When I walked out of Twilight this past Sunday night, I felt like I could identify with its male lead, vampire heartthrob Edward Cullen. And it wasn’t because I’m pale and like to climb trees. It was because I had experienced exactly what it was like to be completely unlike everyone else all around me. How so? Because I was an adult male in a movie created exclusively for teenage girls.
Now, I’ll admit it: I actually wanted to see this movie. I was not coerced, threatened, bribed, or blackmailed into it. Having heard the hype surrounding Stephanie Meyer’s vampire love quadrilogy, I was curious, especially because the term “the next Harry Potter” was being thrown at it. And let’s face it, regardless of where you stand theologically on Harry, you can’t deny his impact on literature and pop culture. So, just as I did with the boy wizard, I decided to see the Twilight movie before reading the books.
The film starts out as many teen movies do, by introducing us to the heroine. Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) is the new girl in perpetually cloudy Forks, Washington. She keeps to herself for the most part, only talking with a few girls at school and, occasionally, her single police chief dad. She is a sock without its match. That is, until she meets Edward (Robert Pattinson). At first, she notices Edward steering clear of her and thinks he hates her; she doesn’t realize that the reason he’s avoiding her is because of his overwhelming desire to taste her blood and because she is the only person he’s ever met whose mind he cannot read, which fascinates him; so she avoids him as well. But they cannot fight their attraction for each other for long. After Edward rescues Bella from a potential car accident, they begin to spend more time together. All the while Edward is hiding his secret. But eventually (like some sort of Sherlock Holmes/Van Helsing hybrid using only Google, wikipedia, and a Native American used book store) Bella figures out what he really is. This unlocks the door that has been separating them.
As it turns out, being brought into Edward’s world is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it frees up both Edward and Bella to be more of who they really are. It’s a curse, however, because being a human in a vampire world means everyone wants a piece of you. (Well, maybe not a piece. More like a pint.) After an encounter with another vampire clan (all of whom are dressed like 80’s rock stars), Edward and Bella have to flee from a vampire named James who has begun a ruthless pursuit of her. And as they run, they fall in love.
Let me start by saying this: Twilight is not a good movie. It’s got SciFi Channel, made-for-TV-movie special effects. It’s got some of the cheesiest lines of dialogue ever written (which I’m told came straight from the book). And it’s terribly paced and sloppily edited. That being said, I can totally see how girls love this stuff.
The girl who’s too afraid to open up meets the mysterious, dangerous (and yet curiously self-restrained) stranger who says that he’s waited for so long for just her. Twilight is a movie that speaks directly to a girl’s desire to feel wanted and special. Bella is not only being told that she’s Edward’s perfect match, but that she’s safe with him while still being at the center of danger and mystery.
As a movie, Twilight barely works. I say barely because it did have a few scenes that I liked. But overall, I’m not a fan. However, I am intrigued by the possibility of using it as a discussion starter about what exactly love is.
Josh Treece – not Josh Pease – is a volunteer at an incredible church. He’s really proud of himself for not making the joke “this vampire movie really sucks” anywhere in his review. You should be too, as it took all of his willpower to hold back.