Monday, November 23, 2009

On New Moon

We (I) felt it important that we (we) take Gwynyth to see New Moon on opening weekend.
While the thought of being surrounded by swooning tweens does not in any way appeal to me, (in fact summoning flashbacks of seeing Titanic in the theatre with Shana, not expecting DiCaprio's heartthrob status to have such a profound and loud impact on the young girls in every other seat in the packed theatre) it is like a rite of passage for Gwynyth. And if Gwynyth will be swooning over anyone in any movie, I'm going to be right freaking there with the cold bottle of ice water at the ready.
I have read all four books. I have also read The Host, a completely unrelated novel about the fall of mankind to an advanced alien society, written from the point of view of a member of that advanced alien society.
Certainly, it can be argued that the major plot lines of the Twilight novels at best set unreasonable and/or dangerous precedents for young girls. It could also be argued that the main character, Bella, is almost unbelievably clueless most of the time.
What can't be argued is that Meyers tells a pretty damn compelling (and best-selling) story which appeals to people in a lot of different age groups. And, to be fair, loose ends are generally tied to major plot points later in the story, weaving the whole into a cohesive and (damn it) well-crafted story about growing up which happens to also involve vampires and werewolves.
New Moon follows the plot of the book pretty faithfully, which means that it plays out pretty much like an extended Abercrombie and Fitch commercial. With fight scenes.
The CGI is passable, but only because that isn't what the movie is about.
Bella's human friends seem to openly mock her, and the concept of the plot itself, which provides some relief from all the angst.
At one point, while walking out of a monster movie, Bella's friend Angela (EDIT: Actually, it was Jessica. Thank you, E to the H in the comments) announces that people say zombie movies have deeper meanings about consumerism, but that they are, in fact, just dumb. I prefer to believe that Angela is there to speak to us, to grant us her wisdom from beyond the screen, and to endow us with the permission to just go with it.
Okay, Angela.
When I looked to the other seats in the theatre, I tried to see the potential in that swooning, giggling mob.
Sure, the shirtless werewolves were swoon-worthy. There were several grown women in the audience who actually cried out at the glory that is the abs of a seventeen-year-old.
But most of the geeks I visit with have nothing but disdain for the whole Twilight phenomenon.
I'm not saying they should read the books. If they wanted to, they would.
I'm not even suggesting they NetFlix the films or buy the special edition Barbies.
What I am saying is that the same crowd, for as long as I can remember, has always said that there aren't enough girls into the same geeky things we are into.
Not enough girls play Dungeons and Dragons and not enough girls are into computer gaming and not enough girls read fantasy novels and know comic books.
But here was a film about vampires and werewolves which made more money opening than The Dark Knight made. And girls drove those ticket sales.
Please, please, my nerdy friends, do not wail about the lack of girls into fantasy in one breath and say "Twilight sucks" with the next.
Make no mistake. Twilight is a gateway drug, my friends.
Someday, perhaps in a year or two, your local comic book store may have to install a ladies restroom.

2 comments: said...

Small correction: Jessica goes to the movies with Bella. Angela is the tall, skinny chic with the camera.

-- Girl Nerd/Twihard

Garrick said...

You have no idea how happy I am to have been corrected.