I went to see Twilight on my own last night – as usual I just wandered past the cinema on my way home, to see if anything was starting soon.
I’ve been so irritated by the whole Twilight thing for a while. People always seem to jump on vampire stories in recessions – maybe it’s all the transparent sex metaphors that detract from the mood of fear. The last big vampire cult seemed a bit meatier though. Anne Rice‘s series was a lot less accessible, and the Interview with a Vampire movie was fantastically weird and OTT; overtones of Lolita combined with a kind of Southern Gothic version of Spartacus just about sums it up.
So I was even more irritated when I was completely captivated by the cheesy teen romance of Twilight, the hope and expectation of being 17. The story captures that youthful vigour, the constant tightrope tension of being attracted to people, and sometimes attractive to them, and of finding huge emotional depth in any number of trivial events, without the jaded indifference that comes with realising it will all only end with an argument about who’s taking the rubbish out. The plot is a rather shallow love triangle. Bella finds her soulmate in Edward, they’re in love, then she realises she also kind of fancies the beefcake Cherokee guy, so she kisses him too. In real life, if I turned up and admitted to my weedy boyfriend that while we were soulmates, I thought I could use a strong hot-blooded piece of action from the muscle man next door, then I think he’d make it pretty easy for me to decide. “But I love you more, Edward” – “Yeah honey, that’s not what it looked like, go find another sucker”.
The Bella character is unbearably smug, acting like being desirable to everyone in the school is a big trial for her. But I suppose it’s a lovely fantasy, and some of those casual conversations she has with the Cherokee guy (whose name I seem incapable of remembering, and he’s probably not even supposed to be a Cherokee, it’s just the only Native American tribe I can remember) are quite reminiscent of all those after-school friendships that were so easy to maintain. The scene where he’s standing in the shed fixing his motorbike and talking about transformation (yep, that transparent) reminded me a bit of the guy I really fancied, who was forever inviting me round to do homework and would take me down to the basement to show me how much progress he was making on rebuilding his bike. Like a fool, I didn’t assume this meant anything at all, since he was always showing off his latest gear and skills to anyone who would listen. We never did get together, and I’m still sad about that sixteen years later.