Teen Monsters in Heat

Hormones ran feverishly high at the Twilight: New Moon premiere. Then the movie started.

An hour before showtime, and it’s already a hopping tweenybopper freak scene. The new Twilight movie, New Moon, is playing on 10 screens at the AMC 20 downtown, midnight of opening day, and every theater is sold out. The cineplex is crawling with so many women and girls that I personally witnessed at least a dozen sneaking into and out of the men’s restroom to avoid the serpentine queue extending past the threshold of the nearby ladies’ room.

The story of the new Twilight film revolves around the love triangle formed between attractive but awkward high school girl Bella, attractive but pasty young vampire Edward, and attractive but hot-headed werewolf Jacob.

But why all the fuss? Judging by Thursday night’s display, most of the Twilight franchise’s hype revolves around the hotness of its main characters. Their godlike physical perfection overshadows the fact that Twilight’s heroine is a cripplingly co-dependent, self-destructive girl who is completely desperate to be loved by boys who don’t have a whole lot going for them other than being a totally hot vampire or werewolf.

Talking with a few people before the film began didn’t add much nuance to the hysteria. Many girls had made “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” T-shirts with Sharpies and puff paint, signaling allegiance to the favored hottie. Patty Duncan, whose shirt proclaimed her as a member of “Team Jacob,” summed up the conflict between the two opposing love interests: “You see, Edward is a hopeless romantic. And Jacob is more of a bro.”

The mothers in attendance seemed just as excited as their teenage daughters. Tracy Trejos, who came with her three daughters, likes the series because it utilizes the rich mythology of vampire lore without being creepy. She agrees with her daughters in thinking that Jacob is the better choice for Bella, “besides being a werewolf.”

Another mother, Heidi Rudy, suggests that Edward has the edge because he “gets to live forever.”

Inside the theater, as each trailer faded to black, an audible tide of anticipation would break against a wall of disappointment as the next preview began. Finally, when the words “New Moon” appeared onscreen, the crowd erupted in a shrill cheer that swelled and swelled before fading into quiet, rapt attention.

This silence broke only for collective catcalls at initial and/or shirtless appearances of Edward or Jacob and for howling shrieks at even the slightest hint of romantic interaction. Near the middle of the film, when Bella and Jacob finally exchange their first hug, one woman let forth a groan of ecstasy that I heard half a theater away.

This is a film that definitely knows its audience. Scenes with Edward or Jacob frequently accentuated their physical attributes: wind fl owing through Edward’s Jason Priestley hair and flitting his stylish suit jacket around his skinny physique; Jacob, running around bare-chested, glistening with beads of sweat from doing things that buff, brooding werewolves do.

Judging from how enthusiastically well-received last Thursday’s opening was, New Moon will satisfy die-hard fans of the Twilight book and film series, as well as die-hard fans of hot young men.