Twilight (2008)

PLOT:

This vapid teenage vampire love story was so utterly forgettable that less than one day after my initial viewing I could only guess at how they possibly filled up those 2 long hours. Granted, there was liquor involved (the drinking games associated with Twilight are numerous and rather brutal), so I felt it was only fair to watch it a second time sober. Well, mostly sober.

And here’s where I ruin my rock-solid anti-fad reputation with anyone who knows me and is reading this blog: I didn’t hate it the second time around. It appealed to some very immature, primal part of my brain and I actually enjoyed it a little. Just a little. I am disgusted with myself.

Anyways, Twilight is your basic boy-meets-girl, doomed love story sort of thing, only with gay-ass “vegetarian” vampires. Bella, the cartoonishly morose-looking main character, has transferred to a new high school. When she first meets Edward, the only single vampire in town, he is at once repelled and intoxicated by the lusty aroma of her soiled sanitary napkin, and they don’t exactly hit it off. (Disclaimer: There is no specific mention of Bella’s bloody pad in the movie, but it only makes sense, right?) Blah, blah, blah, he ends up saving her life a few times, and she figures it out that he’s a gay-ass “vegetarian” vampire, and she says, “I trust you,” and “You won’t hurt me,” over and over again until you wish you could reach into the movie and rip her throat out with your bare hands. And then everybody hurries off to play a rousing game of thunderstorm vampire baseball where they are met by other, more evil vampires, one of which decides to make killing and consuming Bella his personal goal in life. Edward and his vampire family go to great lengths to protect her and they all live crappily ever after, or at least until the sequel happens.

AMBITION: 0

I don’t often feel pity for teenagers, but the entire Twilight franchise is nothing but shameless teenage exploitation and it sickens me. It’s so easy to capitalize on their budding sexuality (Robert Pattinson = eye candy = $$$), but to do that while at the same time getting all preachy about premarital sex (see Sex/Violence) is manipulative and wrong.

PRESENTABILITY: 4

There is no shortage of drinking games or food ideas, and the volume of ready-to-purchase theme merchandise rivals High School Musical (if they’re not already making Edward Cullen pillow cases and underpants, they will).

SEX/VIOLENCE: 0

Unless you count palpable pent-up sexual tension as sex, you’re out of luck here. One of the lamest things about this whole irritating franchise is the complete lack of sex. From what I’ve heard the author is some kinda religious so her “message” to young girls is not to give it up. I wonder how much hate mail she gets from frustrated teenage males. Probably not enough.

No interesting violence to speak of. It was stunningly boring in that respect.

PERFORMANCE: 1

I think most of the main actors were cast for their looks. Kristen Stewart has the whole sullen, perpetually pouting look going for her, and Robert Pattinson could have stepped right out of the pages of Vampire Vogue. There was no stand-out bad acting (certainly no stand-out good acting either). Basically all performances were unremarkable.

DATABILITY: 1

Google is mentioned more than once. “You can google it.” Says the vampire. Please. Other than that and a few silly computer-generated special effects, the composition and visual execution of the story is timeless. Twilight would have been just as lame (and popular) in any other decade.

SCRIPT: 0

So… very… boring. Formulaic. And angsty in all the worst, most annoying ways. If there’s an encyclopedia of Cliche Phrases Every Girl Wants to Hear, then Stephenie Meyer brutally plagiarized it writing Edward’s lines. She has stopped just short of saying that it took no effort whatsoever on her part to write this story, and I believe it. I wonder if I could make millions of dollars by transcribing one of the lame fantasies from my 7th grade diary. Oh, and I have to mention the senseless, light-hearted Vampire baseball game again. What the hell was that?

“You know your mood swings are kind of giving me whiplash.” Clever-clever.

“You’re like my own personal brand of heroin.” Come to think of it, Edward does look an awful lot like a heroin addict.

“Ok, let’s say for argument’s sake that I’m not smart.” Oh, you make it too easy Bella.

RELEVANCE: 1

This movie actively encourages girls to trust weird pale guys they barely know. Because love conquers all. So girls, if that weird pale dude comes creeping through your bedroom window to watch you sleep, it’s ok as long as you think you love him. And don’t forget that if you’re a weird pale girl who is attending a new high school, you will make friends immediately and all the boys will want to take you to the prom, but only if you’re pretty. So, whatever you do, be pretty.

ORIGINALITY: 1

One point for all the stereotypes about vampires that are broken. Not that I approve of this; a vampire who sparkles in the sunlight is wrong, not to mention painfully gay, and allowing them to be seen in mirrors just to include a 5 second hall-of-mirrors scene is weak. But other than the blatant disregard for age-old vampire rules there is nothing to set Twilight apart from every other melodramatic teenage love story that has ever been filmed, or will be filmed. It’s a textbook case.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: 4

The unnecessary close-ups, the convenient shafts of sunlight and the spinning around and around and around and around; it makes a person physically and mentally nauseous.

PRODUCTION DESIGN: 1

The soundtrack sucks, the costumes are boring (not a single cape) and it takes place in Forks, which is not a spectacular town by any stretch of the imagination (although maybe I am spoiled, since I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so all the beautiful forest scenery was old hat for me). It was visually bland and washed out (kind of like vampire stories). They’ve purposely made everything corpse-colored, which is understandable as an artistic choice, but it makes watching the movie feel like slow death.

TOTAL: 13

Like having colon cancer, and the blood leaking from your anus has attracted a moody, conflicted vampire dreamboat who won’t quit smelling your butt.

MERCHANDISING HALL OF SHAME

OFFICIAL INDUCTEE: Twilight-themed Conversation Hearts in Forbidden Fruits flavors

The four “mouthwatering” flavors have names that would feel more at home on edible underpants or perfume douches: Secret Strawberry, Tempting Apple, Orange Obsession and, somewhat incongruously, Lemonessence. The messages on the candies include: I Heart EC, Live 4 Ever, Bad Guy, Dazzle (as in, a vampire in the sun), Trust Me, Be My Life, Lamb (depending on the printing quality it sometimes looks like Lame, which is so hilariously apt), and my personal favorite, Bite Me. I think if they keep making these wretched things they ought to add some new flavors that play up the repressed sexual undertones of the movie, like maybe Prohibited Pear, or Bananabstinence. And a more vampire-specific message or two wouldn’t hurt either. May I suggest “Suck It?”

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~ by mgjk on February 12, 2010.

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