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 saga – New 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.