So, the vampire love story has done exactly what diehard fans said it would, and has been a hit stateside. It looks set to repeat this success all over the world, and already the film adaptation of the second book in the series, has been announced. With merchandise galore available and fans chomping at the bit to take in the first screen adventure for Bella, Edward and the others, it can all seem a little odd to the outsider, namely me. Maybe I’m too old to really get it now, but it doesn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary. Mixing elements of the Lost Boys, The Breakfast Club, the books of Anne Rice and a little bit of Harry Potter, the world of Twilight seems to be an amalgam of things we’ve all seen and read before.
Then again, I could be missing the point entirely. From what I can gather, the main crux of the Twilight universe is the interaction of its characters, not its ideas or its set pieces. For this, I must commend Twilight, Stephanie Meyer herself, and indeed its audience. We have been trapped in an era of hollow blockbusters for long enough, and a genre film that is based more around its characters than its special effects is most welcome.
The overt romanticism of Twilight is the thing that doesn’t appeal to me. I know, I’m not in the target demographic for the film or the books (as voracious a reader as I am, I’m yet to try one of the novels), but I suppose what I’m trying to get across is a message to others like me: Don’t dismiss Twilight as twee and soulless unless you have given it a chance. In these post-Buffy times, the audience for character based paranormal adventures has struggled to find a new guiding light, with even huge scale productions like The Golden Compass missing the mark. Twilight may well fill the void left by the gang from Sunnydale, and that’s fine by me as Twilight comes from a different medium altogether. Where Buffy began life as a cheap 90s B-movie, Twilight is adapted from books that have mesmerized audiences all over the globe.
Hopefully the success of this first film will lead to other Urban fantasy projects going ahead. The genre is so rich that the potential can’t be ignored. Look to the books of Lauren K Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, or pretty much any of the other authors that have redefined the urban fantasy genre into a literary force to be reckoned with. There are so many stories out there to be explored and enjoyed by a wider audience, that this could be just the shot in the arm (or the bite to the jugular) that the movies need.