Now That the Movie “Twilight” is Released…

Last night (Thursday) I was at a movie screening for the new Disney film Bolt (a great film by the way). On the way out of the screening, the sidewalks around the theatre looked like the front of a Barnes and Noble bookstore the night before the last Harry Potter release. Hundreds of teenagers huddled in blankets (yeah, it’s actually cold here in Sacramento in November) waiting for the doors to open to the highly anticipated Twilight.

The particular Regal Theatre I was at was showing three midnight showings of the film, showings that have been sold out for quite a while.

Don’t be mislead in any way- this film is quite the pop culture phenomenon.

A lot of parents are asking me, “Should I let my kids see this film?” A question I have yet to answer with just a “yes” or “no.” instead, I share my concerns (like in our Youth Culture Window article and my blog about it) and then leave them with, “it’s your call.”

I had two people screaning the movie for our ministry so we could pass our “two cents” on to you. The first was Lynda, a youth worker who volunteers with a small group of girls at her church. Her girls were all going to see the film, so she figured that she might as well join them so they could talk about it. She has read all the books and emailed me her educated two cents at 2:54 AM last night:

Ok… lets just say that normally when I read a book, then watch the movie version, I am very disappointed.  Not the case with “Twilight.”  I thought they did a good job of condensing it down.  There were parts that were added to keep the flow going, but it was done well, I thought.  I felt like I was watching cliff notes for the book.  (Hope that makes sense…)
 
 About the sensuality….  the scene where Edward has Bella tell him that he is a vampire… they talk and end up lying shoulder to shoulder, she is breathing heavy…. (the laying shoulder to shoulder wasn’t the sensual part, it was the looking at each other & her just being “breathy”…) the anticipation, I guess, of what is to come of this relationship.
 
The “bedroom” scene : she is in bed talking to her mom when Edward shows up.  He wants to kiss her, but not sure he can control himself he tries to lightly kiss her, she leans up into him for a more active kiss (that’s when we see her in her underwear), then he ends up pushing her away.  It seemed like it was less than a minute, you saw her in her underwear for like 20 secs….  out of place yes, super sensual, no.  I thought the other scene was more sensual.  They do end up laying next to each other, talking, she eventually falls asleep, and cuddles up next to him.

Todd, our movie review guy shares his two cents in his review of the film here on our movie review page. He really enjoyed the film and gave it a score of “Theatre Worthy.” I love his “two cents” to parents about whether kids should see it. Here’s just a snippet:

I really only found one concern: the sensuality. A very vulnerable young girl is sneaking around with a guy, lying on her bed in her underwear with him, and kissing him. The snuggling stops right there- so you decide if that’s a good message or not. (Is it good that the film has no sex? Or does the film mislead audiences that snuggling in your undies is harmless? Kids are hearing a lot of mixed messages right now. Trojan’s campaign seems to hint that sex is unavoidable and protection is the only answer. Who is right? …or are both messages misleading?) Regardless, these are discussions that you want to have with your kids.

Good stuff! 

INSERT: The film did record numbers in it’s opening weekend, bringing in over $70 million.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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9 Responses to Now That the Movie “Twilight” is Released…

  1. Jason says:

    Jonathan, the fact that we know where this ends up, from reading the books, means we should encourage it to stop now. We can’t say movie one is ok, but you really don’t want to see movie 3. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “…but, my child is reading and she doesn’t like to read.” The question is still, does what the child is reading glorify God? This is not a cornflakes or captain crunch decision. Reading a book or watching a movie is a lot more involved than that, and I would love to see someone give a resounding “NO” to parents, rather than “it’s not that bad.” If we know where to books end up, can’t we say that it’s not a good idea to be starting on this path.

  2. Uthguymike says:

    I went to see this b/c my teen was going. She is reading the final book in the series now. while I have not read the books (just perused) I thought the movie was totally boring…like watching a bad remake of a romeo & juliet remake…WITH VAMPIRES!!! Come on!!! I have seen this as ‘classic’ different worlds genre…
    BUT as a parent I have been active in asking questions about the books, and now the movie. fellow parents (and youth leaders) you better engange your teenage daughters/girls on this issue. Use this as a good time to discuss, body image, popularity, and sensuality (OH MY!) Engage peeps, dont run ’cause I can guarantee your girls are!

