What Women Want and How Twilight Answers Part of That Question

There is an excellent article up on The Huffington Post about Twilight in the place of pop culture and how it not only gives women an escapist fantasy that they know is escapist fantasy, but how Hollywood can’t figure out what women want. Here are some of the highlights, but the entire article is well worth the read.

On fantasy

Men get a bye when it comes to their fantasy life – no matter how disturbing or buffoonish – but women are expected to be the grown-ups, even though it’s not much fun being the designated driver. In a strange way, we take female fantasies too seriously and not seriously enough. Our movie fantasies are supposed to be tame and measured, lest they cause alarm. You rarely hear people worrying about protecting society from James Bond’s or Batman’s exploits, but when something lowbrow for women comes along, like the blockbuster Twilight series, the hailstorm of scorn and anxiety rains down. It’s hard to be both insipid and harmful, yet that’s often the standard rap about chick flicks. But if you can ignore the din of derision, a seemingly lightweight adventure like Twilight offers some interesting clues about the female inner world.

On unplanned motherhood

…But Breaking Dawn – a movie helmed by an Oscar-winning team — captures the fear, longing, and emotional isolation of motherhood more than almost any movie I can recall. We see this first in the immediate discovery of the pregnancy as Edward, who refers to the embryo as a “thing,” retreats into a whirlwind of manic energy, deflecting his anxiety by packing and arranging flights home, while his young bride stands quietly absorbing the gravity of her situation. In the taxi to the airport, the formerly enraptured couple sits apart in frozen silence. Like voyeurs, we watch the unfolding of an age-old truth: in an unplanned pregnancy story, there can be only one protagonist.

On the dangers and fears of giving birth

Breaking Dawn also engages seriously with the idea that childbearing can be a scary and very bloody business. It’s easy to forget that more than 500,000 women worldwide still die every year in childbirth, and even that staggering number doesn’t begin to capture the many millions more who come close to death or who are left with disabling physical injuries. Not to mention the agony of pregnancy loss, neonatal death, birth anomalies, and other undesired outcomes. Women know this, of course, the way generations of men have known battle stories. War movies, of varying degrees of realism and quality, have always provided a window into men’s hopes and fears.

I mention maternal mortality because it’s not only women’s dreamy fantasies that are absent in mainstream movies. Women’s fears are missing, too. It says something deeply unflattering about the state of American culture that it takes a teenage vampire movie to capture women’s worries, imagined and real, about reproduction and motherhood. For all its freakish implausibility, critics who panned the nauseating birth scene in Breaking Dawn were missing the point.

Check out the rest on the Huffington Post. It part on of the three part series. We are looking forward to part 2 on Wednesday.

Twilight and Kristen Stewart Nominated for Kid’s Choice Award

The Kid’s Choice Awards are coming up on March 31 and there are two categories Twilight fans should have their eyes on .  First up, Kristen Stewart is nominated with Emma Watson, Amy Adams, and Sofia Vergaga for favorite movie actress.  Also the Twilight Saga as a whole is up against three other sagas for best book.  The competition includes Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter.

EDIT: Thanks to Emily for the heads up.  I missed that Taylor Lautner was also nominated in the Buttkicker category.  He’s up again Jessica Alba, Kelly Kelly, and Tom Cruise.

Let us know how you feel about the nominations… or lack of nomination for Robert… by leaving us a comment.

Why Hating on Twilight Is Getting Old

The Twilight News Site has a great editorial up on why hating on Twilight is just getting to be old, especially in light of it’s box office success. It has to have some appeal beyond the critics’ standard “well it’s great for 12-year-old girls” or it wouldn’t be dong this well. Let’s face it the Princess Diaries is aimed at 12-year-old girls and it didn’t do this well!

Thus, it’s quite difficult to see that all the hating has little, if any, objectively source based in reality. It seems more a matter of personal one-upmanship with all these critics trying to get on board the hate-wagon. Or, as Time magazine said, “Critics understand that no amount of bad press will be able to suck the blood out of a blockbuster franchise like Twilight. But that didn’t stop them from trying.”

I don’t know, but criticism based on pleasing your cynical friends, rather than a careful argument based on factual and experienced analysis, seems to be, um, self-indulgent, inappropriately unprofessional, and a disservice to the readers they claim to serve.

Check out more on The Twilight News Site.

Fans New and Old Where Do The Twilight Books Rank

We thought we’d do a little poll today. Something we have noticed as we are one the road at conventions and premieres is that there seems to be a difference in book preference depending upon when you entered the fandom. Folks who had to wait a year for each book’s release tend to go one way vs. folks who didn’t have to wait and read all four books straight through (usually after the first movie came out) tend to pick different books. We’ve also seen some shifted opinion on books. So vote away, and if the polls don’t cover what best represents your experience chime in in the comments.

Latest Totals: Harry Potter Will Not Overtake New Moon, Record Will Stand

According to Reuters:

“Though its box office haul will be truly magical, it is unlikely that the bespectacled boy wizard will beat the “Twilight” kids. Still, the final “Harry Potter” film is on track to be the No. 2 advance ticket seller of all time behind “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.”

“A senior IMAX executive told TheWrap that Potter pre-sales were “huge.” The theater company reports that all of their midnight screenings are sold out, with only a few seats still available for its 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. shows.

That said, it does not look like “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” will unseat “New Moon” as the biggest pre-seller. When the “Twilight” sequel opened in November 2009, it had the box office field more or less to itself, whereas “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” will have to compete with tentpole fare such as “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” to claim its crown.

