Monday, May 13, 2013

Movie Review: Twilight

I'm going to start off by bitching about my phone needing a new battery, because I have a phone fixation and can't help myself. I HOPE it's the battery, because I ordered a new one. Though I suppose if it weren't the battery, I have insurance on the phone, it could be replaced and I'd have a spare battery which wouldn't be the worst thing. I dunno, I've just had PHONE ANXIETY, which you know is bad because I wrote it in capital letters. "LET ME HELP YOU," I beg. "JUST TELL ME WHAT'S WRONG AND I WILL FIX IT." Frankly, I've had some charger issues for almost a year now and I'm thinking it might almost be time to pick up a backup again, even though now I'm starting to wonder if maybe the MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of chargers I've had to buy and either return or throw away in disgust weren't the problem, and it was the battery all along.

But anyway, onto the real topic, which is Twilight. The manpanion and I have been watching the movies, because I hate watching Twilight alone and he's super nice. (Twilight is like good spaghetti or any of life's other blessings- better when shared.) I'll be doing a review on each of the films, but I think I'll do at least this one a little differently than the Haunting in CT review, which is to say, I won't do a liveblog-style post. Basically all you need to know about the plot is that Edward is a vampire and Bella is in love with him. There's a plot about Bad Vampires who show up near the end and want to eat Bella, but that only lasts for about thirty seconds and generally has no impact on anything. God forbid there be an actual conflict to detract from the sparkling. I've seen Twilight about four times now, and while I like it better each time, I also kind of consider it to be a two hour prologue to the rest of the movies- literally, all it does is set up the Edward/Bella relationship and introduce characters you'll never really see again. I mean, I guess it also gave someone an excuse to make Robert Pattinson wear a lot of lipstick and at one point Rosalie has on these gorgeous shoes and there's a close-up, so that kind of justifies the movie's existence. All that being said, I'm going to focus on the part of the plot that seemed to matter- that Edward and Bella are in LOVE, and they don't need silly things like REASONS. At one point, my boyfriend pointed out that this was a bunch of bunk, as if to carefully gauge my grasp on reality, because Edward being a vampire isn't even the most unrealistic part of the movie. It IS a bunch of bunk- like, they don't seem to have any particular reason to want to be together, they literally just one day profess love and that's that. And the thing is, I could see reasons why they might love each other- maybe Edward would love someone who accepted him, and maybe Bella would like to be with someone interested in taking care of her and keeping her safe, but they both seem to hate things like that- Edward is vehemently opposed to the idea of Bella accepting him, or worse, becoming a vampire too; Bella seems disdainful when Edward wants to display generosity toward her. And you know, I don't think that the fans would've been completely opposed to watching them fall in love realistically, with compelling reasons and shared experiences that bring them closer- I can totally see how Bad Vampires hunting Bella would bring them closer! BEING SEEN AS PREY IS A BONDING EXPERIENCE. But it doesn't work that way, because their love was already as great as could be or some such tomfoolery. I do like that they're both horribly awkward around each other at first- I love how Robert Pattinson plays Edward, because he's weird and awkward and not all that great at socializing, which is EXACTLY how a vampire would be.

I guess the thing that I like about the films is that they're told through the Female Gaze. I'm not talking about the "eye candy", because I genuinely think that the only reason why women get hot and bothered for Edward is because of the way he looks at Bella, like every time he sees her, affection starts to ooze out of his pores, because it just can't be contained. Cleolinda Jones pointed this out in a post of hers once, and I 100% agree that what makes the movies (and books) so compelling is the massive amounts of tenderness that Edward displays for Bella. I think that what women want isn't a boyfriend who sparkles and desperately wants to exsanguinate them- they want that same tenderness directed at them. People love to holler about how ALL OF THESE WOMEN WANT TO BE MARRIED TO A 100 YEAR OLD STALKER BECAUSE LADIES JUST LOVE SPARKLY SHIT and I know that you're not cool if you don't make fun of Twilight, but it's not as though Stephenie Meyer just happened to tap into some secret fantasy coded into the DNA of anyone with two X chromosomes. Men talk a lot about how women are SO COMPLICATED while making fun of things women like without considering WHY they like it. It's not very hard to understand that women like when men are vulnerable enough to be honestly tender- and if you find that you can't do this, you're likely trying to do it for the wrong woman.

This is meandering, so I'll give my overall opinion. Twilight is my least favorite of all the movies, but I think it's still worth watching because not only do the movies get better as they go along (Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2 are honestly two of my favorite movies), but it also has one of the most romantic scenes I've ever watched- where Bella is asking to be a vampire, and Edward says, "Isn't a long and happy life with me enough?" Flawed as it may be, when this series gets it right, it REALLY gets it right. I feel like it's the right story told by the wrong person, which unfortunately means that the focus is pulled in completely the wrong direction.

Incidentally, while I would consider this movie the worst one out of all five, it's also the hardest for me to make fun of. I really think that Catherine Hardwicke was a bit tongue-in-cheek about things like Edward "dazzling" people- one of the funniest bits is watching him talk to Bella and her friends in this completely deadpan manner while the three girls act totally lovestruck. I give it five completely bloodless bodies out of ten!

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