I’ve never watched a movie that I utterly regretted, one that made me feel like a worse human being for having viewed it.
Twilight’s no exception. But it came really, REALLY close. Where do I begin?
For starters, I couldn’t find a single, solitary redeeming quality about Bella. She was boring, slightly moody, and barely attractive the entire film. I don’t understand what I’m supposed to feel about that character. Empathy? Despite having divorced parents, her relationship with both is fine. She might be the new girl at school but everybody in the town friggin’ gravitates towards her like moths to the plain, uninteresting candle. Seriously, am I missing something? Ol’ mind-reading Eddie kept talking about how he couldn’t figure her out and I’m inclined to agree with him, but unlike him, her “mystery” simply bores me to death. Is that why he won’t let her be a vampire? Because the thought of spending eternity with her blandess makes him sick?
Speaking of which, I literally laughed out loud when he did the gag reflex thing. In fact, I laughed at a lot of things. The sparkly in the sunlight moment, the super-vampire baseball scene, the squirrel-esque tree-climbing all elicited the oh-so-elusive “lulz” from yours truly. Probably because of how mind-warpingly ludicrous it all was.
On a slightly different but related note, I didn’t have many problems with the movie to start with. Maybe it was because Oscar-nominated Anna Kendrick showed up and surprised the crap out of me. She’s earned plenty of good favor in my eyes for Up in the Air so she gets no strikes for her turn as a slightly-ditzy stereotypical townie here. I didn’t even mind any of the cliched high school friends… and then Eddie showed up.
Let’s face it, the movie’s about Bella and Edward, right? I mean, the whole series is. Obviously. So what’s the point of any/all of the peripheral kids? After their initial introduction, they became downright obnoxious, a feeble device to give Bella time away from Edward so she could brood and internally narrate how much she liked him. In other words, they’re filler. I understand the idea that they’re probably much deeper characters in the books (read: not), but the first thing that gets cut in an adaptation is the fat. And those kids were the fat. Honestly, I didn’t give a crap about their little side romance (which is saying something, considering I didn’t give a crap about anyone) that happened in of off-hand conversation over four scenes, so they shouldn’t have even included it. The movie was already 2 hours (too) long, cutting every minute counts.
So anyways, when the “vampire” people actually do show up, the movie takes a pretty hard left turn and everything gets creeptastic really fast. From the hinted incestuous vampire “foster kids” to simply the way everything’s shot and edited, I felt like I’d plunged into a forbidden world filtered through starglow and soaked in vaguely sexual stares. For a split-second I was expecting a 70’s porno jam to kick in, but instead it was some weird soft-rock, which in retrospect seems more appropriate for the situation. Because let’s be honest — the critics have it right: this is porn for girls.
The laying around in the forest, the long deep gazes and pseudo-sultry expressions, the super-slow build up towards intimate contact… if it wasn’t already clear enough that the material’s intended for girls, the movie drives it home like the last railroad spike with a friggin asteroid. And it made me feel absolutely filthy, like I was watching something I shouldn’t have been (and let’s be honest, I probably shouldn’t have been). Things only got worse when the flashback/fantasy/whatever’s started hitting. I didn’t know whether to laugh or puke. Lucky for me I wasn’t exactly sober so I did the former. But the urge to turn it off and purge my brain with a bleach-filled turkey baster wasn’t any less for it.
I should complain about the shaky plot and lame exposition and a billion other things, but I won’t. Because the technical deficiencies pale in comparison to the disgusting overall atmosphere (and I’m not just talking about the eternally cloudy, half-moist weather). So let’s get down to some other business: Edward Cullen.
According to my perception of his reception, this is the perfect guy that no man will ever live up to. Understandable from certain aspects, as he’ll never die and he’s super-fast and strong and all that jazz. Mixing Usain Bolt, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and a monkey at their best together (wish a dash of immortality and body glitter) and physically, they still can’t hold a candle to Mr. Cullen. But personality-wise, I must be completely missing the point. He’s just as sulky and moody as Bella but with the added bonus of being mentally unstable and on the constant verge of eating her face off. Literally. Is it the bad boy-who-wants-to-be-good appeal? Because I was under the impression that bad boys did what they want, regardless of whether it craps on you and your well-being. Kind of like that blonde hipster vampire nemesis guy and his way skeezy vampire snuff film sequence.
And speaking of skeeze, why does he have nothing better to do than follow her around and watch her every move? In my world, we call that a stalker and girls don’t like those. One could argue that his actions are vindicated by genuinely protecting her from those four drunkards, but I don’t think the occasional death-by-falling-tree justifies cutting them all down. I was under the impression that girls liked their space, not clingy over-protective dudes who seem to know what’s best for them. According to Twilight, the only difference between a devoted lover and a stalker is how attractive the guy is, a fine line that’s as flimsy as hipster-vamp’s neck.
I’m by no means a macho man or an alpha male or even all that masculine. I don’t play sports, rarely drink beer, and get super-uncomfortable setting foot inside a Hooters. But I have to side with the “bros” when it comes to Twilight. It’s a mess of a movie full of vapid personalities that promotes unrealistic expectations in men just as much (if not moreso) than any Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. The difference is there’s nothing wrong with being in good shape, while being the emotional equivalent of a rabid tiger in a meat-igloo is generally frowned upon.
So young lads if you’re reading this, don’t ever, EVER watch this movie thinking it will teach you how to get the girl of your dreams by imitating the fictional object of their obsession. Because if they aren’t already swooning over you, you’ll just be begging for a restraining order and the pity of anyone with the emotional maturity of an eggplant. And odds are, she’s not that great anyways.