The Harry Potter finale is performing better in its midnight and early screenings, but “New Moon” had stronger Saturday and Sunday pre-sales, according to Fandango.”

See more on Reuters

Keep in mind that these totals are only taking into account pre-sales, not people who will just walk up to the box office.  No one will know for sure until Monday at around 4:00pm when the official tally comes out.

Summit Executives, Melissa Rosenberg, and Chris Weitz Give Credit To Harry Potter Films

Erik Feig(a Summit Executive), Melissa Rosenberg (Twilight Saga screenwriter) and Chris Weitz (the director of The Golden Compass, New Moon and A Better Life) have cited the Harry Potter films as industry inspirations and changers. In the above photo, taken at the A Better Life premiere, Erik Feig is standing to Chris Weitz’s immediate left:

Erik Feig:

‘”There was a sea change with Harry Potter,” says Erik Feig, president of worldwide production at Summit Entertainment, which has made the Twilight movies. “The story has a younger protagonist, but the book series and the movies are greatly enjoyed by older people, too. I devoured the first book and gave it to every grown-up I knew. We saw the same thing with Twilight. We did not ghetto-ize it as a young-adult movie. Nor did they with Harry Potter. They drew all audiences. It was an inspiration to us.”

Chris Weitz:

“The impact of the Potter series has been tremendous in that it has essentially become the idea of a modern franchise,” says director Chris Weitz (Twilight: New Moon; The Golden Compass). “They latched onto something that has its own sequels built in. Now everyone is looking for a literary property that extends enough for them to keep on building.

“It’s led to this speculative bubble in mystical young-adult fiction. Twilight found its own way to hit upon the hunger for the supernatural and a particular time of life. But if you look at the bookshelves now, half of what is coming out in (young-adult) fiction is about a werewolf or a vampire or angels or demons. The other half is about magic and wizardry.”

Melissa Rosenberg:

“The Harry Potter filmmakers and screenwriter Steve Kloves really respected the fans,” says Melissa Rosenberg, who has written the screenplay for each Twilight movie. “When you’re adapting a book series and you have that kind of fan base, you really have to deliver. You can’t just use the books as a jumping-off basis for another story. When I see a Harry Potter movie, I forget what is missing. Because Kloves is taking me and those kids on the same emotional journey as the book does.”

This is really a not to be missed article. Check it out on USA Today.


E! Twilight or Harry Potter Character Match UP

E! has matched up Harry Potter and Twilight characters in the following pairings:

Harry and Edward
Hermione and Bella
Ron and Jacob
Ginny and Alice
Dumbledore and Carlisle
Voldermort and Victoria
Neville and Eric

Here’s the way they described the Ron and Jacob match up:

Best Bud: Team Jacob or Team Ron?

Jacob Black: Taylor Lautner’s buff shape-shifter is as loyal as any good dog werewolf. He doesn’t let his feelings for his dear friend Bella—or more importantly, her feelings for Edward—get in the way when it comes time to save her life.

Ron Weasley: While Rupert Grint’s wizard may at first seem like your typical sidekick, he’s no coward. He overcomes many of his fears while battling crazy creatures and Death Eaters alongside his best mate Harry. (Plus, he gets the girl!)

Head over to E! and vote for your favorite.

EXTRA Twilight vs True Blood Poll

Go support Twilight over at EXTRA’s Twilight vs. True Blood poll.

Twilight and the Enduring Draw of YA Fiction

The Atlantic has just launched a four-part series on the rise of YA fiction over the last decade. In today’s installment they talk about the impact of Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Ender’s Game on the genre.

“In a world of niche marketing, mass entertainment phenomena are rarer and rarer. But in the last decade, fans of all ages have flocked repeatedly to series aimed at young adults. Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy may be popular, but Lisbeth Salander can’t hold a candle to Harry Potter: The traumatized Scandanavian hacker’s sold 27 million novels to the British boy wizard’s 400 million. Bella Swan, the moody teen who takes up with a vampire, has propelled Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series to 116 million book sales. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy hasn’t quite broken into that upper echelon, but the movie adaptation has attracted such buzz that it’s finally propelled forward a long-stalled film version of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 YA science-fiction classic Ender’s Game. Marie Lu’s novel Legend hasn’t even been published yet, but the producers behind the Twilight movie adaptations are already shepherding it towards the big screen.”

See more on The Atlantic.

Hunger Games and Twilight on Annual Banned Book List

According to the AP:

” Suzanne Collins didn’t expect everyone to approve of “The Hunger Games.”

“I’ve read in passing that people were concerned about the level of violence in the books,” Collins said of her dystopian trilogy that’s sold more than a million copies. “That’s not unreasonable. They are violent. It’s a war trilogy.”

In what’s become a virtual rite of passage for young adult sensations, a Collins novel has made its first appearance on the American Library Association’s annual top 10 list of books most criticized in their communities. “The Hunger Games,” the title work of Collins’ series about young people forced to hunt and kill each other on live television, has been cited for violence and sexual content. In recent years, J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books and Stephenie Meyer’s vampire novels also have been on the association’s list.

“Hunger Games” ranked No. 5 this year and was joined Monday by Meyer’s “Twilight” (No. 10), which debuted on the list last year, and Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” winner in 2007 of the National Book Award for young people’s literature. Criticisms of Alexie’s novel include language, racism and sexual content.”

See more on the AP

Also visit the ALA site to see the history of book challenges

To quote our favorite slogan of the ALA, “Celebrate freedom: read a banned book!”