I was introduced to the Twilight phenomenon the same way I’m introduced to many blips in the pop culture radar; from an Entertainment Weekly left on top of a friend’s toilet. I giggled at the too serious looks, the ridiculous coifs and the over-the-top makeup. I filed it away under “uninterested”. Then, a couple of months later, girl friends of mine in the target age range (late teens, early twenties) start to recommend this book to me. While highly doubtful, I’m never one to turn down a recommendation, and dove right into the book Twilight. Easily one of the worst books I’ve ever read. When I brought my book report back to the girls, some of them even responded with “Oh, yeah, the FIRST book isn’t very good! But once you get into it, the series is really great!”. Interestingly enough, I haven’t met a Twilight fan yet who actually likes all four of the books; they always have at least one that they really hate (Usually New Moon).
After that, the infamous “Fuck This Face” blogs on CHUD, which was some of the most hilarious and spot on stuff that I’ve read on here. The movie came out, and I heard good reviews from the people who loved the books, but they were obviously never to be trusted again. So I didn’t see it in the theater, had no interest, but as almost a joke decided to watch it on video with my girlfriend, who also despised the book. Surprisingly enough, we both actually enjoyed it.
Granted, this was not a difficult book to improve on, but they really did improve on it in every way. Gone were the endless, tedious monologues. They introduced the villains right away, instead of throwing them randomly in at the end; this added a bit more suspense to the piece. The photography by Elliot Davis was pretty, as was the scenery. The score by Burwell was solid, if a bit familiar sounding (The Spanish Prisoner, maybe?). And Catherine Hardwicke (Of whose movies I’d only seen Thirteen and The Nativity Story, and hated both) did a good job of grounding the ridiculous story in a certain degree of day to day reality. And the special fx. . . Well, it was done on the cheap, and they were serviceable.
Vampire romances have been done to death (Har har har!), but I liked the somewhat fresh spin here. This isn’t for the goth kids; they have Lestat and White Wolf Larping. This is for the girls who are too timid to be goth; the ones who classify themselves as “edgy” because they have a Jack Skellington clock, or something.If most vampire romances have a tinge of violent sexuality lurking beneath the surface, this is clearly the pro-abstinence version of that story. And I think that’s cute. Not because I’m a staunch advocate for abstinence, but simply because it’s something that I haven’t seen before. Clearly this book is the product of a repressed libido. But is that inherently bad? The novel Dracula comes off as highly conservative through modern eyes; anti-women’s lib, pro-religion, anti-semetic, anti-Darwinian, etc. It’s as much fun to read between the lines as it is to read the lines themselves, and I feel the same way about Twilight.
The movie, not the book. Because the book was just too damn painful.