Twilight – A protest review

First some backstory – My work requires me to head out of town every few months for a couple days, on the night away I generally stay at my Sister and Brother In Law’s for the evening and let my nephew and niece invent ways to strike serious “accidental” blows to my groin as they attempt to wrestle me into submission. I generally try to take down a decent film for the evening that isn’t too “way out” – no horror, nothing too extreme stuff – I’ve personally seen Kick-Ass and Black Dynamite 4 times each this year so they were out, I wanted to watch 9 again but it seemed a little dark… and Scott Pilgrim (which would have been IDEAL) doesn’t come out until next month here.

So this trip I went empty handed – worst mistake of my life.

The quick version goes that my sister sprained her ankle that arvo and was feeling “poorly”, and after I made a crack about her having all the Twilight books I was told “don’t knock it till you try it”.

A couple more “yeah rights” later and the convo changed – the Twilight DVD was slotted into the DVD player along with some “It would really mean a lot to me if you watched it” emotional blackmail that only family can get away with – family you stay with rent free – and I was left with 2 options.

  • Go to bed at 8 o’clock in the evening…
  • Watch a film that I could guarantee I wouldn’t like.

So 5 of the Brother in Law’s beers (I have a price!), a big bag of chips and 137 “Surely it’s nearly finished!’s” later here we are.

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I thought about the times in my life where I went to movies where I knew in advance that I really, really, REALLY wasn’t going to like them. I came up with 3: One Fine Day, Titanic and Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion.

Should I be at all embarrassed that all three came out within 6 months of each other, the same first 6 months I started dating my now wife in 97?

Or should I be proud of well over a decade of adhering to my one golden rule – not to deliberately watch shitty movies?

The first oneguyrambling.com Protest Review

Look up B, the moon is out.

First thoughts:

Deliberately and happily mainstream

Unambitious

Flat and lifeless

Non-threatening

Bland

The makers of the Twilight film didn’t need to try hard in the first place. After all it already had millions of potential ticket buyers clutching their pocket money against their training bras hoping against hope that the novels would be filmed.

What they probably didn’t expect is the horde of older women to show up too, the Mums, Grandmas and more mature women who had the same unrealistic dream as the target demographic: “That out there somewhere is a non-threatening, colourless, expressionless, stringy young boy who could keep a secret”; for them…

… Coincidentally the same dream Michael Jackson often had.

After watching Twilight I can say two things.

  1. Unfortunately (unlike the Michael Jackson song) it wasn’t all Bad Ya know it,
  2. But I definitely found it all the above adjectives listed above.

Another aside: seeing as my Sister has devoured the novels and DVDs many times each she unfortunately knows the story inside and out. So as well as watching a movie I didn’t want to even see I got the added bonus of having in room commentary switched firmly “on”, giving backstory, reasoning, justification and even confirmation all the while.

My favourite bit? Jacob is asked why he hasn’t been seen at school (or something – 3rd beer at the time) and replies along the lines of:

“I go to the school on the reservation”,

…moments later from the couch across the room:

“There’s a special school on the reservation that they go to.”

Oooooohhhhhh, NOW I get it!

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It has been crudely said that Twilight is foreplay for women, If I might further the crude analogy as a guy I can say that there is nothing wrong with innocent foreplay, but after a certain age if it doesn’t go anywhere it’s frustrating and ultimately infuriating.

Twilight is 2 hours of foreplay that goes nowhere… Apparently it takes until the second film for someone to take their shirt off – that’s 3 hours of blueballed boredom, deep glances, sighs and desperate longing for the unobtainable.

The film opens with a shirtless deer… good start. So Bella moves from the desert with her Mum to the rainy North West of the US to be with her Dad in a town called Fawkes. Fawkes is perpetually overcast and the default weather setting is “Rain”, though it never seems to rain on Ed’s high rise hair (that looks like it requires some form of scaffolding to stay in place) for some reason.

It is a big change for the young schoolgirl – though as she didn’t have a facial expression for the entire film you’d be hard pressed to know that. My in-room commentary told me that she hadn’t seen her Dad in quite a while so things are a tad awkward, which would be a good name for a character “Hi I’m Tad Awkward”… moving on.

(While I’m on the topic, does the fact that there is apparently so much more backstory and character information in the books make the film worse if you haven’t read them? Can you imagine watching Die Hard and having your husband saying things like “To really GET this you have to understand that his Grandfather fought in the war and that 4 months ago his dog was killed in a hit and run… makes sense now doesn’t it?” That’d give you the shits wouldn’t it? I vote Yes.)

So apparently Bella exudes some amazing chemistry and charisma I never saw as her new classmates hang off her every muttered lifeless word… and it ain’t too long before a cafeteria scene where one by one the major characters in the film all single file their way into the room Project Runway style – with a tasteful gap between appearances to allow the schoolmates to describe them individually.

The last of the introductees is Edward Cullen *SIGH*, a tall pasty guy with 90% of Conan O’Brien’s hair. We’ll be seeing altogether too much more of this doe-eyed dope later.

