Let’s get awkward.
Twilight was one of those cultural forces I tried my best to stay away from. I am sure that sounds condescending, but the films looked like rubbish to me. With all of the debate over whether Marvel films are true cinema or not I think we forgot about this juggernaut of a series that proves we don’t deserve to exist.
Those who follow Jay Hates Movies on Facebook can make movie suggestions. My sister suggested this series, so… thanks?
The old joke is that anything is a better love story than Twilight and this is true. A story about two meth heads trying to have sex with a boot filled with piss would be better than this.
We follow human android Bella as she moves from Phoenix to Forks (really?) in Washington state. We get solipsistic narration from Bella that I assume is trying to be deep, but the deadpan delivery and terrible lines just make the whole thing seem like an awkward, albeit passionate, high school journal.
Bella is immediately accepted into the community in scenes that drag out and are filled with horrid dialogue. Stephanie Meyer is a crappy author who doesn’t know how people communicate and crappy director Catherine Hardwicke couldn’t be bothered to edit anything. They seem to want us to think Forks is a horrible town, but it seems like any other small city with an unusually high ratio of nice people.
We are then introduced to the Cullens, an incestuous family everyone is obsessed with (incestuous might be a bit of a stretch seeing as they are vampires, but then again, Meyer seems to have a warped view of human sexuality). Bella immediately becomes infatuated with Edward, who looks like he is trying not to vomit and/or is about to start masturbating in every scene. I could empathize with the former, I had to take a break halfway through due to nausea. That’s right, this movie made me feel physically ill (and I don’t think A Siberian Film is that bothersome).
The relationship between the two develops at a snail’s pace as Edward goes from wanting to kill Bella to wanting to love her. The whole thing is odd, I want to say stupid, but this is more insidious than that. By the end of the film, Bella places her entire existence into Edward, and the toxicity of their relationship is jarring. This is a sick film, and I don’t make these kinds of claims lightly. The relationship is terrible, abusive, and could be presented as such by a director with any artistic merit. As it is presented here, this shit is supposed to be romantic.
It is tragic that (probably) the best-selling female led fantasy does everything it can to place women into the back seat. Bella’s agency is continuously diminished throughout the narrative. I guess they wanted this to be dangerous or sexy, but in the end, it is just pathetic and teaches a horrific message. Coupled with the gender issues is abstinence pornography, which is equally problematic. I feel like so much of the dead space in the story could have been worked out if the two of them would have just fucked and gotten it over with. But, no, this must also have a Christian message about waiting for marriage and all that stuff.
Let’s also not forget the town is named Forks.
To say this film is a technical mess is an understatement. The special effects are embarrassingly inept, and the camera work is shit—at best. Let’s just throw all the trends of the day in here and hope no one notices the lack of artistic purpose. Pacing, dialogue, sound, and awful music are all major problems here.
However, despite all the technical issues, gender issues, and potential for this to be actually harmful to young people, the thing that pissed me off the most was how amateurish the writing is. This is simply a story that is not told well. How this went on to become a billion-dollar franchise is nothing else if not a tragedy.
The funniest thing about this series is that academics (myself included) didn’t bother to see what sort of trash was being smuggled in within this inept narrative. Nothing should be beneath criticism, even something as horrifically incompetent as this. People bought this narrative hook, line, and sinker, and we should all be concerned about this. This film is a sin against art.
I haven’t even mentioned the whole pedophilia aspect of the narrative (90-year-old dude with a 17-year-old gal). Maybe I’ll have time if we do the others, but I really don’t want to (note: we went ahead and continued on. I wish I would have taken my own advice as I edit them all right now). Taking a fork and shoving it into your ear would be more enjoyable than watching this crap. Avoid this one at all costs.