What do I now have in common with the average American teenage girl? If you guessed, “being nervously uncomfortable while wearing a bikini in front of the captain of the football team” you are only half right. The correct answer is “we both saw the new Twilight movie on Tuesday at midnight.” And for what it’s worth, the other thing is true too.
Yes, you read that right. In an effort to win “husband of the year” for the third year in a row (I’m the only one eligible in my house) I went to see Twilight: Eclipse the early morning it came out.
Though I had not read any of the books or seen any of the movies, I was somewhat excited about what I was getting myself into. This franchise has rejuvenated a classic genre and changed the pop culture landscape. I imagine that every five minutes or so, someone makes a pitch in Hollywood that starts with, “Okay, so there’s this teenager or college student or BP executive and he seems perfectly normal and all on the surface… but really (pause for dramatic effect) he’s a vampire.”
From my perspective, I needed to see this movie in order to be relevant.
I’ll begin with a little perspective. I’m resisting the urge to take several cheap shots at this movie. That really wouldn’t be fair of me. I don’t think anyone is going to claim that it is the Godfather. I hope no one would even suggest that it is the best movie of the summer. So far, that honor belongs to the people at Pixar.
Yes, there were several things wrong with this movie that the average 14 year-old with braces and a TEAM JACOB shirt will miss. The editing was poor. It was 30 minutes too long. One guy didn’t wear a shirt much. You get the idea.
Yet, what kind of a person just picks apart the negative stuff? I can’t allow myself to do that. That would just make me a cynic. And we all know that no one likes a cynic, unless you are the president of a secret cynic society. I guess that would mean that you actually loved cynics… but only those who paid their annual dues on time.
My purpose is simply to tell you of my experience, an eyewitness account of sorts. I wanted to go to the midnight showing for a reason. I wanted to see more than just a movie. I wanted to try to understand the phenomenon.
When we arrived at 11pm (an hour early) the parking lot was full. Not just full of cars. It was full of people. 1,200 people were sitting, some on blankets and lawn chairs, in roped off sections. Pizza boxes and Starbucks cups were discarded all over the place. I got the feeling that some of these fans had been there awhile. Some, I was told, had been holding their place in line since 8am that morning.
We took our place at the back of the line and began talking to the people around us.
“So, are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?” a girl wearing pajama pants asked me.
“Huh?” I said.
“Whatever.” She said something else under her breath as she turned her attention back to her book.
When we finally got into the theater, we made our way to the lower middle section and found a few empty seats. It was then that I remembered that it was after midnight. I was tired. I was going to have to fight to stay awake.
Then the movie started. Here’s what I remember. Keep in mind that I knew nothing about the story except that there were vampires. Be warned: Spoiler Alert!
Scene opens on a field of flowers. There was this pale guy. He has weird contacts in his eyes and uses a lot of hair gel. He apparently likes this girl named Bella. I think that was her name. I couldn’t really understand what she was saying. She mumbled when she spoke. She also bit her bottom lip a lot.
Wait, is she a vampire? No? Okay.
So Bella apparently likes this guy named Edward (he’s the vampire) and said that she was going to be like him soon. I figured that meant that she was going to become an albino or British or something. Nope. That meant that she was going to become a vampire. How does one become a vampire? You take a written test, pass the physical, and complete the blood work… Ha. Blood work. Get it?
Anyway, the next thing you know, Edward takes Bella to school. Then a Native American guy shows up on a motorcycle. You get the idea that Edward doesn’t like this guy and tries to fight him. Bella breaks up the argument, which is lucky for Edward because Jacob (the Indian) would have killed him.
Then Bella gets on a motorcycle with Jacob. The two go out into the woods, which is a perfectly safe thing for a teenage girl to do. All along I thought that Bella was in love with Edward. It turns out that she might be in love with Jacob too. Now I get the Edward v. Jacob thing.
Jacob now has his shirt off (which is weird) and tells Bella that he just wants to be friends (which is never true). Bella mumbles some more stuff. Then all of a sudden, a bunch of vampires are running through the woods. There are wolves involved too. Then these people who are wearing outfits from 17th century England are in Seattle. They keep talking about a bunch of stuff I don’t understand.
Then we cut to a campfire scene. Bella is sitting with a Native American family. It turns out that Indians are magical. Next thing you know, Bella is trying to sleep with Edward. He says that he wants to wait until they are married. Then he proposes. I’m thinking, “Whoa Edward, you might want to think this through again under different circumstances.” Bella says yes. Cue romantic music.
Later on Jacob, Edward, and Bella end up in a tent. It’s snowing but Jacob is only wearing American Eagle cargo shorts. Then he crawls in the sleeping bag with Bella. Edward doesn't like this but there isn't anything he can do about it because Bella is cold. That's understandable, right?
Later on, Bella kisses Jacob. She seems to like it. All very strange to me because I thought she was engaged to… oh well, whatever. I give up.
There’s a big fight between wolves and good vampires and the bad vampires. Good triumphs. Love wins. We go back to the field of flowers. Edward is now sparkling. Is he about to pass over to the other side like Patrick Swayze in Ghost? Nope. Vampires just do that sometimes. I didn’t know that.
In hindsight I realize, I had a lot to learn. One thing I do know, I’m totally Team Jacob.