Saturday, November 19, 2011

In Defense of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn"

The new Twilight film is in theaters now. I have not seen it yet. Chances are very good I will never see it. I haven't seen the other films in the series. I haven't read any of the Twilight books, either. I suppose that makes me a normal 30-year-old man.

From what I understand, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 isn't a cinematic masterpiece. It has received a 27-percent approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com. Apparently, it's "slow" and "joyless." So then, Bella and Edward's marriage is no different than most real-life marriages.

I haven't seen the film, and I don't care enough about it to read the reviews, but I can only speculate that one reason why it hasn't been well-received is that it has an unnecessarily long title. Couldn't they have simply called it Breaking Dawn? Would that have been too confusing for the teen girls? Would they have not realized it was a Twilight sequel? It would've made more sense than the titles of the Rambo films. I mean, the fourth film in that series is called Rambo. Not Rambo IV. Rambo. What the first movie (First Blood) should have been called.

Better yet, the Twilight producers should've titled the films sequentially, so that Breaking Dawn would be Twilight IV. But Roman numerals are used much more sporadically than in the past. Off the top of my head, they are currently used only to count Super Bowls, WrestleManias, Star Wars re-releases, and George Foreman's kids.

Let me state, for the record, that I do NOT hate Twilight. The series has enough people mocking it as it is. I can't evaluate a film series I've never watched. I'm almost positive I'd hate it, but I'd have to watch it before I could confirm I hate it.

Another reason why I can't dismiss Twilight out of hand: I can relate to teens' fascination with vampires. I also was drawn to vampires throughout my youth. I'm sure you were, too.

It's a fallacy that Twilight started a vampire trend that gave us True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and other vampire-related TV series and movies. There were plenty of vampires in the '80s and '90s, too. They weren't necessarily involved in love triangles or flying to new moons or eclipsing or breaking dawns, but they were there.

I'm not going to list them all, but I will share with you the ones that I found the most intriguing as I grew up:

Sesame Street's Count von Count (ages 3-4): I did not know this until I looked up The Count on Wikipedia, but he was inspired by Bela Lugosi's interpretation of Dracula. And Kristen Stewart's Twilight character is named Bella. What could this mean? Could there be a connection between The Count and Bella? Hmmmm...probably not. I thought I had something there, but I don't.

The Count's reaction to Breaking Dawn would probably be limited to, "Breaking Dawn is the one, two, three, fourth Twilight film...BLAH!"

Count Chocula cereal (ages 6-7): You may recall Count Chocula once had a General Mills werewolf colleague named Fruit Brute. So in a way, General Mills was way ahead of the Twilight curve. The brand's fatal flaw: Count Chocula and Fruit Brute did not have a female character to fight over. (I can't think of another industry in which females face more of an uphill battle in achieving equal employment than the cereal box industry. Name me one female cereal cartoon character. One.) I don't believe Fruity Yummy Mummy's gender was ever specified, so let's assume for the sake of this discussion that a) Fruity Yummy Mummy was a woman and b) all three characters were marketed at the same time (they weren't). In which case I'm on Team Chocula.

The Munsters Today (ages 7-10): Not The Munsters, the classic '60s sitcom. I'm referring to the late '80s spin-off. My recollection of the show is hazy, but I don't believe there are any parallels that can be drawn to Twilight. But that could change with the Munsters remake NBC is developing. I am confident that NBC will do this remake justice, because they have a solid recent track record of reviving old series. (Knight Rider, The Bionic Woman, Prime Suspect, um, um...let's move on.)

Small Wonder (ages 7-9): Absolutely no comparisons to Twilight can be made here. But Vicki would fit right in with the Twilight stars. She delivered her lines just as well as they do. No, no, I don't mean that. Like I said, I haven't seen the films. OK, fine, I admit it...I just wanted to work in a Small Wonder reference.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (age 12): The movie, not the TV show. I remember not liking it at the time, but in retrospect it had a great cast: two Beverly Hills, 90210 cast members (Luke Perry and Hilary Swank), Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee-Wee Herman) and a future Dancing with the Stars contestant (David Arquette). And, much like Twilight, it had a lead female actress with the initials K.S.: Kristy Swanson.

My Smashing Pumpkins "The World Is A Vampire" T-shirt (age 16): I wish I could find a reliable link to an image of this shirt, but I can't. It was a black T-shirt with a cartoon, silver, vampire-like face (imagine the Nintendo character Kirby after a trip to Hot Topic) imprinted with the words "The World Is a Vampire," a lyric from the Smashing Pumpkins song "Bullet with Butterfly Wings." I wore that shirt a lot, but it didn't help me attract any Bella types.

So while I'm not a Twilight fan, I'm not anti-vampire. I'm on Team Vampire. And there's nothing "joyless" about that.

Unless you watch Breaking Dawn.