Breaking Dawn, Part I: The Twilight Marketing Machine Begins
Breaking Dawn Raking it in with Teeny Boppers
With just a few short days before Breaking Dawn, Part I hits the movie theaters, fans of Stephenie Meyers' newest segment of the Cullen family drama/horror show are already camping out in LA for the premiere. The turnout has thus far been impressive, with thousands reported to be lurking outside of the Nokia Theatre and hoping for glimpses of Edward, Bella, Jacob, or even Stephenie Meyer herself. This red carpet event cannot come soon enough as some fans have already spent several days and nights in a "tent city" located just outside of the Nokia. Most fans are in their teens to early twenties, but even seasoned 40- and 50-year olds are getting in on the Twilight "fever".
What might propel so many people to go and camp out in front of a theater in order to catch a glimpse of "teeny bopper" heroes? And amongst the younger crowd, why would tweens and teens think that a vampire flick series was "cool" and even "sexy"? We're talking about the undead here, after all.
Maybe it's not so much the characters as the content that they bring up. Maybe it's not the fact that we're talking about supernatural beings who thrive on human blood. Perhaps it's a matter of other themes, themes that have resounded with the younger crowd for generations. Recall how gaggles of screaming girls would surround the Beatles, and then the hair bands of the 80's, and now some dude named Bieber. It's the same idea, recycled....and it's making Meyer a lot of money. Here are some thoughts on how Meyer has tapped into the teeny bopper mindset- and come out a winner.
1. Complete freedom and power. Meyer's vampires are young, sexy, rich, mobile, and pretty much omnipotent. All the vampires have instant access to Porches, Ferraris, and the like at a moment's notice. The more seasoned vampires can kill someone (or at least throw them across the room) without so much as blinking an eye. Even Jacob and his pack of wolves, though mortal, are able to traverse wide terrains without worries about needing to eat, sleep, or answer to an adult's curfew. What angst-ridden teenager doesn't want that kind of freedom and power?
2. We're really mature- really. Edward appears 17- to the naked eye. He's only a high schooler...or is he? To unaware adults, he may appear to be only a kid. But deep down inside, every teenage girl whose heart throbs for Edward knows that he's a mature adult- that is, a roughly 120-year adult. Just like the other "kids" in this movie, who are all very mature adults. Indeed, it is the adults who are immature and naive; for example, take a look at Bella's dad who, despite all his police training, still can't figure out that his daughter is dating a vampire and that those murders in the woods are not because of bears.
3. Being misunderstood. No one knows what it's like to be misunderstood, and certainly not the adults that run Bella's life and caution her against Edward. No, she knows exactly what is going on, and she, along with her equally misunderstood boyfriend, will have the perfect life together. That is, if only those troubling adults would stop meddling. No one knows what it's like to be young, misunderstood and...
4. Being in love. What would teenage life be without some love angst? First love, unrequited love, love triangles, spurned love- it's all there for Twilight fans to soak up and marinate in, at least for the several hours that the series devotes to this subject matter. Who amongst us can't recall how we pined away our younger hours, hoping for a certain someone to call us, or ask us out on a date, or merely acknowledge our presence- and our absolute elation when that person finally did? Conversely, who amongst us can't recall how utterly worthless and defeated we felt when spurned for someone else, someone completely undeserving, someone who may even have hurt the object of our affection in the end? Twilight series installments provide a rich reminiscence of all these wonderful, hormone-filled days.
5. Having eternal youth and beauty. Although today's youth may not yet feel their mortal coil unwinding, they more than likely have witnessed some human tragedy. Perhaps it was one of their grandparents dying, or a friend being injured/killed in a car crash, or a teacher succumbing to cancer. Regardless, they identify with Bella's pleas for immortality and eternal youth from her stoic boyfriend. Inwardly, they cheer her on her quest for this ultimate of holy grails. And this is also why Team Jacob, though hotter than Team Edward, must inevitably die.
6. Being the hero. Edward rescues Bella from a car wreck, from being killed by other vampires, from the clutches of a werewolf, and even from the dangers of Edward Cullen himself. Later on, he saves Bella from an evil fetus set on devouring her. Most importantly, Edward saves Bella from the utter boredom of everyday life that would've awaited her had she never met this knight in shining armor. As a newly minted wife and vampire, Bella no longer has to suffer the drudgery of cleaning her room, studying for SATs, or preparing for college life. No, from now on, she will travel the world and learn of it by sitting in flower-filled pastures, calling out for her true love, and obsessing about evil vampires.