Hot Dog Delight

Archive for November 2008

 “You’re like a drug to me – my own personal brand of heroin.”

Says Edward Cullen, brooding, beautiful and vampire, to Bella Swan, clumsy, fragile and human.  In a forest in the back of their high school in the small, permanently overcast town of Forks, Washington.  Such is the whirlwind romance at the heart of Twilight.

And at that very moment, when Edward compares his intense feelings for Bella to heroin, about half way through the movie, I couldn’t contain myself any longer.  I rifled through my bag for a pen and piece of paper and wrote those words down, in the dark, so that I could give all of you an accurate taste of what the movie was like for me – a barrel of laughs and a good time all around.

I couldn’t believe that he just compared her to one of the worst drugs out there — one of the most awful drugs, depicted horribly in pop culture (such as in Requiem For A Dream).  I can’t remember if that line was in the book, but I was shocked that that line could be seen as a compliment of any sort or that it was even said!  Minus one, Edward.  Minus one.

But before I continue with any more about the movie, based on the first of a four book series written by Stephanie Meyer, I am compelled to write about the phenomenon that is Twilight, a phenomenon that has swept the nation and crept most keenly into the hearts of young girls and women alike, all across America, and even across the world.


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I jumped on the Twilight bandwagon much later than most.  Back in September, a friend told me that I would love this series, about a young girl who falls in love with a vampire, and that’s when it all started for me.  I had previously heard about this series months ago from my supervisor at work.  He loves vampire stories, so when he told me about it, I thought…I’m not sure if that’s for me… But after my friend told me about it, I became intrigued.  Two endorsements over the same series – I had to see for myself.  I immediately purchased the books from Amazon, and I proceeded to read all four in the next 10 days.

I read these books for hours each day.  Bella and the attractive vampire family that are The Cullens consumed my life.  Every free moment I had:  on the subway, during my lunch break, when I got home after work.  I even stayed up until 2:30AM finishing Twilight the first day I got it.  It’s sad, but it’s true.

I lost a bit of steam the further I got into the series.  After the second book, New Moon, I thought, what else could possibly happen that would fill two more novels?  During Eclipse, the third book, I kind of wanted to tear my eyes out so I wouldn’t have to read any more.  Honestly, I can’t even remember what happened in the third book, even though I read it less than two months ago.  I just remember thinking, does she or doesn’t she become a vampire?  (Don’t worry, I won’t give anything away!)

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hello, if I were Bella, I would stop doubting this perfect man’s love for me, count my lucky stars that he did, and start reveling in every moment with him.

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I believed the third book to be a filler on the way to the finale – it seemed like the only reason the book was written was to make more money off the entire enterprise, something that didn’t enhance the plot in any way, but was churned out just to make a quick buck and to placate fans in the mean time, while Meyer was working on the final book. The plot was tedious, and I was tired of the same drama, the same senseless musings of a teenager in love with a dreamy guy, her uncertainty over whether or not he loved her (even though it was quite clear he did), and her desire to forsake her life for an eternity with him. As a side note, I just have to say that, hello, if I were Bella, I would stop doubting this perfect man’s love for me, count my lucky stars that he did, and start reveling in every moment with him. But, regardless of Bella’s slightly irritating thoughts, I still had to know what happened, and I couldn’t stop reading until I found out. Breaking Dawn redeemed the series. I was satisfied with the end result.

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In a different life we could have been friends. ______________________________________

Now, I don’t love these books for the writing. I would by no means classify these books as great literature. And they won’t ever be an Oprah’s Book Club kind of book. But I do love these books because they bring me back to a younger self. They have the ability to appeal to many people, of many different ages. While the books are targeted largely to a female audience, I’ve known and seen a number of guys reading them too. A friend told me the other day that she was riding the subway when an adult woman next to her was reading one of the books, and across from her, a beefy guy in his teens was reading one too! While I was furiously reading Breaking Dawn on the train on my way to work one morning back in September, I looked up to see this girl close to my age looking down at me, smiling. I thought it was a bit weird she was smiling at me. But when I was getting up to get off at my stop, she pointed down and said, “Best book ever.” I smiled in return and replied, “It’s great. I love it.” All she said was, “I know.” Then the subway doors closed, and I never saw her again. But I was still smiling. In a different life we could have been friends.

This story, these books bring people together. I’m not sure what it is that makes me want to know everything about it, but after reading the first book, I became obsessed. I found myself googling and IMDB-ing all the actors cast in each of the roles. I watched all the trailers that were up. I even went on Stephanie Meyer’s website and read the leaked chapters of her companion book to TwilightMidnight Sun — which is just the first book through the eyes of Edward instead of Bella. That’s right. The same story. I already knew what was going to happen, but I still had to read it. I downloaded the unedited first 12 chapters and skimmed the entire thing that night.

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Edward Cullen embodies everything that a girl wants.  He is everything I wanted my boyfriend to be when I was between the ages of 12 and 14, before I knew any better, before I knew what was really out there, before reality hit me.

