If you live on planet Earth, you probably know who Robert Pattinson is. Star of the bajillion dollar Twilight phenomenon, the young actor has another new movie hitting the screens that has him starring opposite a pretty blonde girl instead of a brunette and an elephant instead of a wolf. Water for Elephants is slated to hit theaters this weekend and it’s already garnering a lot of praise. You can hardly watch a television program without seeing a commercial for it somewhere. Much like Pattinson himself, it’s everywhere.
A few weeks ago my eleven year old daughter laughed when she saw the first commercial for it. She thought it was funny that the film was not yet rated. I went on to explain the rating process and how it works. She found it fascinating that there are people who are paid to watch movies all day and figure out whether it’s good for her to watch or not. Her first response was that she wanted that job. How cool would that be? But then when I mentioned that all the fans of Twilight would probably want to go see this movie, it dawned on her what a heavy responsibility that must be for those people. What if they rate the movie PG-13 just to make sure to include the Twi-hard fans and they let unsuitable material slip through?
So then she asked me what I was going to do about it. What? Me? What could I do? I have nothing to do with how films are rated or what’s involved with that process. But then she looked me square in the eye and said, “But you review books. It’s based on a book. Isn’t it your responsibility to tell other moms what they might need to expect about the movie because of that?”
Wow. Talk about a knock your socks off moment. I was stunned. And then I picked up my laptop and requested the book from the publisher. (Who very kindly responded to me – thank you Algonquin!)
This also made me look at all of those trailers and posters and book covers completely differently. I own a marketing company in my ‘spare time’ and if I were covering this title, I’d very surely be using (and probably abusing) Pattinson’s celebrity on this title. As of right now the Twilight movies aren’t going to be new for at least a year when Breaking Dawn comes out. There aren’t any new books or any new Twi-things on the market. So putting a pretty picture of Robert Pattinson in a tuxedo in front of all of those Twi-hards is a perfect marketing plan.
If you’re a mom who isn’t sure what to expect but your teen or tween is begging you to go see Water For Elephants, you can find my review of the book here. I can’t promise the movie will be the same way. (They rarely are.) But I can say that Water for Elephants is very much not a Young Adult title. It’s not listed as juvenile fiction. It’s a book about grown ups written for grown ups. The situations in this book were unsavory. Harsh. And very descriptive about some things in life. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the book. But I’m far past my tween years.
Perhaps the movie producers kept it cleaner knowing that the Twilight fans would flock to it. I can’t say whether they did or didn’t. I can only tell you what I found in the book. And the reality is that someone who loves Robert Pattinson and Twilight has probably read the Twilight book and might want to own this book as well. (Hey, he’s pretty on the front cover!) This book would not be one that I would recommend for tweens or younger teens without a mom knowing what’s in it first.
If you’re a mom looking for good books you can read or share with your teenager or tween, please drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org