  3. jon says:

    i talked to my youth about twilight last week and told them it wasn’t about whether or not they should go see it. we focused on 2 peter 3:1b “to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. i referred to your blog and talked about how parents were so excited about this movie because of NO SEX. But then somehow the very first trailer shows bella in her bed in her undies hanging out with a vampire. they really got it when i told them nothing good happens at two in the morning hanging out with in your bed in your underwear with a vampire. this happened to me in high school:i rented Major League (R) and my dad (a free will baptist preacher) saw it and said “son, what were you thinking?” and i said “i didn’t even check, i’m sorry” and he said “that’s what makes it you so bad, you didn’t care enough to check.” my message:watch it if you want, but take your brain with you.

  4. Trevor says:

    70 million…the movie company is laughing to the bank for the relatively small purchase price of 33. I haven’t read the books yet but will. It sounds like good discussions could easily be had.

  5. ashley says:

    The movie was great I am 12 and I think it was no big deal it does deserve the pg 13 but there is no sex just kissing and some other stuff but not that bad sure it`s no disney chanel prinsess movie but it really good.

  6. The above comment only proves the point of our Youth Culture Window article. Kids see the movie as clean because “there is no sex just kissing.”

    It must be okay then, huh?

    What do your kids use as their barometer for what’s appropriate or not?

  7. Amber says:

    My husband and I are youth pastors with a negative opinion about Twilight and because of that we actually have youth girls who are angry with us, which essentially confirms our concerns to be valid. Our concern lies in the behavior and comments from the girls who are so absorbed in the books. They are not merely interested but obsessed with Edward and compare every “potential” to him. They make comments such as “I’m going to marry Edward” and “He’s my Edward.” It sickens me that the movie industry is making so much money off of a character who is essentially dooming our youths’ future relationships with the disillusionment portrayed. Some say “It’s just a book (or movie)” but if that were the case would our youth still be outwardly angry with us? I doubt a negative opinion of even a godly movie/book would stir up such adversity and bitterness. Why? Because these girls who are so blinded by the perfection of fictional edward are missing out on the Real God, the only One who could truly love them to their heart’s content.

  8. Nicci says:

    To Amber above, I must say I was very frustrated after reading your comments. What generation of girls hasn’t had that guy/group of guys they all thought were dreamy. Need I remind you of bsb/nysync, the jackson 5, the beatles, elvis, lol I mean the list has no end. It is a natural girl phase. It’s not idolizing, it’s innocent girl fantasy, we were ALL there at one point in out childhood. To call out the character of Edward as being anything more than the latest boy of the month is really silly and overreacting. I am a proud Christian adult and have been since I was a child, and I remember a couple youth leaders at one church my family attended that were just too against anything that wasn’t overtly Christian, and as a child, the more the condemned the simple things, harmless things, that I liked, the less I respected everything else the said. Christians need to lighten up a bit, I’m not trying to be liberal, but I feel strongly that things are takin too far. I used to sit for a family that would even allow their children to watch classic disney cartoon movies (aladin was a big one) bc they were scared of the magic in the movie and the influence that would have on their children. At a point it just gets ludicrous! I will say that I have always been a vampire movie/book fan, since childhood, so when the movie came out I naturally went to see it and really enjoyed it, since then I have read 3 of the 4 books, about the start the 4th tomorrow when I buy it, lol, anyway, point I was making is that YES I can understand a bit of the concern, BUT as parents we need to be active in our children’s lives and use tools like this to open the lines of communication to discussing topics such as sex, and what the Bible says about it and purity. I think the movie and books, esp the 3rd one, really set a line of waiting till you’re married. Edward, unlike most boys I remember at that age, is the one to take a stand for purity, and so I say to Amber, what better kind of man for our girls to look up to than a man that despite her pleading for sex, tells her NO that it is better to wait until they are married and then in the end, in his weak moment the the last chapter of 3, she feels empowered enough to deny her longings. Don’t be stupid, kids already have those feelings and longings, far, FAR too early in life these day, but don’t be blind into thinking that aren’t already thinking about it and I for one am overall very pleased with the directness at which the author handles such a sensitive and important subject. She doesn’t come across as preachy, old fashioned, or un relatable to teens and preteens, sending a clear message of abstinence that our girls can really take to heart!

  9. Towards the end the teen-romance-cheese-factor pegged the needle in the aftermath of the big battle in a scene between Edward and Bella. That was about the hardest scene in the movie to sit through, and pretty much from there until the end it was quite sappy and reminded me of a typical teen TV series on the CW.