I vant to…but I von’t.

Scrape and I went to see Twilight tonight. I was surprised at how much I liked it.

Not that I didn’t like the book. I did, although I’m not as passionate about it as its true fans. It might not be a literary masterpiece, but it has an amazing atmosphere–a sense of place that lets you feel the grey days and rainy nights in Forks as if you were there, and makes the paranormal elements uniquely believable. And Bella and Edward are perfect symbols of the agony of adolescent romance, with all its forbidden yearnings and mumbled miscommunications.

I worry, though, that we’re teaching yet another generation of young women that love is tragic and painful, and that inappropriate men are the most delicious forbidden fruit. Adam’s apple has nothing on this guy.

It seems unhealthy to me, but it’s really not fair to expect a novelist to take responsibility for the responses of her readers. Meyer’s job is to entertain, not to enlighten, and no one can deny that she meets that goal. Besides, there’s nothing worse than a novel with a moral–especially when you’re a teenager. And maybe it’s not a bad thing to set our girls up to find something worth surviving in all the painful events and difficult decisions that seem inevitable when it comes to relationships.

Or are they inevitable? Maybe we seek out trouble, choosing Romeo or Edward over more appropriate partners because we’ve fallen in love with romantic tragedy.

It also annoys me that Twilight plays fast and loose with the vampire mythos and dispenses with any elements that don’t fit the needs of her plot. Crosses, garlic, silver–so what? Sunlight? No problem. I realize we’re not reading nonfiction here, but the vampire legend has its own reality, and I think part of the game is to work within the established parameters.

As far as moviemaking goes, parts of Twilight were terrific–mostly, for me, the long vistas of damp woods and magnificent waterfalls, since Robert Pattinson is a little young for me. I thought Kristen Stewart was an excellent Bella, too, but the makeup, especially on the rest of the Cullen family, was stunningly cheesy. Surely in this day of splendiferous special effects we can create screen vampires that don’t look as though they’re wearing half a dozen layers of cheap pancake makeup.

The acting is wooden in parts–sometimes in important parts–but the undercurrent of suppressed sexuality and unfulfilled longing between Bella and Edward is strong enough to survive their occasional descents into impassive recitation.

Altogether, it was better than I expected. Even Scrape liked it, and it’s definitely not his kind of movie–although he did enjoy the fight scene in the ballet studio.