It was obviously going to be difficult to transfer this story to the big screen. And even though the film doesn’t hold a candle to the source material, it’s an adequate adaptation.

Bella Swan’s (Kristen Stewart) mom recently remarried so to give the newlyweds some alone time, she grudgingly decides to trade the warm, sunny climate of Phoenix for the cloudy, rainy surroundings of Forks, Washington to live with her father (Billy Burke). With such a small population, everyone quickly takes notice of the new girl and Bella instantly has a group of new friends – everyone except the Cullens. The Cullens keep to themselves mostly but Bella finds herself drawn to Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) despite the strange way he acts around her. He soon reveals a similar attraction, only his desires are more dangerous than she expected. Bella is eventually welcomed into their vampire family but there are other vampires not as willing to tolerate the unprecedented relationship.

Even at two hours, the first thing fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight will notice is Bella and Edward’s courtship is highly abbreviated. Several of the scenes are combined and they fast track to an intensely reciprocal relationship so the danger presented by the nomad vampires is substantial. Of course, these adjustments were expected and the feelings between the characters are still expressed well enough. On the other hand, the change in tone of two very meaningful moments in the novel is more than irritating.

The casting of the already loved and imagined characters is fairly satisfying. Stewart conveys the vulnerability of Bella, as well as her powerful and unforeseen attraction to Edward. Pattinson is both good-looking and comes across slightly dangerous; although the pain caused by his uncontrollable draw to Bella is not always portrayed convincingly. Conversely, his smile is fittingly breathtaking. Luckily, their on-screen chemistry is tangible. The rest of the Cullens are also represented well, especially Alice (Ashley Greene). And Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has a sweet, adorable face as expected. On the other side of the vampire divide, Cam Gigandet provides a very menacing take on James and Rachelle Lefevre is a more subtly deadly Victoria.

Practically, few of the effects really work. Filmmakers used a lot of wirework to communicate the vampires’ special abilities but the Crouching Tiger-look does not really work for this story.

In the end, this film is not as likely to bring new readers to the series as it fails to truly illustrate the force of Bella and Edward’s love. Moreover, they are likely to miss the subtleties of some of the characters’ actions because they’re unfamiliar with the story. Alternatively, fans will not walk away disgruntled as the film is loyal to the story they know – just very different.

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