Richard AllevaDecember 19, 2008 - 3:16pm0 comments
Twilight interests me because it almost takes the “mass” out of “mass entertainment.” Most film franchises have their special target audiences but also try to sweep in as many other customers as possible. James Bond’s macho thrills and high-tech nonsense may be male-oriented, but they cut across age divisions. (Going into Twilight, I crossed paths with two geezers, at least two years older than I am, chortling over the body count in Quantum of Solace.) Even Disney cartoon features have so many knowing wisecracks about pop culture that adults often laugh while kids are puzzled.
Twilight is different because it’s aimed intensely, single-mindedly, at one narrow sector of the movie audience. Though it is a tribute to the craftsmanship of scriptwriter Melissa Rosenberg (adapting the first installment of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling young-adult series) and director Catherine Hardwicke that anybody who enjoys romantic fantasy and/or vampire-horror will find this film watchable, those anybodys will merely be privileged bystanders. The twelve- to sixteen-year-old females camping outside multiplexes in freezing weather on opening day form a congregation, and the moviemakers have conscientiously ministered to it.
Hardwicke was the right director for this story precisely because she isn’t drawn to guts and gore and has no penchant for making your flesh creep. Her...