. It only makes them shine like diamonds. Though some vampires drink human blood, the Cullen clan (mom, dad and the “kids”) have learned to adapt with the occasional deer. And, when they have their little get togethers, they like to play baseball, the great American game. There’s a subplot about how the native Americans are descended from wolves and that they help protect others from “the cold ones” but once Bella and Edward meet proper that storyline disappears. When a curious Bella Googles “the cold one” she brings up pages and pages on the legend. Funny, you think when she typed “the cold one” into the search engine she would have gotten pages and pages dedicated to frosty beer. But not here. The worse thing about “Twilight” is that you need to put all common sense aside and take things as they are presented. Remember how I mentioned that Edward is pale? That was an understatement. He and his family are so white they’re almost luminescent. The last time I saw a kid this white on screen some baddie was pouring flour over his head in “Billy Jack.” I’m surprised Mr. Cullen didn’t name his kid Casper.

If there is one saving grace to the film it is the performance of Pattinson. A familiar face to fans of the “Harry Potter” films (he played Cedric Diggory), Pattinson gives Edward a quiet strength that someone in his position needs to possess. He loves Bella but knows that, because of what he is, it will be almost impossible for them to be together. In what could have been a performance full of clichés, Pattinson hits all the right marks. Burke and Facinelli do solid work as well. Stewart, probably best remembered as Jodie Foster’s daughter in “Panic Room,” does the best she can with what she has to work with. Unlike Edward, she is presented as a very one-dimensional character, and that doesn’t help the viewer really care about what happens to her.

As I wrote earlier, I haven’t read the novel. So please don’t send me any hate mail. Maybe the plot in the book is just as incoherent as in the film. If so, I hope the readers are happy. I disagree when I’m told “well, you had to read the book.” Why? A film is made for everyone, not just for the book club.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give “Twilight”  

This week's movie review of "Twilight" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.