Two things are key to the enjoyment of Twilight.
One is remembering what it was like to be an adolescent with a burning yearning to cop off with some hot piece of arse. The other is a big love for Robert Pattinson, the Everestquiffed, body-ripped heartthrob who is practically a walking, talking sexual-awakening in Catherine Hardwicke’s film about the new girl in town falling in love with the local vampire.
The one-time Cedric Diggory is on screen a lot. In slow-mo. There he is, walking into the cafeteria. Phwoar! There he is, being weird in biology. Hot! There he is, looking right at me! Orgasm.
He’s a good-looking dude and, while adults may sneer, Hardwicke and author Stephenie Meyer sit back to count their millions, having tuned into exactly what teen girls want. They want a cute boy jumping around with a girl a bit like them and – before you can say fumbling – they’ve got it.
Pattinson/Diggory plays Edward Cullen, a frighteningly sexy bloodsucker who catches the eye of new girl in town Bella (Kristen Stewart). Pitching up to live with her dad (Billy Burke, the comic relief), Bella joins a high school where everyone is unrealistically nice to each other and promptly – perhaps not thrilled by her identikit Abercrombie & Fitch classmates – falls for mysterious Ed.
He seems to be styled by Hugo Boss. He has immaculate Shockwaves hair. He has eyes that can change colour. Bella likes. But does Stewart – a capable, talented down-to-earth kind of actress who became even cooler than she already was when snapped toking from a massive bong – really matter to the screaming Twilight hordes? Not one bite.
Proof of just how second fiddle the Panic Room girl is can be found in two of the DVD’s 2,165 extras. (That’s not the real number. There are just shedloads on the double-discer.) First there’s the deafening footage of the London premiere, but more to the point there’s a behind-the-scenes sneak at the film’s Comic-Com 2008 launch in front of 6,000 screaming fans. “Here’s Kristen Stewart!” Reasonable applause, a couple of cheers. “Here’s ROBERT PATTINSON!” Eardrums burst. Seats soak. “Rob, marry me!” yells a fan, reliving the Beatles hysteria her Gran always bashed on about.
The Comic-Con bods show a scene. Some girl in a tit-top worn especially nearly passes out. “What’s it like to portray a super-hot vampire in the movie?” she stutters. “I don’t know if I am playing that,” smiles the incredible hunk as he quickly tots up the amount of pussy he’s going to get in the next five years. Stewart looks embarrassed. “Isn’t this my film?” she’s thinking. Nah.
She should give Ringo a call. She and the sticksman are the beating heart of their respective shebangs, but it’s the pretty ones that get the plaudits. Not that this is any slight whatsoever on Pattinson who, together with Stewart, manages to lead the film with enough knowing winks to keep those with mortgages amused. “You’re like my own personal brand of heroin” is, after all, among last year’s greatest lines and if it’s spoofed in a Scary Movie 48 then the plonkers behind such nonsense have missed the point.
The pacing may be off (far too much action is crammed into the final 20 minutes when the nasty vampires start chasing the nice ones), the family baseball scene ridiculous, the use of Radiohead’s ‘15 Step’ at the end confusing and the story generic, but Twilight’s for the coming-of-agers and the film is expertly tilted in their favour. There is MTV goth-lite music and people almost, but not quite, having sex. One doesn’t want to offend the thousands who haven’t done it yet after all. Oh, and Meyer is a Mormon. So probably wouldn’t before marriage.
The extras – in addition to the deafening convention unveiling that is still ringing in Lounge’s ears – run thick. There are music videos by overearnest bands, Pattinson playing a piano, Pattinson sitting down talking, Pattinson sucking blood, a pretty boring interview with Meyer in which you realise she’s better read than heard, Stewart describing her character as a “damsel in distress”, a so-so commentary with Hardwicke and the leads in which Hot Bob compares Twilight to Easy Rider, deleted scenes, extended scenes and a massive Making Of that doesn’t so much break the fourth wall as plant Little Boy and Fat Man under it and press Boom!
Best of all? A vampire kiss montage for that claret-loving teen in your life who wants to forget the plot and just lust over some neck-nookie like Aids never happened. Next up for the franchise is new director Chris Weitz tackling New Moon. It explores the teensy bit racist idea that the local Indian reservationists in Twilight are werewolves, locked in an immortal struggle with the good, white vampires.
From a quick phone call to a 13-year-old, it seems Pattinson’s Edward isn’t in it as much as the first one. That’ll probably change come film time though. He’s fricking gorgeous after all.