Torn between two lovers
YES, THERE are problems. You don’t need a PhD in semiotics to discern an implicit argument for sexual abstinence in the first two films based on Stephenie Meyer’s teen vampire novels. True, the manner in which Bela Swann, the series’ pre-Raphaelite heroine, submits to any passing mythical being gestures towards the gender politics of feudal times.
All this is, to be sure, worrying. But you have to admire the way these damp, mumbly films so brilliantly encapsulate the sulky moods of late adolescence. Both
Twilight and this, only slightly less effective sequel offer door-slamming youths – and girls in particular – the ultimate fantasy: a universe in which your crushes, moods and funks genuinely have monumental significance.
That choice between a lunk-headed lifeguard and a whey-faced emo kid becomes a choice between a werewolf and a vampire. Select wisely and you may be granted eternal life. Select wrongly and you could be torn to shreds. Don’t let anyone tell you it’ll all seem okay in the morning.
Catherine Hardwicke, director of the first film, got juggled out the door in the months following
Twilight’s colossal success. Happily, Chris Weitz, he of the stillborn His
Dark Materials adaptation, has decided to stick with Hardwicke’s successful faux-naturalistic approach. The camera doesn’t waggle quite as much, but the characters continue to mutter and shuffle like 14-year-olds waiting outside the headmaster’s office.
This time round, Bela (Kristen Stewart), after an early desertion by her vampire lover Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), falls in with a group of hunky werewolves – topless when human, a tad too pixel-heavy when lupine - who can’t quite distract her from staring out the window to the strains of post-Radiohead gloom pop. Later there’s some weird, deeply confusing stuff in Italy with Michael Sheen as a combination of Kenneth Williams and m’lord Beelzebub.
It’s pointless to complain that the werewolf transformations are perfunctory and the mythological back-story impenetrable. The
Twilight epics are not really horror films. They’re efficient audiovisual representations of hormone-driven neuroses. To put it in the language of the series’ online fans: Harry Potter, like, sucks; Twilight rules.
Kristen Stewart meets hunky howler Taylor Lautner