It was, without a doubt, the strangest movie preview I've been to. Sure, there were lines of fans for Clone Wars, and The Dark Knight has people already proclaiming it to be the greatest movie ever made before the lights had gone down, but Twilight's lines were full of teenage girls dressed for prom bitching about having to give up their cellphones before they went into the theater because it meant that they couldn't text each other about how awesome the movie was. And that was nothing compared with what lay in store once I went inside.You could easily tell those who were there to review the movie from the fans. For one thing, we were about twenty years older (at least) than everyone else, and for another, we stayed quiet throughout the entire screening. Which was more than could be said about the fans, who had apparently just been released from various vows of silence before they came into the theater. There was just so much screaming. And not for the things you'd expect there to be screaming about. For example, the prizes in the trivia contest. Yes, there was a trivia contest before the showing (And as the answers were screamed out, two guys in the row behind me, uninterested boyfriends who'd been dragged there by their excited other halves, complained, "Hey! This is ruining the movie for us!"), and the announcement of the prizes went something like this: "We have Edward key chains!" [Screams] "And this t-shirt has the Cullen family crest!" [Louder screams] What would happen was that a question would be asked, and then everyone would gasp and/or scream, and hands would fly into the air, hoping to be the person chosen to answer. It was like a remarkably excitable class in school, where girls laid into each other if they got the answer wrong: "Why didn't you know that? You're so lame," as one fan said to her friend after she'd been unable to spell the name of Jacob's tribe properly (She was missing a "u," I think). The trivia contest wasn't the only pre-show entertainment; there was also a costume contest to choose a prom queen and prom king - or, because there was only one boy who was in costume (and you could tell that the poor, pre-pubescent kid had been dressed by some fan-crazy mother), something else: "We're gonna have two winners, a prom queen and... another prom queen, I guess," as the announcement went out (Don't worry, the boy got the pity vote, and won). The level of specificity in some of the costumes - the ones where fans hadn't just worn a dress and claimed to be extras in the prom scene, that is - was kind of stunning: "I'm Bella with the scar and the bracelet from the third book!" one girl excitedly squealed into the microphone. Of course you are, dear. Eventually, the movie started. With more screaming, and then, surprisingly counter-screaming. This what would happen: The credits would start up. There would be screaming, and then someone would shout "Shut up! No screaming during the movie!" Then the name of the movie would come onscreen, with more screaming, and then more shouting: "I want to be able to hear what they're saying!" It went on for the entire film; Edward comes onscreen - screaming, shouting. Edward and Bella have a moment - screaming, shouting. By the time that Edward and Bella kissed, there was so much screaming and shouting that I wouldn't have been surprised if a fight had broken out, West Side Story-style, with teenage girls jumping over seats in a co-ordinated dance movement, clicking their fingers and seeming like bad news. Weirdly enough, though, the Twilight fans that filled the preview screening gave me hope for the future of fandom. I'm not just talking about their insane devotion to what seems an entirely undeserving franchise - although we've fall been there; remind me to tell you about my love for DC Comics' appalling Millennium sometime - but the fact that such devotion came with a full awareness of which parts of the movie deserved to be laughed at, and which parts were worth making a lot of noise about. We've made fun of the fan frenzy for Twilight, and - well, it kind of deserves it, but it's also kind of awesome that there's such enthusiasm for something like this, you know? I just can't wait for when there's a similar amount of enthusiasm for something good. Flickr Image by Twilight Twit.
My wife (has not read books) took my daughter to see this on the opening day and there was no beatlemania type fan screaming as described. Everybody just enjoyed and watched the movie.
I don't think there is any story here, except maybe the excessive effort that seems to be put forth to characterize this as "not as good as the hype" or a "silly pre-teen movie" or however you want to call it. Get over it already.