I was coming straight from the office, so I met my wife at the movie theater. She was already inside.
I handed the cashier my credit card. “I ordered online.”
“Just the one?”
I tried not to blush.
I knew I was in trouble before the movie even started.
The first preview was for Hunger Games. Catniss volunteering for her sister, trying to decide between Peeta and Gale.
Then it was onto The Vow, a movie about a married woman who loses her memory in a car crash. Her husband has to make her fall in love all over again. He. Will. Never. Give. Up.
Finally, and I’m not making this up: Titanic. In 3D. “I’ll never let go, I’ll never let go.”
Twilight is the ultimate fantasy for a certain type of girl. A certain type of brooding, naive, innocent, hormone-crazed girl.
The theater was packed with them. Uncontrollable giggling is the best way to describe the atmosphere. Teens and pre-teens dominated, but there were also a few pockets of women in their 30s and 40s. I saw 4 males.
The entire experience was one long drawn-out girl fantasy. It’s ultimately a parody of itself, but thats what makes it so enjoyable.
Every male is a caricature. It’s worse than Sex and The City.
Take Charlie. He’s a teenage girl’s dream Dad. Protective. Loyal. Helpless in the kitchen and the laundry room, but somehow endearing in his helplessness. Loves his daughter unconditionally. Super awkward.
Jacob is the perfect friend. The boy next door. Kinda cute but never any real spark. More like a brother. Loyal. Would do anything to protect her.
Edward. This is where things get a little weird. He desires Bella to the point where he literally wants to eat her. He struggles to control his desires. He can protect her from anything. He appears silently out of nowhere. He can hear everyone’s thoughts (amazing!)…except for her’s (perfect!). He sparkles. Oh, and he can give her eternal life.
An entire generation of teenage girls will grow up comparing their dorky boyfriends to Edward. Good luck, fellas.
The movie opens with Jacob reading Bella’s wedding invitation. Within 3 seconds, he rips off his shirt and runs into the woods. The women in the theater squealed. Aggressively. They made no effort to control themselves. It was more frightening than funny.
The girl-fantasy only deepens from there with an hour of wedding porn.
Everyone knows that wedding invitations are a relic of another era, before save-the-date refrigerator magnets, but we send them out anyway. Like women’s clothing, it’s about women impressing other women. In the movie, none of the characters seem to know about the wedding until they receive the invitation in the mail. This is a great trick to show reactions (e.g. Jacob ripping off his shirt and giving us a peak at those ripped muscles) but it also validates the enormous energy that goes into creating wedding invitations.
Fast forward to the ceremony.
Bella needs to be steadied when she walks down the aisle. Spoiler alert: reliable Charlie won’t let her fall. He doesn’t stop the procession to try to talk to her, either. He just keeps them moving forward at a steady pace, giving her space to make up her own mind, but knowing just what she needs.
Bella is filled with anxiety until she sees Edward at the end of aisle. Then the music changes, she becomes dreamy eyed, my wife grips my hand, and everyone in the theater starts sighing and crying. I almost passed out during those last few steps, I think the estrogen started displacing the oxygen in the theater.
The wedding kiss was unbelievable. They make out for a good 5 minutes, and the cinematographer cleverly circles the camera around the couple during the kiss, showing the crowd disappear. I could be reading too much into this, but I think we’re meant to believe that Bella forgot about everyone else while she was kissing Edward.
The honeymoon scenes left a lot out. My wife actually yelled “Come on!” when the cameras suddenly cut away to the next morning, sooner than she wanted. She’s hoping for a NR version on Blu-Ray.
In Jacob’s tribe, imprinting is when two people fall unconditionally in love with each other. It’s an animal connection. As Edward reminds us, “It is their most sacred law.”
Women love this idea. It’s a biological and spiritual and magical confirmation that monogamy works, that soulmates are real, and that they will be loved and cherished forever.
But it’s actually worse than that. Because it’s not limited to romantic love. It encompasses all forms.
Jacob imprints on a newborn baby, Renesme, who is hours old. They show him look into her eyes and suddenly fall to his knees. As he is taken over by a trance, the narrator suddenly comes over the top and explains imprinting. “And he imprinted on her. His whole center of gravity shifted. He knew the earth was symmetrical. And he was everything to her…A father…A brother…A friend…A protector…A lover.”
For this little girl baby, he is literally THE PERFECT MAN.
This clip gives you a sense it, though it differs from the movie.
After the movie, we emerged onto the sidewalk in a sea of teenage girls. It was filled with fathers on Blackberries who had come to pick up their daughters.
They looked at me and just shook their heads.
I loved it.
And not only because I enjoyed watching from the perspective of an anthropologist studying teenage girls. There were elements of horror that were unnerving…they didn’t shy away from the vampire stuff. I watched most of the end of the movie with my hand over my mouth in disbelief. They portrayed vampire chemistry very creatively. The wolf-pack scenes were brave.
I went back for more on Wednesday night.
I can’t believe Part II is filmed and ready to go, and we have to wait a full year for it.