Several weeks ago my wife and I celebrated her birthday by heading out to dinner, followed by a movie (her choice). It was no surprise to me what we’d be seeing — the 2nd installment of the Twilight saga: a series of teen vampire movies based on the books by Stephanie Meyer of the same name. The two movies have grossed over a billion dollars worldwide thus far. The opening night screening for the 2nd Twilight movie, New Moon, was the largest midnight screening ever for a movie, grossing nearly $75 million. What does all that mean? Answer: obsessed fans.
The Twilight Saga has generated a fan base in teen girls similar to what Star Wars did to teen boys in the early 80s. But, should it really surprise us? Haven’t we learned by now that A) America embraces a good “love story” and B) Hollywood is running out of “normal” love stories. We humans love the romantic concept of love transcending all things, knowing no boundaries. In recent years, this concept has been pushed to sci-fi and flat out uncomfortable levels like time, gender, and even species. Have you noticed it? In 2005, we were subjected to a “new love story” of manly cowboys breaking the stereotypes and falling for one another in Brokeback Mountain. It was met with critical acclaim, financial success, and nearly won the Academy Award for best picture that year. In 2006, we saw the story of two people disrupting the space/time continuum by falling in love in the same location at two different times via letter in The Lake House (numerous variations of the story have been told in cinema before). It also grossed over $100 million. Now in Twilight:New Moon, we find a misunderstood teenage girl named Bella struggling to decide whether her heart belongs to a vampire or a werewolf. I’m a little scared to see where Hollywood goes from here.
Nonetheless, as Christians, Twilight’s strange love should open our eyes to opportunity. We know America loves a great love story. We also know we have one to share. Our story tells of a love that surpasses time, space, and comprehension. The Apostle John writes in 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” God miraculously becomes a part of his creation in the person of Jesus Christ. God loves mankind enough to live every day under his own law for her. God humbles himself to suffer persecution to the point of death for mankind. A greater story has never been told. A greater (or more important) love has never been shown. May we never underestimate the power of this story to touch hearts, transform lives, and change the destination of souls.