I have never read a 'Twilight' book. And I have never seen a 'Twilight' movie.
This decision to avoid the series has been on purpose. My mother is a huge 'Twi-hard,' as fans of the books and movies call themselves; she even referred to her love of 'Twilight' in a speech she gave to 800 people at our synagogue this year. My little sister, who hates reading like a vegan hates cheesecake, devoured the books and has a Robert Pattinson/Kristen Stewart poster on her door. The DVDs are always on the living room table at my parents' house.
So why have I avoided 'Twilight'? One big reason is that I grew up with 'Harry Potter,' and my loyalty to that franchise has always reigned supreme. I know it is possible to like both (What?!) and that the two have very little in common, aside from Pattinson. Plus, author Stephenie Meyer seems like a wacked-out version of the queen of kids' fiction, Jo Rowling. (I know, I know, shun the non-believer.)
Another reason I've avoided the series, truthfully, is that I've heard 'Twilight' is ... well, stupid. I've heard that the books are poorly written, that the female character, Bella, is a mockery of modern feminism, that the love story sets a bad example for teenagers and that the acting in the films is as wooden as a 'Potter' broomstick. But I've never taken the time to see for myself.
The thing is, 'Twilight' is maddeningly intriguing. The fan base is so devoted and rabid that it makes me wonder why. My mother is a smart, college-educated lawyer -- not some gullible, love-starved housewife or tween I'd assumed this series was written for. If she likes 'Twilight,' the series must have merit, right?
Hence, this project was born. I, Gaby Dunn, once a complete 'Twilight' virgin, am going to watch the three films in the franchise so far -- 'Twilight,' 'New Moon' and 'Eclipse' -- in honor of the 'Eclipse' DVD release on December 4.
In this first piece, I'm going to tell you what I think I already know about 'Twilight.' Anything I know about the franchise I've only picked up from the cultural zeitgeist or the tabloids' obsession with the cast. But I've been challenged to put what I think I know about 'Twilight' out into the world and then see if my assumptions are right or wrong.
After I watch the first two films, I'll update this post with what I was mistaken about. In the meantime, all you die-hard Twi-hards can laugh at how little I know!
10 Things I Think I Know About 'Twilight'
1. There's a family of vampires.
They're all pretty and high-school aged. They somehow continue to repeat the same grade and never age but no one notices.
2. A new girl, Bella, moves to town.
She's also pretty, but she's really plain. Then, she meets Edward and they fall in love, but he's all, "We can't be together!" and she doesn't know why. He can also smell her blood. I think.
3. She figures out he's a vampire pretty easily.
And instead of running the other way, she is super into it.
4. Everyone's real pale.
I don't know if this is ever addressed, but in every still from the movies, it looks like the characters are being propped up 'Weekend at Bernie's'-style. Even the characters that aren't vampires are super-white. Is this like 'Lost'? Is the twist that they've all been dead the whole time?
5. There's a character named Jacob.
Oh my god, it is like 'Lost'! Only this Jacob is a werewolf or I guess, a shape-shifter if you want to get technical. He also loves Bella but then ends up being a pedophile. I'm not sure what plot point this is mocking, but I've heard people say it and I can't wait to find out.
6. Dakota Fanning is in it.
She's a bad guy with red eyes. Like a creepy 'Omen' child or something. I think maybe she leads the bad guys.
7. One redheaded actress got replaced with another.
Bryce Dallas Howard now plays some part that another girl used to play. I don't think it was an important role, though, since I don't know her character's name; but the switch was apparently controversial.
8. Edward does a lot of crazy stuff like take the engine out of Bella's car and make her jump off a cliff.
I think this is all in the name of love, for some insane reason.
9. Sex is a weird thing.
I think one or more characters were raped in the past. Bella really wants to sleep with Edward but he's afraid of hurting her. Like in every horror film ever, I'm guessing the slutty characters always die. I'm already running out of things I know.
10. Oh, wait! Can Bella read minds?
No, that's 'True Blood.' Um. But there's a part with mind-reading, right? Is it Edward that can read minds? Oh boy, looks like I know even less than I thought I did.
So, what do you think? Will watching 'Twilight' finally turn me into a believer?
Come back on Thursday to see what I thought of the first two movies, and check the blog on Friday to chat with me live while I watch 'Eclipse' for the first time.
Is my life about to change? Let me know in the comments or Tweet us @moviefone.
'Twilight' Update -- Thoughts After the First Movie
So, 'Twilight' wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I've definitely been more frustrated by any episode of 'Glee' than I was watching this movie. The cinematography and shots of the Pacific Northwest were great, and up until the 45 minute mark, it was a pretty good movie.
Then all of a sudden, Bella loses her mind; she goes alone into the woods with a vampire, grows some kind of weird death wish and loses her whole edge. In the end, she begs Edward to kill her because she loves him. Bella gets a lot of flack from 'Twilight' fans but she's actually kind of cool -- until Edward shows up, anyway. Then things went a little off the rails.
That aside, there were definitely some compelling parts in the movie, and 'Twilight' has some interesting plot points and characters, too -- among them Bella's awesome dad. Hopefully, when I watch 'New Moon' tonight, these mixed feelings will go away.
'Twilight' Update -- Thoughts After the Second Movie
So I'm still Team Jacob. Feel free to throw things at me. He's a little immature for Bella but Edward is too much. Actually, I'm Team Bella Dates Neither of Them.
Dear lord, 24 hours ago I had never seen a 'Twilight' movie and now I'm picking teams?