The Washington Post

In honor of ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2,’ a remembrance of the time before ‘Twilight’

Ladies, gentlemen, Twi-hards: the end of the “Twilight” saga is upon us. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2” — the fifth and final film in the series — opens tonight, putting a period on four years of pop-cultural conversation about angsty vampires, Kristen Stewart blinking, Taylor Lautner’s pecs, Michael Sheen’s crazy Volturi faces and werewolves who fall in love with babies.

It's a sad time.

(Andrew Cooper/Summit Entertainment)

Before the public at large files into their multiplexes to watch a film that the Post’s Michael O’Sullivan calls “a silly and somewhat cheesily made waste of time,” let’s pause for a moment to reflect. Let’s flashback to the year 2008, before the first “Twilight” film was released.

It really was a different time then.

It was a time before the words Robsten, RPatz, KStew and Twi-hard permanently inserted themselves into the lexicon.

It was a time when we had not yet heard our middle-aged aunts unapologetically and creepily announce that they think Lautner is hot.

It was a time before we knew who Snooki was, and therefore also were blissfully unaware that she would one day pretend to be Bella Swan in a Jimmy Kimmel-sanctioned “Twilight” spoof.

It was a time when “Twilight” stars, on the first leg of what would become an extended promotional tour, invaded Hot Topic stores throughout this great land, prompting me to appear in this ridiculous video, which proves that I have the same hair as every Twi-hard in Fairfax.

It was a time when the nation was less divided. And by divided, I mean separated into Team Edward, Team Jacob and Team Honest to God, Who Cares?

It was a time when the average person still thought a vampire looked like this . . .

(Universal Pictures via AP)

Or possibly like this . . .

(Francois Duhamel/Geffen Pictures)

But not like this.

(Andrew Cooper/Summit Entertainment)

It was a time when both Kellan Lutz and Jackson Rathbone were mere expressionless glimmers in our movie-going eyes.

It was a time when Dakota Fanning was still that girl from “War of the Worlds” and “The Cat in the Hat” instead of an evil Volturi chick with red eyes.

It was a time before actual people thought it would be a good idea to name their kids Renesmee.

It was a time when Post writer O’Sullivan could still justifiably believe that a “Twilight” movie worked “as both love story and vampire story, thanks mainly to the performances of its principals.”

It was a time when we didn’t really care who Stewart and Pattinson were dating, and whether they were dating each other, or cheating on each other or pretending to date and cheat on each other for promotional purposes.

It was a time to which we can never return.

On this day, as you prepare to see “Breaking Dawn - Part 2,” remember the way we were before the saga began on Nov. 21, 2008, the day the first “Twilight” arrived in theaters.

11/20/2008: Never forget.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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