Cloud: Another Twilight movie premiered this past weekend. Silver lining: They tell me it’s the last one. A few years ago, I had my first and only experience with the franchise. Let’s just say I was not swept away by the romance.  Originally posted December 17, 2009.

 

photo by rhoftonphoto

Way late to the party, but The Man of Mans and I finally watched Twilight. I’m not au courrant with movies the way I was in day P.B. (Pre-Bean), but I don’t live in a cave.  I knew that Twilight was a not-just-teen-movie sensation, featuring a dreamy vampire and epic romance.  Its appeal seemed to span both gender and generations and several people had recommended the movie/books as addictive, escapist fun. I am a big fan of big-screen fluff.  I’m happy to shut down my inner critic in favour of easy to digest entertainment.  Such was my mindset when we popped Twilight into the DVD player.  For those of you who are fans, I want you to know that I tried. I tried to qualify the content as “teen-fluff”.  I tried not be a prickly, curmudgeonly crank. I tried to let the heated passion of impossible vampire romance melt my icy heart.

I failed.

I did not love Twilight. I did not like TwilightTwilight totally pissed me off.  For a few reasons.  (Warning: It’s ’bout to get spoilery up in here, y’all!)

1.Edward is a douche.

I hear a lynch-mob of adolescent girls coming for me.  I will not bend.  The first time Edward meets Bella, he’s blatantly hostile towards her.  The second time they meet, he doesn’t apologize for being a jerk. Instead he explains that he was worked up with vampiric desire and that it’s Bella’s fault for making him want her so badly.

He repeatedly initiates contact with her, then admonishes her for being near a dangerous, untrustworthy vampire.  Later, in an masterful display of douchebaggery, Edward intervenes when Bella is set upon by a gang of predatory men.  He whisks her away to his car where, rather than asking how Bella’s doing in light of having almost been raped, he demands that she tend to his feelings and calm him down.

And of course there’s the lovely revalation that he sneaks into her room at night to watch her sleep.   So romantic.  So stalkerish.  So douchey.

2. Bella puts the “ass” in “passive”. 

Truth: Bella’s not really an ass.  I’m just tryina have  fun with subtitles.  Bella is a really beautiful young woman with pretty hair and nothing significant to contribute to this romance.  She’s  just there as a support/vessel for Edward’s desires. She reassures Edward that she trusts him, even as he assures her of his unrelenting desire to drain her blood.  She lets Edward dictate the pace and terms of their relationship.   She knows he’s a vampire but doesn’t admit it until he commands her to.  The movie didn’t give me any sense of who Bella was beyond a girl who chewing her bottom lip, while waiting for Edward to save her from peril

3. Oh, Nadine. Chillax.  This isn’t Citizen Kane, it’s just fun fantasy for teenagers.

Note to self: Rent Citizen Kane.

As far as this being teen fantasy fare, that’s precisely why the themes in the movie bother me.   I’m constantly hearing/reading about youth, girls in particular, swooning over Edward and wanting precisely the type of “romance” portrayed in Twilight. Bella/Edward is not a healthy relationship.  I saw a movie that conflates love with disregarding a partners’ violent nature, domineering behavior,  invading someone’s personal space, imposing your will on your partner and obsessive fixation on one another.   I saw nothing in this movie that implied there was any true spiritual connection between Edward and Bella.   Just a bunch of surface sparkle (literally).  And while I accept that some relationships are surfacey…this is a story penned by an adult author, produced by adults, marketed to younger people as the pinnacle of true love.  Not a good thing in my crabby, old lady opinion.

4. A Final Note

There was no dance off. I can overlook a multitude of cinematic blunders if the plot culminates in a dance off.  This did not. Bad Twilight! No biscuit!

I welcome thoughts from those of you who have seen the movie and/or read the books.  I’m especially curious about how the book compares to the movie.   Is it a faithful adaption?  Does reading the inner thoughts of the characters make change the dynamic of the romance?  Are there any dance offs in the sequels? I will also accept cheer offs and/or skate offs.

Comments

  1. Kaari says:

    No, the book is not better than the movie. On first read, the story sucked me right along and I read it in one day, but I found that it was completely not re-readable. (I always re-read books!) The writing is bad. If I remember right, the books are written in first person, using Bella’s voice. Listening in on Bella’s obsessive thoughts is actually worse than watching her chew her lip and be passive. The one way that the movie is better than the books is that it’s got some multiculturalism going on, although that’s not really true to Forks (I’ve been there). Other than that I think it’s a fairly faithful adaptation – the obsessive stalkery behavior is present in both, and presented in both as the pinnacle of romance.

  2. coconuthoneybee says:

    Ok, I have to admit, I read the series and really enjoyed reading it. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it seeing the movie first. I wouldn’t suggest that it is great literature. (Or even good) But it can be a fun fantasy to get lost in if you allow yourself to consider it just entertainment, which is I believe what was intended. I don’t think it was trying to make a comment or influence people. You are right, the relationship is totally unhealthy, and a poor example for teens of what a good relationship should be, but it was a relationship with a vampire. By definition, that makes it unhealthy. And as for all the comments about him making demands of her, just to play devils advocate, is it not fairly typical dom/sub type stuff? (Ok, maybe not the breaking into the house to watch her sleep thing…but the rest…) I also think a lot of women fantasize about a strong guy with a violent nature who will hold it in check because he loves her that much. That’s what made it appealing to the masses. (ie why it sold – and really that was likely it’s true purpose – to sell) It goes right back to west side story, or even Romeo and Juliet where what is forbidden and thought to be dangerous is what the girl wants. Trusting that the violent nature will remain subdued may not be terribly realistic and maybe sending a dangerous message as most guys with a violent nature won’t hold it in check forever, but that’s where I think the supernatural vampire theme is supposed to allow you to suspend your disbelief. He is supposed to be able to have strength of will that others would not because of his vampire-ness. (It’s fantasy!!!) Yes, the writing was bad, but again, not aimed at the literary critics. My far bigger issue was with the second book when he leaves and her world entirely falls apart to the detriment of her health – she stops functioning because he is gone – the whole “girl can not live without her guy” theme makes me not want to show it to my daughters. And there are problems with it and those problems need to be pointed out, so that teens watching or reading it understand that it is an unhealthy relationship (again why I will not let my daughters read or watch it until they are old enough to understand – at which point I will discuss it with them at length – if they want to read/see it, which to this point they haven’t seemed to…) But in reality, it was brilliantly crafted to sell to its target market, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people enjoying the fantasy, as long as they understand that that’s what it is – fantasy.