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Tween Night Twilight

What is it about vampires that gets peoples' blood pumping? Is it the flawless features? The eternal youth? Their seductive, yet dangerous nature?Whatever the answer may be, there is definitely one group that goes gaga for the tall, dark and toothy: teenage girls. Or rather, tweenaged. Those girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen.

The Twilight series of books, and now movies, is a perfect example of that. All you had to do was go down to the cinemas last Thursday or Friday to see mobs of giggly gals lined up to take in the new feature film staring Kristen Stewart and the impossibly-jawed Robert Pattinson as the prey/predator power-couple.

Being possibly the best boyfriend ever, I took my lady down to the cinema last weekend to see what all the hoopla was about. An avid reader, she has recently picked the Stephenie Meyer penned series and has quickly fallen under it's spell.

I didn't quite know what to expect from the fans. I'd read reports of girls going nuts at public appearances, scratching their necks until they bled, passing out, and screaming at the top of their lungs for the poor, unprepared Pattinson. He was quoted in an interview as saying that thousands of girls shrieking is possibly the most terrifying sound imaginable.

We managed to catch the mid-afternoon showing, as the earlier show sold out as we were buying tickets. A matinee is perfect for the early-curfewed and the theatre was packed with high-spirited Junior Highers, smiling, laughing, and practically shaking with anticipation. It felt like intruding on huge slumber party, with high-pitch voices filling the air.

As soon as the lights went down, the room erupted with cheers and screams. You'd think your were at a Backstreet Boys concert with all the feminine commotion going on.

For those of you who haven't been debriefed on the storyline of Twilight, here's a crash course in teen-lit. Isabella (Kristen Stewart) is a teen who has just moved from Arizona to Forks, Washington to live with her father after her mother and her new boyfriend hit the road to pursue his amateur baseball career. Isabella is sensation at her new school, quickly making friends with a gang of typical high-school kids. But there's this one particular boy who is disrupting her new life, and that's the ever-so-handsome Edward (Pattinson) who, after some angst-filled exposition, turns out to be a vampire. He and his family have been hiding their true nature from the rest of the world for hundreds of years. By the way, Forks just happens to be the rainiest (and cloudiest) place in the continental United States, so it's the perfect place for sunshine-avoiding neck-biters to call home, a little like Vancouver.

But fear not for the veins of our heroine, for Edward and his family are "vegetarian" vampires and they only live off of the blood of animals. I know PETA won't dig this too much, but it’s better then feasting on townsfolk. So the stage is set for the adventures in young love and the mortally troublesome problems that go along with trying to have a relationship with one of the undead.

The film stays fairly true to the source material, I'm told, and with the limited budget on which it was made, the finished product is a more than serviceable vehicle for the story.

I've noticed that a lot of male reviewers have lambasted Twilight for it's weak script and dated special effects. City TV’s resident pop-culture hipster Thor Diakow went so far as to give the film a whopping "zero out of five hammers." I think that's going a little too far.

It’s not really that bad. It just is was it is: a movie version of a book for tweenaged girls.

Let's take a look into the origins of the story. Stephenie Meyer has said on numerous occasions that the idea for the books came from a dream. I've looked at a few of pages to get a feel for the prose, and it really does read like it came from a feminine dreamland, what with all of the flowery language used to describe just how incredibly beautiful Edward and his physique are. The idea of a monstrously-powerful man, that is somehow still so gentle and kind, who ignores all the women around him to be with the clumsy Plain Jane heroine, because she is evidently special, is so preposterous that it's endearing.

But, hey, it's a fantasy. A movie about sexy vampires.

When Pattinson made his first appearance on screen, about 15 minutes into the film, every girl in the theatre lost it, and in one long unified scream expressed how they felt about Edward, the beautiful sparkling vampire, the perfect man.

At first I thought it was ridiculous, and a little embarrassing, but then I remembered what it was like to be that age, only a little more an a decade ago for me. Back then everything was either the best or the worst, a binary universe of extremes. Especially when it came to dreams.

I wanted to capture the sound of girls reacting to Edward as a sound file, so I set up my voice recorder to listen in on the crowd during what I thought was going to be another scene of bombastic hollering, the one near the end of the film where Isabella and Edward share their first kiss. But instead of shouts of approval like I heard before, the kiss evoked dead silence. I was flabbergasted. Why so quiet? My girlfriend then explained that it was because every girl in the theatre had just had her heart broken.

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