Though it has been years since the word "Twilight" inspired any sort of excitement within me, my friend and I attended the ten o'clock screening of the latest film on Thursday night, for the sake of tradition. As a retired "Twilight" fan, I had to see the close of the series, whether it be a triumph or a total disaster. After watching the trailer and given my experience watching "Breaking Dawn: Part 1," I was betting on disaster. I kept saying to my friends, remember when we actually liked this series? It's so sad it has to end on such a terrible note.
When I sat down to finally put "Twilight" to rest though, I was overwhelmingly submerged by a wave of nostalgia. In addition to the fact that this was by far the best film of the franchise in terms of excitement, acting, and story line (to outsiders, this means not half-bad), it wrapped up the series perfectly for the long devoted fans and made me an utter wreck. I was easily brought back to a long and impactful period of my life that I had somehow forgotten. As a senior, middle school still seems like yesterday. But on Thursday, I received a brash reality check on how much the lives of my friends and I have permanently changed and how much of my life has flashed by since my friends and I first picked up the book.
Seventh and eighth grade were spent at a small alternative school of 60 students, where our bored minds developed obsessions easily. As thirteen year olds with too much time on our hands, my friends and I would get together for only events surrounding "Twilight" like midnight screenings, live local interviews in Toronto, DVD releases, and marathons. More than that, we could get together to just talk and talk "Twilight." Do we like Kristen Stewart as Bella? Have you seen the new clip yet? Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?
"That obviously changes from the movie to the book," we would always respond. We once spent an entire lunch period fawning over a cover girl spread of the male cast. Now, my lunches consist of me running from meeting to meeting attempting to get work done, and, if I have time, maybe eating. A whole birthday party was once spent going through the 2008 Vanity Fair editorial of the cast and then later the making of the movie book I bought as a gift for the birthday girl.
Though I did not believe this till now, the "Twilight" saga represents a transitional point in my life, during which "Harry Potter" and "The Hunger Games" had less importance because my friends and I found those series on our own, separate from our "Twilight" craze. For "Twilight," we would all read the latest book over a weekend so we could discuss it on Monday. If anyone had asked me to do the same thing in grade 10 with "The Hunger Games," I would have yelled, "Do you understand how much work I have to do?!" and found my own time.
Somewhere during high school I lost the energy to be a fully devoted "Twilight" fan, and I slowly lost interest in the films as well. On Thursday, though, I was reminded that I would always be a loving fan, particularly when a tasteful heartrending montage was placed perfectly near the end, and the ending credits were a tribute to everyone who ever worked on the beloved series. I felt regretful for not cherishing the series more during high school and for letting this nostalgic pain come out of nowhere. As an emotional person, I could have prepared myself for a long-winded tearful goodbye, but instead it hit me hard and suddenly. One might usually associate nostalgia with a warm fuzzy feeling but right now it is a heavy depression. I was thirteen when I saw the first "Twilight" film. Now I'm the age of Kristen Stewart when she filmed it. Trying to revel in the emotional experience of it all, I listen to the soundtrack. It only makes it worse knowing that it was four years ago I first heard Bella's Lullaby. Soon my fellow "Twilight" devotee friends and I will be splitting up across the country or even the continent.
In previous years, a "Twilight" marathon with my girlfriends could have fixed this bad case of nostalgia, however in grade 12, if I can assemble more than three of my friends in the same room for more than two hours it's a miracle. Stress from university applications, leading extra-curriculars, scholarships applications and good old traumatic homework has made the days where we could hang out "just because" long gone.
What worsens the blow even more though is that "Breaking Dawn: Part 2" is by far the most thrilling, emotionally affecting, and beautifully acted film of the whole series. Like always, "Twilight" delivered, to only it's devoted fans. Like the last "Harry Potter" films, there are minimal lines explaining their world and the situations, because you just have to know it to go see it. Film critics always remark the "Twilight" films will not win any converts, but that is not what they are intended for. They repay their devoted fans with movies crafted just for them, and there are certainly enough people who are more than satisfied when they exit the theatre.
The element that made this experience different from the rest was Kristen Stewart, who for the first time became the Bella I read four years ago. She easily mesmerized us from beginning to end, and was not doubted for a second as young mother. Therefore the romance with she and Edward was more believable, sweeter, and most importantly less awkward. The entire cast has never been so captivating though, especially with new additions like "Pushing Daisies"' Lee Pace, and the very memorable newcomer Casey LaBow as one of the Cullen's Alaskan cousins. Bill Condon finally gives "Twilight" the excitement the books depict with a high intensity motion picture complimented by screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg's clever ending that -- of all five films -- will have the audience in a screaming mind f***. A sixty-year-old man paid to write a review of this won't see it the way we would, so I shall say to all my fellow "Twilight" fans: No matter what the rating is on rotten tomatoes, we got our perfect ending. Let's celebrate. (Or in my case, listen to the soundtrack and feel sorry for myself.)
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