Saturday, June 6, 2009

This Twilight is for a different Zone

Another one off the shelves of the L.A. Library.

Twilight (2008)

Okay, I finally watched this movie. And you know what -- I didn’t hate it.

I can absolutely understand why its demographic – mostly ‘tween girls – would go all swoony over it. It’s the classic Romeo and Juliet forbidden love story, except you have a normal human girl and a guy from way the other side of the tracks, as in an aristocratic vampire dude.

The author of the novel, Stephanie Meyer, played fast and loose with traditional vampire lore, but who the heck doesn’t these days. These vamps don’t shun the sunlight because it will fry ‘em up Cajun style; instead they stick to the shadows because direct sunlight causes them to go, as Jar Jar Binks might say, “all asparkley,” as if their skin were imbedded with tiny diamonds (or maybe cubic zirconium). But their thirst for blood remains, which is a bad thing for Bella Swan (the very serious Kristen Stewart), because she and her blood is intoxicating to them, especially the brooding, massively-maned Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).

I am a big fan of Joss Whedon’s phenomenal TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Early in that first season, Buffy, all of 16 years old, falls in love with the brooding, perfectly maned (is there a THEME here?) vampire Angel. They had all the typical dating/relationship problems: should she bring a stake on their first date; if they stayed out too late, would he burn up; where do you eat if she’s a vegetarian and he drinks blood; what does she tell her friends and more importantly her Mom? And when Buffy and Angel finally took the big step and slept together, Angel turns into the ULTIMATE creep - not only does he not call her the next day, but he attacks those closet to her and murders one of her friends.

I bring this up because I thought Twilight might be traveling down this same road. But whereas Buffy was a much more mature take on this story and these themes, Twilight is firmly entrenched in its Young Adult readership (now viewership) demographic. There are a lot of dialogue exchanges between Bella and Edward of this variety: “I’d rather die, than stay away from you.” I dream about being with you forever.” “You are my life now.” Are you swooning yet?

I wasn't swooning but I can understand why this movie's target audience would be all palpitating and such. But I can't understand the hate some people have for this film. It's like damning oranges for not being able to give you apple juice. It is what it is, and it's certainly not hiding that fact. If you want to take a chaste, romantic trip down young lovers lane, then scope out Twilight. If you are in the mood for a very good, very adult take a young vampire meets human story watch Let The Right One In.


  1. Beth and I saw this at the dollar theater a while back (she has read all of the books). I must say the cheese factor was higher than even I expected. Due not so much to all the swoonery, and the movie taking itself waaaaay too seriously, as to the camp special effects. Try as they might they couldn't make any of the fast climbing/leaping/flying/crashing into floor boards etc look like anything other than mediocre wire work.

    I would single out Billy Burke for his excellent performance as Bella's father. Seriously though, I thought he was great and captured the whole "concerned father trying to connect with his distant daughter" character very well--it was a credible performance probably better than the part would have been given in another hand. (He also bears a striking similarity to Dean Stockwell)

    The movie's good for a laugh otherwise. The one scene that had us both nearly in the aisles is where Bella walks into Biology class for the first time and Edward gets a blast of her, um, "natural scent" courtesy of the reciprocating fan. Edward's reaction reminded us both of an out-take from Andy Samberg's SNL classic "Jizzed in My Pants".

  2. LOL at the "Jizzed in My Pants" ref! Dead on! They seriously went overboard on Edward's reactions to Bella's "scent," esp. with her walking in front of that stupid big-ass fan. What, a WIND MACHINE wasn't avail?

    With Twilight, at least I wasn't bored silly as I was with The Frighteners.

  3. THANK YOU. I'm seriously sick of people hating on Twilight (books and movie/s) so much. Stephenie Meyer is not a great writer (she wasn't even an okay writer when she started), and the franchise doesn't really deserve all the popularity it's getting, but there's nothing horribly wrong with it. You just have to take it at face value, which I guess some teenagers think they're too smart to do.

    And I agree with the guy above, the special effects sucked...I wish they'd made an anime instead of a live-action movie, then the "sparkles" wouldn't have looked like excessive sweat.