In both movies the inciting incidents seem practically identical. A new girl transfers into the local high school and a boy, currently residing in the town, is intrigued by her “differentness.”
In Twilight, Bella’s arrival is huge and exciting news for the small high school. Eric, the editor of the school paper, tells her he’s writing a feature on her; and Angela, the photographer of the group, takes a candid of Bella to run with the article. Bella’s reaction to the unwanted attention is distress, begging, and distraction. She nearly has a panic attack at the mention of an article about her and pleads with Eric not to run it. Later Bella steers Angela away from herself by suggesting other story ideas.
During lunch on her first day, and before the reveal of the Cullens, Bella has been hit on by three boys. One of who rushes up from behind, kisses her on the cheek, and says, “That’s my girl.” Eric uses the term “my homegirl” (yes, he really says homegirl) when introducing her to Mike, who then immediately questions the ‘my,’ or dominance, part of that statement. All these actions disturb Bella, but she brushes it off, boys will be boys.
Lena’s welcome in Beautiful Creatures is much less warm or enthusiastic, but still big news. She’s the niece of “old man Ravenwood,” the guy who lives all alone, in a creepy old house, at the top of a hill, and no one’s seen him for years. There’re rumors and whispers well known by the community that he’s a “devil worshipper.”
As Lena enters the class, Emily, the queen bee, starts condescendingly whispering to her friends. “Is that her? What is she wearing?” A feeling of unease and nervousness circles throughout the room. Ethan watches Lena enter along with everyone else, but he sees something familiar, she kind of looks like the girl from his dreams.
The teacher searches for her last name and Emily, being the peach that she is, answers for Lena.
Emily: Ravenwood. Isn’t it?
Lena: Actually, it’s Duchannes.
Emily: Well, now that’s an out and out lie. I happen to know for a fact you’re Macon Ravenwood’s niece.
Lena: Well, bless your heart sugar. [Turns in her seat to stare directly at Emily.] You must have been first in your litter.
Ethan snickers, along with a handful of others, and later refers to this by saying “You cut Emily like a surgeon.” By the end of the class he’s looking at Lena with more than casual curiosity, but with interest in knowing her.
Comparing Initial Attraction
Compare this with the lunch scene back in Twilight. We’ve just had three boys act possessively toward Bella and then the Cullens enter, with their slow-mo fashion walk, ending with Edward. Bella is immediately attracted to him, but beyond his physique, we don’t know why, I’m not sure we ever really do. From Edward’s point of view, though we don’t know it yet, the intriguing thing for him is that he can’t read Bella’s mind. What makes her special, different, interesting to him is nothing she can consciously control or something she even chose to be.
For me, that’s what makes such a huge difference in the initial attraction between the two leads. In Twilight it’s purely about physical appearance and things so biological that we have no control over. Whereas in Beautiful Creatures it’s not just that he’s been dreaming about her all summer (which might have been interesting enough in its own right) but it’s what she says. It’s her confidence, and the way she acts that creates his interest in knowing more about her.
They haven’t talked to each other yet in either movie, but I think the different reasons for the guy’s initial attraction is large enough to impact the course of the story. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Do you think the reasons are similar? That they’re completely different? Let me know in the comments below.