Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Twilight (2008 Film)

I did not want to watch this movie. It was forced on me. When it came out I didn’t want to go see it in theaters, when it came on video I still didn’t want to watch it, and now, four years after the fact, it doesn’t even seem relevant enough to devote any time to this blog. However a misguided person in my life literally forced me to watch this flick, supposedly with the sole purpose of me writing a negative review on this blog. I am not happy with this arrangement. But sadly for me I do have an opinion on this film so I might as well write something.

Twilight is a 2008 film based on the young adult novel of the same name by Stephanie Meyer. The book series, and the film series, are pretty much known for three things: 1) the dubious re-imagining of the vampire myth, 2) the incredibly strong fan base which of percentage of possesses some of the most ignorant human beings in the world and 3) an equally strong base of haters who think that Meyer is one of the worst writers to ever become popular (Although lately this group of people have tended to move their anger towards 50 Shades of Grey, but that’s another story). Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who has directed quite a few films I’ve never seen, this movie received pretty poor reviews, though it wasn’t like it was universally despised. So here I am reviewing it long after the iron has cooled down. I’m late to the party here, guys.

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: Some spoilers ahead, but really; everyone who was interested in seeing this flick has already seen it by now, right?]


Pictured: The reason I insist on Strong Female Leads
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is a typical teenage girl living in Arizona with her mother and step-father but is soon sent to live with her father in Forks, Washington where she almost immediately becomes very popular...for some reason. While there she finds herself attracted to the mysterious Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who not only ignores her but actively tries to go out of his way to avoid her which makes Bella only more intrigued by him…for some reason. However Edward soon saves Bella’s life from being hit by a car using what can only be described as super human strength and speed. Bella begins to suspect that the mysterious boy in her class my in fact be a vampire.

Weirdly enough I actually have a pretty good store of knowledge about the first book (unfortunately for my everyday life). So let me tell you that the number one best thing I can say about this flick is that it’s much, much, much better written than the original novel. The things I find the most abhorrent about the book are altered for the movie and don’t make me nearly as upset. You remember in the movie how Edward mentally abuses Bella with his constant insults and disdain? No? Because they toned that shit down from the book! How about the nearly maddening amount of narration from Bella that makes her sound like a narcissist suffering from denial? No? Because her narration is limited and not nearly as crazy! Bella and Edward are about 1000 times easier to take and aren’t sociopathic assholes in the way they are in the source material. I’m not sure if this was done for the sake of time and, like every movie based on a book, they had to cut a bunch of stuff and it just so happened to be the worst parts or if it was a conscience effort on the part of the director to make things less terrible.

Long story short the best thing about this movie is that it’s not nearly as terrible as the book it’s based on. Think about that for second. So now that we know that things aren’t nearly as bad they could have been what’s exactly wrong with this movie? EVERY GODDAMN THING!

I'LL KILL YOU, LUMPY SPACE!!!!
 First and foremost the script is pretty dreadful. The characters almost never talk like normal human beings, especially the teenagers, and no one seems to react to things properly. My favorite example is when Edward tells Bella that he can read everyone’s mind except hers. Instead of saying “Wow, you’re crazy” or “Holy shit, you can read minds” she says “Is there something wrong with me?” Nice sense of self-worth you got there, Bella. Speaking of characters there was a severe lack of character development outside of the two principles. Now I understand that this is a romance and that our main focus should be on the two characters that are in a romance but it’d still be a decent idea to actually put some effort into the supporting cast. In this film if you’re human you might as well just stand in the background and just pretend to be a damn tree. They have the most token personalities imaginable and are seemingly made out to be extremely dull as if to make the vampires more interesting by comparison. Which is a damn shame since Anna Kendrick, far prettier than all of the vampires in this flick, is wasted in this movie as lowly human and she does practically nothing but tell Bella how cool she is.
And you know I like me some Anna Kendrick
Even more annoying is the fact that BELLA DOESN’T HAVE A PERSONALITY! Seriously! Her entire character is only notable because of her feelings of Edward. She’s pretty stupid but that’s not the right type of personality trait I’m looking for. She’s a pretty shitty main character as well. She doesn’t affect the plot; rather she kind of gets swept away by it. She is led by the story rather than having the story follows her. It’s frustrating.

The romantic plot is mind numbingly stupid and it’s due to several factors. My major problem was the fact that it’s portrayed as it being pure and absolute true love…in High School. I’m not trying to say that teenagers are incapable of love but I do find it sort of unlikely (not impossible) that a sixteen/seventeen year old girl who still growing as a person is going to find the love of her life in High School. Most people I know who married their High School sweetheart are either divorced or miserable. But this is a fantasy so perhaps I can put aside my personal biased and just accept it. But what I can’t accept is the fact that SHE’S IN LOVE WITH A DIRTY OLD MAN!!

