November 29, 2008
Twilight - The Most Evil Movie of the Aughts?
Being a good sport I went to see Twilight last night. Given Ryan's words about its look, and what I'd heard about the author of the original text, I entered with low expectations. Nonetheless, nothing could have prepared me for just how awful it is. Of course serious film types might go into lengthy tirades on its shoddy construction. Technically it has some serious flaws, which must drive film types up the wall when they consider that something so poorly carried out will make hundreds of millions of dollars. But the real problem is the script. Bella is a both a bore and menace, and if there are actually tens of thousands of people in the country who consider to be a heroine I weep for our species.
The basic problem is that while this might be a film that involves vampires, this movie is basically the anti-Buffy. What is Bella? She's weak and needy and obsessive and seemingly devoid of any interesting characteristic whatsoever. Co-dependent is far too light a description of what she is. Hearing that she might be forced to be apart from her man quite literally drives her into hysteria. She has no interest in existing without him. She can only exist through him. And what kind of man is it that she feels she must cling to? Why, one who tells her to her face that he wants to kill her. Did I mention that she wants death? That she seems to equate sex and death? And that the only reasons we see for her liking him are that he's hot, comes from a rich family, is mean to her, and ignores her?
One could say she's a mess in need of serious treatment from that alone - and yet that doesn't even get into the horrible things she does to the man she supposedly loves. Her very presence torments him. She pushes him to do the one thing in all the known universe he is determined not to do. And she pressures him to kill the person he's loved most in his life (why he'd love this weak-willed sicko is beyond me, but I'm guessing she must smell great, and vampires being vampires ...). She is grotesque in every possible fashion, and has no redeeming characteristics I can see beyond the fact that she loves her family.
I'm not going to spend time discussing Twilight's oppressively-gendered world, where women aren't athletic, love shiny dresses, are uncoordinated (which comes in handy as an explanation for when they end up in the hospital after they have a fight with their big glowering freepy boyfriend - of course they fell down the stairs and went through a window) and apparently aren't supposed to drive if there's a man around to do it for them. I'm sure term papers have already been written on it.
Bella is repugnant, and apart from her father all the other humans are there to perform some stock role (the prom scene is down-right embarrassing as the other students each get their single moment in frame), so it's no surprise that the vampires are the most interesting part of the movie. And actually, if this had been a movie about the Cullen family I'd probably have enjoyed it quite a bit. They definitely have stories worth a movie. Of course some of them, as the book no doubt requires, were quite easy on the eyes (I'm thinking of Edward and Jasper and that guy from Can't Hardly Wait). And I think Robert Pattinson does a perfectly nice job as Edward. So if a movie gets made that is more about those characters I'll happily go see it. Actually I'd be quite enthusiastic about it. But if there's another Bella movie ... ummm, I think I'll skip that.
Posted by armand at November 29, 2008 11:49 AM
| Posted to Movies
Ha! I just sent you an email saying how I hated this movie. Bella has to be the most annoying character ever created, book and movie wise. And I hate when people try to make excuses for her: "she's a 17 year old girl in love." Um, yeah. I found them annoying in high school and I still find them annoying now.
However, I've been reading the Southern Vampire Mystery books (the ones that True Blood is based on). Love them!
I must be getting old. As soon as I get that They're-Marketing-This-To-Teenagers vibe off a one-sheet or trailer my nose starts to tickle and I have to leave the room.
But if you'll indulge me, this -- "the only reasons we see for her liking him are that he's hot, comes from a rich family, is mean to her, and ignores her?" -- seems to explain a lot more than stock character arcs in movies for children with the attention span of what's that shiny thing over there, and indeed still seems to capture a tragically significant subset of folks well into their thirties.
Yes, Binky, I'm at least mostly joking. Please don't hurt me for a glib nothing of a time-waster. ;-)
Anyway, to return to the topic at hand, did you really expect this movie wouldn't be awful? At any point? Based on anything you'd read, heard, or seen?
True Blood, on the other hand, has been a serious disappointment. I've got the second half of the season languishing on my DVR, because I just can't decide if I care, and after the first four or five episodes, if I can't decide I care, I almost certainly don't. It's HBO and it's daring (sort of, once in a while), but it's ham-fisted and didactic in its warmed-over outsider narrative, Paquin is sort of insufferable (trashy with a heart of gold doesn't suit her), and at the mid-point, I couldn't really think of a plot scenario that would be more or less satisfying than any other.
I haven't deleted it yet, but I'm guessing I'll get around to it. I have only so much time, and Dexter's about to give way to Big Love. Mediocre shows just can't hold one's interest when, at any given time, there's something spectacular happening on another channel.
HBO has really screwed the pooch, though. From the very top to very nearly the bottom in about three years. They deserve it for pulling the plug on Rome and Deadwood, and then not giving John from Cincinnati enough time to tip its hand.
Yeah, I guess Rome cost a fortune - but it was fun.
And no, I didn't expect this movie to be good. I expected quite the opposite. But just how bad its politics were, even knowing they'd be bad, well, I was blown away. They are so-so-so bad. It's kind of remarkable that Pattinson is able to stay watchable amid the gut-wrenching mess around him. A movie about him and Ann and Jasper would've been so much better.
As to True Blood. Read the first book, thought it was okay, think the series is terrible. But the series is terrible in more a funny way, not a disturbing way, and it provides another outlet for the greatness that is Stephen Root - so I don't mind it, really.
Stephen Root? Did I leave the series before he showed up, or is he a small enough player (or was I lulled into such catatonia by the show's banality) that I totally missed him in the show?
I haven't seen TrueBlood on HBO yet... but I did watch the previews online. When I read the books, that's not how I pictured Sookie. I like Anna Paquin, just not in that role. It also seems as thought the storyline has been massively altered to make it more "interesting".
Yes, the storyline is indeed massively altered. There are characters you literally won't recognize - and new ones with new storylines too. It's sort of entertaining. But not what I'd call good. And don't get me started on the accents. I know some think it got better as it went along. Which is too bad for me, if true, since I kind of tuned out after a bit.
And as to Root - wasn't that who frequently naked guy (at the moment I forget his name) was keeping tied up in the basement?
Root is now on Pushing Daisies...delightfully so. Darn ABC.