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Now that you have an idea of my journey with these books, I want to tell you a little more about why I love them. If you know anything about me, you know that I love many things (I am, after all, a multi-faceted individual), but one of the things I really love is a good teen angst story, and Twilight is a great story full of angst. Not only is this a story between a girl who falls in love with a boy, and the sweet, tender, awkward moments associated with young love, but the boy just so happens to be a vampire, who also has to resist his urges to suck her blood and kill her.

Twilight has danger, intrigue, angst, and the perfect man.  Edward Cullen embodies everything that a girl wants.  He is everything I wanted my boyfriend to be when I was between the ages of 12 and 14, before I knew any better, before I knew what was really out there, before reality hit me.  Edward is beautiful, smart, effortlessly cool, witty, has a bit of a bad boy quality, a little edgy, mysterious, dark, yet sensitive and soulful.  Though he is silently suffering in his lonely existence, he is at the same time ready and able to whole-heartedly love Bella with such intensity that he will do anything to keep her safe.  After 90 years of being 17, he has found his soul mate (figuratively speaking since technically he has no soul and is not living) in Bella.  At the heart of Twilight, it is a sweet and touching tale that unfolds between two individuals who have never experienced such strong emotions before.  There is an innocence there that I sometimes miss, where gazing longingly into each other’s eyes and sharing a passionate and tender kiss meant the world.  Plus the vampire element really adds an extra dimension to the story and makes things even that much more exciting.

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Mostly because I feel like a part of me might still be 12 years old

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The book had more than a handful of cheesy moments, but I loved reading them.  Mostly because I feel like a part of me might still be 12 years old, which is why I am able to relate so easily to all the feelings of angst and how I can vividly picture all the awkward moments (because sometimes, I am still that awkward).  Though I thought the movie was an overall accurate portrayal of the book, I had pictured something in my head that was different than what was played out before me at the movies, which was quite an experience in itself.


I watched the midnight showing the night before the movie officially opened with a few of my girlfriends. I even pre-ordered my ticket online. I wasn’t going to take any chances. I got to the theater at 10:30PM, and there were already tons of teens there. MTV News was also in the concession stand area interviewing movie-goers. There were groups of girls with custom-made Twilight t-shirts, and people were actually taking photos in the theater before the movie started. It was as if they had never been to a movie before! I really didn’t understand the need to take photos while sitting in a semi-lit theater before the start of a movie. Theaters all look the same on the inside! It was wild that these teens were so crazy about Twilight that they were documenting every moment of it. But considering how some girls wanted the actor, Robert Pattinson, to bite them when he was making appearances in malls all across America (because they couldn’t understand or didn’t want to believe that he wasn’t really Edward Cullen or a vampire, and that Edward Cullen was a fictional character), anything was possible. No amount of crazy was shocking.

Once the previews started, the cheering and loud applause began. Once the movie started, I couldn’t stop laughing.

Robert Pattinson (aka Cedric Diggory, the cute wizard who dies in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and Kristen Stewart are great at portraying Edward and Bella respectively. Their chemistry is undeniable. The angst is without a doubt there. However, it made me uncomfortable at times watching their scenes together. It was downright hilarious at moments. When Edward first gets a whiff of Bella’s scent, and the fan blows her hair to the side, the look on Edward’s face is absolutely priceless. It looks as if he’s going to vomit. He clenches his fist, he wrinkles his nose in disgust, and his body cringes in pain. Bella, in the meantime, is confused beyond belief, and actually starts sniffing herself to make sure she doesn’t really smell! We learn in the book that he reacts that way because her scent is so sweet and appealing that he has to do everything in his power to restrain himself and not attack her.

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In every scene he was in, all I wanted to do was rip his fake hair extensions out!

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The camera work is shaky at times, the close-ups are too close, cutting into the actors’ faces at what I thought to be unflattering angles, and the special effects are not very special. When Edward carries Bella on his back and runs through the forest and into the tree tops to show her what he is capable of (he has superhuman speed), it doesn’t look very impressive. The scenery is nice, but that was about it. While books rarely translate into movies you envisioned while reading them, Twilight was almost intentionally comedic, even though the books were quite dramatic. I’m not sure what they were going for while creating it, but the delivery of lines by some of the other actors were really not how I expected. It was hard to take seriously. I have to say that for those who watched the movie, Eric, Tyler, and Mike Newton were not what I imagined. But the most shocking of all was Jacob! In every scene he was in, all I wanted to do was rip his fake hair extensions out! I can’t wait until the second movie comes out, when his hair is cut, and he bulks up!  Though I’m not sure how they’re going to pull that off…

The best part of the movie, aside from others’ in the theater being as highly amused as I was throughout the whole thing (confirmed by the cackling and uncontrollable bursts of laughter in the theater), was that since it was a movie, it lacked Bella’s constant thoughts that we read in the book. Instead, we get to see how the relationship develops and are subjected to her inner narration only a few times throughout the movie. Her character is much more likable on screen.

Even though Twilight wasn’t what I envisioned while reading the book, it was still quite entertaining, mainly because so many of the interactions had such a comedic twist. Seeing the scenes played out before me was a jolly good time. I can’t say anything too bad about the books or the movies though, because honestly, I just want to be Bella Swan. Even if only for a few hours.  With Edward’s cold arms wrapped around me.

 

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