I don’t understand how anyone can simply overlook the fact that this really, really young girl is making out with a dude old enough to be her goddamn great-grandpa. Yeah he looks seventeen but has more life experience than just about anyone you know. He is far, far too old to be messing around with someone that much younger than him for the same reason it’s considered illegal, or at least highly immoral, in many places in the USA for an 89 year old billionaire to go trolling for teenage ass at his local school yard. Plus what in the world can they have to talk about? What do they possibly have in common?

Right after he regaled her with tales from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl
Speaking of that why is Bella so in love with Edward in the first place? He’s not particularly nice, she doesn’t know jack shit about him and, oh yes, HE SPECIFICALLY HUNGERS FOR HER BLOOD! Oh, did I not mention that? Edward straight up tells Bella that the main reason he’s all about her is that he’s somehow magically attuned to her blood and it makes him really, really want to eat her. Also he stalks her. He sneaks into her room and watches her sleep and follows her around town without her knowledge. And she swoons! Ladies; if a guy you kind of know does this to you CALL THE DAMN POLICE!

 My question is this: WHY ARE YOU IN LOVE WITH THIS GUY?! And don’t tell me some bullshit about “you can’t choose who you fall in love with” because there still should be something tangible. At least have some chemistry with each other rather than all this blank staring. He’s really attractive; that’s her only possible reasoning. And that’d be fine if she was just interested in dating him but SHE WANTS TO BE A F**KING VAMPIRE SO THEY CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER! Bella, you are either crazy or stupid. I know you’re not desperate because every goddamn male character you talk to falls in love with you.

Personally I think Obvious Werewolf Jacob looks better with long hair
So a guy you barely know, who admits to you that he wants to kill you and has treated you mostly with hostility since you met him, has managed to make you fall in love with him? You better hope he turns you into a vampire because you do not possess the mental capabilities to survive in the world outside of High School, you stupid little girl!!

Also why the shit is Edward in love with her? He knows he’s attracted to her because of her damn blood but he seems to act as if he’s genuinely in love with her beyond that? But WHY is he? What’s the reason? At least in the movie Bella is cute and not super clumsy; as opposed to the novel where she’s a Plain Jane and so incredibly clumsy that she can barely function as a person. Even so I don’t know what he gets out of all this. Also is she the first human he’s brought home or simply the latest? What’s so special about her? The movie NEVER EVER tells us what would have been a great piece of character development for Bella if she had traits that our normal human eyes can’t immediately see (Like maybe she has a kind and gentle heart, but seeing how she’ll start treating her friends and family in later books I know for a goddamn fact that’s not true). The closet we get to this is the fact that he can read people’s minds but he can’t read Bella’s for reasons we’re never told. Maybe the fact that he can’t tell what she’s thinking from his point of view makes her devoid of all the terrible and monstrous thoughts most humans have and as a result he sees her as being more pure and that’s what truly attracts him to her. Having written that explanation up it actually sounds pretty good. TOO BAD I JUST MADE THAT UP INSTEAD OF BEING SHOWN IN THE F**KING MOVIE!!!!

These are some lame vampires. The whole “sparkle in sunlight” thing is a really weird choice to throw in and it kind of hurts the general “horror” theme that vampires are normally associated with. These vampires aren’t really creatures of the night in any fashion. Hell, most of the time we see them they’re outside during the day (Just not direct sunlight). Plus all the vampires look like living dolls, which is creep but not in the right way. Maybe we should stop using that word to describe them. From now on the creatures in the Twilight Saga shall be known as “Sparkles”! Speaking of threatening the film doesn’t do a great job in explaining why James is so dangerous. He’s one dude versus Edward’s whole family; so long as no one does anything really dumb he’d have no real chance of killing Bella (So obviously you can guess what happens). I was bored and never felt any real conflict or tension. And, of course, the acting is flat and dull. I don’t think it’s the actors but for whatever reason everyone sound stilted and insincere.

Pretty much the most build-up we ever get for the villains
(Except the black dude isn't a villain and the lady has, like, one line)
Bottom line this is a terrible movie but it’s not nearly the black hole of intelligence that a lot of people make it out to be (Again, talking about the film not the book). This movie is one of those flicks that it’s so bad that you can get drunk and laugh at while you happily look at it (or, Rise of Cobra bad) but not so bad that it’s unwatchable (or, Dragonball Evolution bad). In fact all of the major problems with this movie are technically from the book and just brought over. So the film’s biggest crime is not just throwing out the book and just write a new story while still calling it “Twilight”, which would have been hilarious. I hated this movie but not as much as I’ve hated other things I’ve had to watch. If anything I’m deeply confused by the people who actually think this is a good movie. Are you guys okay? Is everything in your life alright, or do you need to talk to a professional about some aspects? Because you’re hurting yourselves with this film, and when you hurt yourself you hurt the ones that love you.

And then the vampires sparkles played baseball for some reason
 I give Twilight 2 Adorable Pandas Brooding Sparkles out of 5.


Pros 

-Not as bad as the book 

Cons 

-Unlikable lead 

-Flat characters 

-Flat acting 

-Nonsensical love story 

-Weird ass vampires 

-Antagonist is barely threatening at all

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