Blame sheer anthropological curiosity. Last night I found myself in a cineplex, surrounded by young women — and a few young men — all amped up for the 12:03 am showing of Twilight, the film based on Stephenie Meyer's best-selling vampire novel, starring Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and dirty sexy Robert Pattinson (formerly seen playing Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter) as Edward Cullen. The mood was OMG SO EXCITED, and the giddy fans waiting to enter the theater were not afraid to show how devoted they were:
Kirsa and Kristin, both 18 years old, were sporting some fake blood on their lips. They've read all four of the books. Kirsa told me it was the second time she'd been interviewed that night. "We already know what happens," Kristin said, "but we're excited to watch."
Rachel, 19 and Mary, 20, wore Twilight t-shirts.
They wanted to make sure I got the backs.
As for the movie, well… I swear I went in with an open mind and an objective attitude. My past at a teen magazine means I've read three of the books and, while they aren't amazing, they are certainly entertaining page-turners jam-packed with fantasy and romance. Plus, I loved The Lost Boys and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. But Twilight was not good. For the first hour and ten minutes, we suffered. The story dragged while Bella tried to figure out what was so different about the hot guy in her school, Edward. A hundred people in the audience all knew he was a vampire, but it took Bella what felt like an undead eternity to figure it out. Meanwhile, Edward's scenes consisted of acting dramatically tortured to be in her presence, which caused many watching to erupt in fits of laughter. Actually, there was lots of laughing — every time the main characters exchanged pained, lingering glances; when Edward's siblings would traipse into a room, all pancaked with chalky makeup and dressed in white with wide, paranoid eyes; and when the camera would focus in on Edward's eyes, fitted with bizarre coppery contact lenses. After Bella finally pieced things together — cold skin! not around on sunny days! super strength! never eats food! — the movie picked up speed a little bit, although what should have been tender, emotional moments between the
star blood-crossed lovers came off as clichéd and silly. Lying on the grass in a meadow has been done. Plus, many of the lines Edward said to Bella — "You're like my own personal brand of heroin" — just sounded hackneyed and dumb. Worst of all, in Twilight, instead of being killed by the sun, vampires glitter — and in the film, when Edward showed Bella his skin in direct sunlight, the guffaws in the audience would not die down. Instead of making his skin look "like diamonds," the special effects looked more like Gay Pride parade body shimmer. While the action sequences at the end of the movie were well done, when the lights came on, I turned to my (straight, male) friend and declared, "There will not be a sequel." He replied: "You don't think so? I had a ball!" He was among those laughing the hardest. I didn't want to write this, but I'm afraid I have to: Twilight is a vampire movie that sucks.