So, I am late in coming to this trough, but I have recently (as in 5 minutes ago) finished the Twilight films. No, I didn’t read the books and I probably won’t. Being a high school teacher, and beyond teeny-bopper schmoopiness – I did not even consider Twilight when it came out. Many of my students were into it and still I resisted, privately rolling my eyes at the bubble gum vampire adventures they swooned over. But now that the hype is passed, I figured why not watch the films, because, I confess I was at one point a full on vampire girl. Full on.
I was absolutely obsessed with Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles when I was sixteen. I wished very much that Lestat or someone like him would come through my window and transform me. Alas, it never happened. I have a whole vampire library to prove my obsession went way beyond Rice’s series. In fact, even as a young lass, way before Anne Rice, I was in to films like Once Bitten and The Monster Squad – I was just into that type of thing. But Lestat is not Edward. The vampires I was raised on were not PG 13. Classic to modern, Palodori to Camilla, Dracula to the Blood Countess, they were much more erotic, not to mention intellectual and sophisticated.
But…I happily watched all 3 Twilight films, ready to forgive its flaws, and eager to be swept away in romance and fantasy. Twilight – the first film – was good to start. I liked the setting, I liked Bella, and I liked the Native American descended from the wolf thing. The vampires, however, were lacking and just a bit silly with their sparkly baseball, which I had previously heard about. Just like musicals in which I like everything but the singing, I liked everything but the vampires in the first story. It was enough in the end however, to make me want to see New Moon. I watched that last night. Not so good. As with many trilogies #2 seemed but a bridge story. Not enough about what I was interested, which much to my chagrin, was Edward vs Jacob.
I was particularly struck by the sexual allegory, albeit par for the course in vampire lit. Bella and Edward can not consummate their relationship because it means he must “bite” her, or enter her body and pull from her the very goodness he so desires. Now this varies depending on the lore, but most vampires are not able to engage in the traditional sexual act. The bite and the drinking of blood is their release. Meyers doesn’t seem to be playing it this way, but her rules are vague to say the least. Can Edward actually do the deed? He wants to be married first before they “do it” – interchangeably relating to having sex and him making her into a vampire, on which be blames his old fashioned ways – being 100+ years old and all. But as a teenager, it makes sense that Bella is abstinent, and a vampire boyfriend, who for one reason or another is unwilling to go beyond a kiss, makes sense.
And then there is Jacob: warm blooded, animistic (in more ways than one). His clan can have children, and only some of them “inherit the gene” for being a werewolf. He is tan, he is jacked, he is witty, and…he can do what needs to be done. No contest. Although, running around perpetually without his shirt on and donning cut off jeans is a bit questionable. But…he is also dangerous. He says himself, he doesn’t know what he could do to her if he got angry. Uh oh. Watch out for those hot blooded guys, they might blacken your eye or worse, therefore presenting another allegorical warning. Even the nice guys can be dangerous if they are that type.
But of course Jacob never hurts her, and neither does Edward. But Edward is a vampire, he is cold, pale and sickly looking, mopey, and somewhat insecure. Who would want that for a man? This was most prominently dealt with in the winter/tent scene in Eclipse. Of course Jacob can keep her warm, and the line that he is..after all…hotter than Edward made me laugh hard. So true.
Overall, it was teen romance, mixed with the classic vampire love story, which I once was in love with myself, so I can’t fault it for that. The evil vampire clan thing was totally unnecessary and I tried to ignore it in all the movies as much as possible. It was not possible though in New Moon and that is why that was the worst of the three films.
Now, there was a moment there, between New Moon and Eclipse where I believed that maybe this story was going to end in a new and original way. Maybe Edward would actually consummate the relationship with a deep and juicy bite and they would actually live happily ever after, and after, and after, going against the traditional vampire story. And, truly, I suppose that is how it ends in a way. We just don’t get to see the deed being done, which was a major let down. Instead all we got was a flower laden field with talk of wedding dresses and guest lists. Isn’t that how it is for every bride? all fantasy, and little focus on the reality of married life. A virginal wedding with oh such a surprise on the wedding night. Now that IS the old fashioned way.
In Eclipse, I thought for a moment that Bella would choose Jacob and the whole thing would be turned on its head. The scene where, as a wolf, he rubs his head against her like a pet dog, brought tears to my eyes. A guy who is hot, magical, and as soft and cozy as a pet pooch – well who could want anything more? She even kisses Jacob and tells him she loves him. All the vampires, including Edward, told her she shouldn’t “marry” him and become a vampire. So why didn’t she choose Jacob for God’s sake?!
Well, because there is one theme that will go on in perpetuity. Women always choose the guy that is not right for them. Even if he himself tells her he is not the right guy for her. The nice, warm blooded, family oriented, caring guy will never win out over the withdrawn, despond ant, outsider. Nice guys always finish last.
Now, I almost do wish I had read it along with my school girls. I could have then told them that worst guys are hairy on the inside, and not the outside.