‘Twilight’ has fans beaming on the saga’s home turf

The dancing in the gazebo. The lightning climb to a treetop. And — sharp gasp here — the 17-year-old vampire’s skin sparkling like a rainbow in sunshine.

Such were the moments that left females of various ages beaming across downtown Port Angeles Friday evening.

They came out by the hundreds to wait in merciless wind, cold and rain for “Twilight,” the movie version of Stephenie Meyer’s best-seller.

And they were rewarded with the big-screen unfolding of love between teenage mortal Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, the vampire with topaz eyes.

Kristen Stewart as Bella and Robert Pattinson as Edward have got it going on, agreed Madi Wilhelm, 13, and her grandmother, Judy Wilhelm, of Port Angeles.

“The book was a little bit better, but I loved the movie,” breathed Madi, who got into Friday’s sold-out screening at 4:50 p.m. at the Lincoln Theater, 132 E. First St., Port Angeles.

“Twilight” is playing there on two screens, one upstairs and one down, today at 12:45 p.m., 1:10, 3:05, 4:50, 5:20, 7:15 and 7:40 p.m.

Also walking on air — and very little sleep — was Chris Franklin, who declared the movie “magnificent.”

She was the last in line to land a ticket to Friday’s just-after-midnight premiere.

Screaming fans

The theater filled with Beatlemania-like screams, Franklin said, as Edward walked into the “Forks High School” cafeteria.

Though most of the movie’s exteriors were filmed in Oregon instead of Forks, she believes the film captured the feeling of romance in the foggy forest.

“My favorite moment was when Edward says, ‘Hold still. I want to try something,'” said Franklin, 47.

What he tries, naturally, is a kiss on Bella’s trembling lips. It was a surpassing success, by Franklin’s assessment.

She can scarcely wait to see “Twilight” again — with her husband.

“He woke up when I got home last night and wanted to hear all about it,” Franklin said.

Her spouse is Max Fernandes, a mail carrier who works in Forks and LaPush.

He’s listened to all four books in the Twilight saga — including sequels New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn — on CDs while driving into the woods.

Then there were the two young women from Texas who on Friday traced a path similar to Bella’s.

The Twilight heroine moved from dry, brown Phoenix to green, wet Forks. She dined at an Italian restaurant in downtown Port Angeles named Bella Italia, a few doors down from the Lincoln Theater — and ended up with the love of her life.

Brandi Dutt, 26, of Dallas, and Elena Olivares, 24, of Austin, will next year marry their fiances back in Texas.

Girlfriends’ trip

So a couple of weeks ago, they decided to take one last girlfriends’ trip, a sequel to the one they made to Italy and France a few years ago.

The two fans of the Twilight books could have seen the movie back home, but then they started to imagine a trip to Port Angeles and Forks, to experience scenes as far from Texas as they could get.

“Let’s do it,” Dutt said to Olivares. On Friday they shared an early supper at Bella Italia, then lined up in the rain for the 7:40 p.m. movie.

As they waited outside the Lincoln’s door, a wave of Twilighters poured out of the 4:50 p.m. screening, to linger under the marquee.

Among them was Jennifer Ross, 25, of Port Angeles. She’d stood in the rain and chill for about two hours Friday afternoon, and yes, it was worth it.

The movie is “phenomenal,” Ross said. “I was impressed that it followed the book really well … I’m seeing it again on Tuesday … I have a friend who doesn’t have a day off until then.”

Ross, however, had just seen “Twilight” with a couple of guys who weren’t as wild about it.

This is “definitely for girls,” agreed Donna Burnside of Sequim, who was part of the throng awaiting the sold-out 7:15 p.m. show. She saw Twilight as the counterpoint to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

The Twilight saga, Burnside said, whisks readers and moviegoers away from workaday worries. And it “lets you relive all the things you never got to do as a kid.”

There was one young man surrounded by women on Friday night: Bryan Schlinkman, 14, a Port Angeles High School student.

“I think it’s kind of cool to stand out,” he said, adding that he’s interested in seeing what “a lot of girls have been talking about.”

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]

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