Idol Chatter

eclipse_poster.jpgI love fictional vampires, especially the ones that show signs of more substance than just the bite-and-kill instinct. First, there’s my well-documented love for all things Buffy, plus I have read every Anne Rice book, and even saw that awful “Queen of the Damned” film. But there’s something about this Twilight series – from the books to the movies, including the new trailer for Eclipse released yesterday – that is giving me indigestion.
The dialogue in the books is so unrealistic that it makes me want to gouge out my eyes. Bella is ridiculous: she’s dreary, morose, nonsocial – practically a vampire already. When she moves to a new town, instead of being ostracized as the new kid, she ostracizes herself, and nonetheless has all these guys after her. Edward’s overdramatic, overproducted (that hair, seriously?), and loves her because of her smell and because he can’t read her thoughts. (OK, so I appreciate that mystery is an attractor, but why they’re drawn to each other I’m not really sure.) Jacob loves her because she’s always been the girl next door from when he was a kid- but that attraction is amped up now and made him hungry like the wolf because now she loves someone else and because Native American wolves made a pact with the Cold Ones to stay off their turf. In other words: Jets vs. Sharks plus mopey love story minus song and dance numbers.
I saw “Twilight” and “New Moon” on the same night with a friend who loves the books and the movies, and I wanted so badly to catch her enthusiasm. (I do believe that song and dance numbers might have helped.) I thought the movies were ok, and then started reading “Twilight” – I powered through on an LA-NY flight and couldn’t wait to put it down. But I wanted to find out what happened next, so I skipped “New Moon” and started reading “Eclipse.” Here’s my summary of the plots:
“Twilight” = Bella and Edward are in love. Jacob likes Bella too.
“New Moon” = Bella and Edward are in love, Bella wants to become a vampire; Jacob loves Bella too. Jacob is a wolf and has great abs.
“Eclipse” = Bella and Edward are in love; Bella wants to become a vampire. Jacob loves Bella too. Jacob is a wolf and has great abs. There will be a great battle.

I want to feel what everyone else seems to feel when they read these characters and their dialogue, but so far, it eludes me. The high school characters don’t seem real to me, certainly not the way Buffy’s Scooby Gang did. The vampires/werewolves don’t seem real to me. The love story doesn’t inspire me, or make me want to root for the central couple and hope that those two crazy kids can work it out. It’s like the curse of the DaVinci Code – what America loves, I can barely tolerate.
The “Eclipse” trailer’s well-shot, but in this vampire vs. werewolves universe, I keep waiting for Buffy-style wisecracks, and for Spike and Angel to show up to provide a much-needed soul alongside Edward’s pompadour and Jacob’s (admittedly impressive) six-pack. I’m going to get through this book because I don’t like to abandon things. And I’ll probably see the film eventually, because I try to be on top of pop culture. But seriously – what am I missing?

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