         The Cast: Apparently they all have names…            or something.

I’ll Fast Forward a while – this will be a spoiler free review – but it’s fair to say that Ed and Bella find each other similarly intriguing and entrancing, but in the early going it’s all a bit much for Ed who it seems can’t bear to be near her.

But guess who sits together in one of their classes?

A few minutes that felt like days elapse and Ed saves Bella from death in the car park – to think all he had to do was turn a blind eye and he could’ve saved mankind from this whole craze instead – the doctor who treats Bella is also a Cullen and instead of informing her that “I just need to take a blood sample… from your NECK!” he calmly gives her the OK and sends them off.

Bella asks how it was possible for Ed to save her when he appeared so far from the impending accident, she realises that Ed is “different” from the others. He is pasty and colourless, seems permanently confused around her and curious about her, he never eats, never bathes and doesn’t seem to fit into normal society. Bella gets on the internet – google/images her co-star Ashley Green naked – and a few clicks later starts to wonder if Ed might be…

British?

I mean a vampire?

So another life-sapping 30 minutes follows where the two get to know one another and spout nonsensical rambling gibberish dialogue that is always delivered in a soft “this is so damned important” tone.

I discovered that Ed’s dialogue in particular is pure comedy if you simply add “So suck it” to the end of every line he painstakingly utters. (By the way, couldn’t they find a pretty American guy who can’t act?)

Team Jacob explains to Bella at the local *cough* “Beach” that his mob the Quileute tribe and the Cullen’s haven’t gotten along for a loooong time, and the legend has it that an uneasy truce exists between them. Team Jacob sports an unruly mullet in this film, and mutters his dull dialogue with such a lack of passion that I momentarily thought his tribe were actually called the Qualuudes.

A quick checklist.

Of course eventually Ed can take no more and he breaks the rules, unleashing the POWA his dreamy Rainbow Brite (C) sparkly skin… what a guy. Bella is sold and immediately decides that this is the pasty 60 kg boy with no friends for her.

The tension is simply vomitous.

After the unveiling the facts come quick and fast, Ed’s been undead for over a century, meaning Bella is kinda like one of the Girls of the Playboy Mansion. (Though in Hugh Hefner’s case the longing glances are him around wondering if he just relieved himself in his nappy or not, the sighs are from the girls as they wait around for him to die and the desperate longing for the unobtainable would describe all of them… there’d finally be some tit though!)

Ed tells Bella the guff about his origins and the fact that they are really nice vampires who only drink the blood of animals – somebody call PETA to see how “nice” they think it is.

He also explains that the area actually does have some naughty vamps around that kill humans – that’s more important in the film than here.

Ed takes Bella home to meet the family and they head out for a game of baseball in the most cringeworthy scene in this film, and perhaps the last 5 years – it is truly lamentable. It is during this atrocity of a scene (which has nuttin’ to do with the film really so that ain’t a spoiler) that the game is gatecrashed, leading to a showdown that works about as effectively as an episode of the TV series Charmed, bad CGI, bad acting and poorly choreographed “action”, like the director said “Right you’ve seen them get their PG13 on, let’s just end this and cash our cheques”…

And that was it.

Once the film ended I realised that while Twilight was by no means the “worst” film of the last few years it is definitely one of the most inexplicably popular. Sure the odd shirtless teen and heavy breathing – but no touching – session is girl magnet stuff, but there are 67 of those films released every year.

Apparently the “hook” for women is the fact that Bella (sorry Kristin) is basically a plain Jane being lusted after by 2 *allegedly* hot guys. (Which by the way is the choice between necrophilia (undead) and bestiality *nice*.) Being a faceless and featureless woman allows the viewer to easily mentally graft her face onto Bella’s stick frame and place her square between what would be an imaginary (double) Team Ed and Jacob.

Now I’ve read about the Team Jacob and Team Edward T shirts that sold like hotcakes a couple years ago for women signifying their allegiance. Once again as a guy I think women are simply aiming too low. If you ask any random pudgy, no necked guy if he’d rather Scarlett Johansson or Jessica Alba the response would quite often be “can’t I have Both?”

So in closing if I see a middle aged woman wearing a “Double Team (me) Edward & Jacob”, remember where to send the royalties. Just don’t pick your poor kids up from school while you’re wearing it, that’s just wrong…

Husband / partners out there, if you suspect that your partner “isn’t really watching Twilight for the articles”, perhaps ask her to explain the films in two sentences. If the sentences include the words “Smokin’. Shirtless or Yowza” perhaps a quality square up might be to put the bodypainted cheerleaders calendar back up on the wall?

Final Rating – 6 / 10. Reaches the (tragically) low goals that the filmmakers set out to attain. Soppy dialogue, vulnerable girls and pretty predators. Chicks might like it, but that doesn’t mean you have to subject your husbands / partners to this crap though.

How could something this awesome slip by???

Apparently this was quite a Team Ed heavy film and the second in the cash-cow, I mean franchise, is more Team Jacob… I hope I never find out.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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