New Age Romeo & Juliet.

by Meredith O'Brien

 

*Warning, mild New Moon spoilers.*

 

Boil it down to its very essence and it comes to this: The Twilight series is a tale of angst-ridden young love which makes the lovers feel as though they would absolutely, literally perish without the other. It aspires to be a Romeo and Juliet for the 21st century, albeit with vampires, werewolves, cell phones and Linkin Park. Don’t ask Twlight to be anything else other than a tragic teen romance or you’ll be wasting your time and your analytical skills.

 

When my editor asked me to write a column about the latest film in the Twilight sagaNew Moon, which romantically inclined young gals (plus their moms) have helped propel into the box office stratosphere -- I was skeptical. In fact I think I might’ve even rolled my eyes a little. Although my 11-year-old daughter has already voraciously consumed the first three of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books on which the films were based – she hasn’t yet read the final installment, Breaking Dawn – I had resisting jumping onto the vampire love story bandwagon, though many of my peers have already professed their affection for Edward Cullen, a vampire in love, and Bella Swan, a besotted teenaged human.

 

“What is it about this series that sparks so much passion?” I asked myself as I begrudgingly moved the first Twilight film to the top of my Netflix queue. “It can’t be the vampire thing, can it?”

 

For the past week -- when I wasn’t celebrating Thanksgiving, driving around my state visiting family and baking pies -- I immersed myself in Planet Twilight. At first, I thought I’d be able to write this column after simply watching both films. But, as I left the theater after seeing New Moon, I felt as though I needed more. All this Twilight mania demonstrated by the “Twihard” fans existed before the adorable Robert Pattison signed on to play Edward, the frozen-at-17 vampire who wants to literally consume AND love Bella, so the ferocity of the fans’ enthusiasm must be about more than simply lusting after a young heartthrob in a movie. Thus I turned to the written page, as most of the time the book’s better than the movie anyway. On Thanskgiving eve, I plowed through the 563-page New Moon, the second book in the four-book series, and wound up having dreams of pale-faced vampires who looked like they were pulled directly from a GQ photo shoot and kept asking my husband if he’d be willing to give up his soul for me.

 

I think I get it now.

RedGal
12.04.09

I to am a 30+ mother of two and I also love twilight. I go to the truuconfessions website a lot and judging from that you either love it or hate. I agree with the author, you really have to remember when reading that they are teenagers.

celticscotian
12.02.09

You know, I find it funny when I hear the anti-feminist comments with regard to Bella's character. Yes, she seems to be in constant need of rescue. She has, however, taken out a vampire at the knees purely by existing. That seems pretty strong, to me. On a deeper level, though, from those of us who have read all the books....just wait for it. She comes into her own just fine. Without giving anything away for those who still want to read the series, it is rather unsubtle irony and makes for a really fun, "ohhhh" moment.

That being said, why overanalyze? It is simply fun stuff in which to get absorbed. Delving too deeply into the whys and wherefores makes me shake my head in the same way as philosophy discussions with regard to the Matrix movies - Red Pill versus Blue Pill.

wigglerooms
12.01.09

You got it, Meredith. Ah, Robert. And ah, that first kiss scene in the first movie: I had finished all four books months before, not without some criticism (mostly of the writing, which subsided as I got more and more sucked in to the story) and I found myself you-tubing that scene over and over. Sigh. And now, back to the two- and four-year-olds who need lunch.

cjacobs
12.01.09

I'm a thirty-something working mom with a 3 & 5 year old. I was on a vacation and hated the book i brought with, so picked up "Twilight" at the local store. Was HOOKED from there on out. The draw is not about the writing, it's not about the vampires or teenage life. It's desperate, passionate love. Let's face it, with my schedule there isn't time or brain power to read anything heady, these Twilight books offered a wonderful escape, a guilty pleasure. What's so wrong with that??