Written By: Matilda Davidson
Nearly four years ago in the winter of grade eight, my friends and I lined up at nine in the morning outside Scotiabank Theatre in sub-zero weather for the first screening of Twilight. We huddled together waiting for the theatre to open its doors, switching out every ten minutes to run into the Chapters next door and buy Starbucks hot chocolates. While we waited, slowly succumbing to hypothermia like the true Twihards (or martyrs) we were, we tittered with excitement at the prospect of what we would soon be watching—a day and a half before the rest of the city. The film could have been Oscar-worthy or a total flop, but I’m convinced that either way I would have ended up crying about Edward Cullen being a fictional character. In retrospect, I want to smack my thirteen-year-old self over the head for being so tasteless.
It was an act of fanfare that puzzles me to this day. However, a few weeks ago when I was offered a pair of tickets to the pre-screening of Breaking Dawn Part II, I accepted eagerly and huffed it way out to Yorkdale cinema on a Monday night to line up for a movie I had every reason to believe would be utter garbage.
Anyone who has fallen victim to the madness that is the Twilight series will agree that while the books made us cry, the movies made us laugh like only an A-list cast of celebrities deadpanning their way through a five-film contract can. Believe me, it’s no coincidence that the first premiere Kristen Stewart has cracked a smile at was that of the final film.
So is it the cheap laughs that brought thousands of people to the cinemas on opening night? Or the closure provided by watching the last film of a series? After having bookended the Twilight Saga with pre-screening events, I think I can understand why people are still attending these films.
Breaking Dawn Part II actually had a lot going for it at the 90-minute mark. It wasn’t taking itself too seriously, it had punch lines written into the script, and the jokes were actually funny! But the strange thing about all this was the way the laughs were taking the piss out of the movie itself. It was as though the filmmakers had finally gaged the fact that they’d failed to make a likeable series that would attract anyone other than middle-schoolers and couples on date night. With that in mind, they’d set out to make the worst movie possible.
So why is it that when the film tries to be funny we actually begin to feel compassion for the characters? Perhaps it’s because we can imagine Kristen and Taylor and Rob in the final stretch like a bunch of kids graduating from their hick-town high school.
Or perhaps it’s that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II type nostalgia (obviously on a smaller scale) that everyone feels remembering the last book in a beloved series.
I suppose that the Twilight era, for many girls (or maybe just me), was a time of heartache at the realization that vampires didn’t exist and no teenaged boy would ever measure up to Edward. Back in a time when seventeen-years-old seemed like the promised land and the mere thought of waiting that three or four years was enough to make you catatonic.
But we all grew out of that eventually. And now, at seventeen, watching the Twilight series tank and realizing that even Kristen Stewart, who got to be the Bella to Rob Pattinson’s Edward, hates her job, I’ve found a certain resolve about the whole thing.
So perhaps that’s why people have stuck it out this long. To see the series end and remind us that real life may not have vampires and werewolves and subliminal messages about abstinence, pregnancy and the inevitable threat of death that follows it, but that real life is, after all, better than the movies. Especially better than the movies that brainwash us to think otherwise.