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'Twilight' newcomer surprised by the action

Drew Appelbaum displays Erika Wolff's homemade 'Team Edward'

Drew Appelbaum displays Erika Wolff's homemade 'Team Edward' sweatshirt at the 'Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -Part 2' premiere at Westbury Stadium 12. (Nov. 15, 2012)

When Newsday recently put out a call for "Twi-hards" who would let us tag along with them for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" premiere, Drew Appelbaum, 30, of Syosset caught us off-guard with his explanation as to why we should choose him.

“How about someone tagging along who has never seen any of the movies? A fresh perspective. I'm game,” he wrote in an email.

The concept was unexpected and irresistible; if he was game, so were we.

While there had been some lines formed before Appelbaum's arrival to the Westbury Stadium 12 theater at 11p.m., just an hour ahead of the 12:01 start time, Appelbaum said he was surprised by the lack of crowds.

“People came in when I did and bought a bunch of tickets,” he explained, adding that he thought moviegoers had to purchase tickets well in advance to secure a seat at the midnight showing.

The lack of volume didn't deter true Twi-hards though, with Melanie Paez, 28, and Sally Rexing, 28, of Glen Cove lining up for the flick hours in advance at 6:45 p.m. Paez said that while "Eclipse" has been her favorite installment of the series so far, she had high hopes for "Breaking Dawn Part 2." “I'm excited to see Bella wrestle with Emmett,” she gushed.

Across the theater Allison Shapiro, 31, of Hewlett admitted that the saga's midnight premieres had become something of a tradition for her friends, joking, “Same theater, same crew, same seats in the car.” Erik Owen, 31, of Oceanside has been a part of that "crew" each year and explained, “This is our fifth year doing this.” Owen said that while so far "New Moon" has been his favorite movie, he's mixed about "Breaking Dawn Part 2," partly because it marks an end to the group's midnight movie tradition.

Other moviegoers donned Team Edward and Team Jacob apparel, carrying deep-seated allegiances along with them to the end of the series. Appelbaum explained that he had seen a lot of hype about Team Edward versus Team Jacob and had even heard people yelling “Team Jacob!” in the parking lot on his way in to the theater. But in a nod to Jacob's (Taylor Lautner) shirtless tendencies, he added that, “I'm going to be on the team with people with shirts on.”

Despite some skepticism about what his reaction to the film might be, about 2-hours after Appelbaum entered the theater, he emerged from it with a smile. “I actually didn't mind it,” he admitted.

Mostly, he said, he was surprised at all the action. “It was a bit cheesy in the beginning and I was worried the whole movie would be like that,” said Appelbaum, but explained that the ending fight sequence was a nice surprise.

“I think anyone that hasn't seen the others [movies] could come see this one,” he elaborated.

When asked if he'd now go watch the rest of the films, however, Appelbaum simply responded, “Probably not.”  

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