Saturday, May 15, 2010

Twilight New Moon or "Dude, Where's My Heroine." 5/16/2010

I have Netflix now so I watch a lot of movies that I would normally probably pass on. Even though I am not a big fan of the vampire genre, I decided to give the Twilight franchise a look. I had seen the first one with my daughter some time ago but nodded off quite a bit so I revisited it. I found it to be watchable. I particularly enjoyed the vampire baseball game and I thought the film contained a great, but hackneyed line: “I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore.” It was a great line to me as it pretty much summed up a vampire/human relationship.

I have not read any of the books, nor will I. So my opinions are totally from the film adaptation. Those that jump to the defense of the story will not convince me of its merit.

My biggest problem with the franchise in general is that there is no one to root for. I like a strong protagonist in my films. My favorite character is Edward’s cute and crazy sister, Alice, played by the beautiful Ashley Greene. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a large enough part to keep me interested. The main character, Bella, has absolutely no personality and even less judgment. She is eager to give up her soul to hang out with Edward, who is no great shakes. But she will glom onto any monster that gives her the time of day. If a zombie or a Sasquatch shows up, Edward and Jake are history. She does not have enough charisma to be as surly and moody as she is. In the short term, I can endure lack of character from a truly beautiful woman, but she is not attractive enough to be that lacking. That is why I quit going to the Dog Park. Too many totally unappealing but caustic women lurking about.

Bella’s dad is the local law and he makes Barney Fife look like Sherlock Holmes. It is hard to determine if he is a worse father or peace officer. He takes for granted that people are being murdered in the woods on a daily basis and makes little or no effort to investigate nor does he make any attempt to prevent people from venturing into those woods, not even his daughter. Chief Martin Brody wanted to close the beach after a single shark attack.

Chief Swan also allowed Bella to stay in a vegetative state for months, after she was dumped by Edward, without any intervention other than checking on her when she continually screamed with night terrors. Also, for a police chief, he seemed to take no notice of the many permanent scarring injuries that his daughter continually sustained. Disappearing to Italy for 3 days didn't even get her grounded.

The guy who plays Edward is the goofiest looking lead character in a movie since ET. His head looks like it was drawn by Picasso and his standard facial expression is the same one Skooter features when he is having a particularly difficult bowel movement or Corky Thatcher trying to solve for Pi. And it doesn’t seem to hurt the storyline that he is a 100+ year old pedophile. He loves Bella primarily because he can’t read her mind. With that logic in place I would fall in love with every woman I have ever encountered. For a guy a century old he is pretty naive. Also after a hundered plus senior classes, Bella is the best he can do? A dull, emotionless, desperate, girl next door. His previous educational experiences must have been military academies or home-schooling. I couldn't have resisted just once in a while going out for sports. We know he can play baseball.

Jake is a nicer looking guy but he attends high school on the reservation, so Bella reduces him to the "friend” zone, though she spends much of her time lusting after his lupine body. Jake can restore a motorcycle; no make that two, from junk to new condition in nothing flat. I lived in the middle of a reservation and I can assure you that 16 year old Native Americans do not have that skill set, or virtually any skill set. Bella also took it in stride that Jake morphed into a werewolf right before her eyes. I don’t think any relationship I ever had would have survived a morphing. Also, there was no full-moon involved. They stole the Incredible Hulk’s “You won’t like me when I’m mad.”

Vampire legend and lore has carefully been crafted so that we all have a basic understanding of their habits, limitations, and abilities. Not these Vampires. Fact: Vampires sleep in Caskets. Not these. They don’t sleep at all. Fact: Vampires cannot go into sunlight. These Vampires get pretty in the sun. Fact: Vampires turn into bats. Nope. Fact: Vampires can be killed by a stake through the heart. Uh uh. Gotta tear these ones apart. Fact: Vampires have to be invited into your home. Edward is a Peeping Tom as well as a Pedophile.

It is indicative of the way I view movies that I can accept Apotamkin and Lycanthrope roaming the north woods of Washington State but am put off by the fact that Bella not only has a passport and huge amounts of cash/credit, but carries it with her so that an immediate flight to Italy is possible. If I allow that to pass unchallenged, I have to get my mind around the fact that she flew roundtrip to Italy from Washington State, completed her mission, and returned in 3 days. Never mind that Forks is over 200 miles from Sea-Tac Airport and the Italian village they traveled to was remote. Never mind that in today’s airline world, I cannot be guaranteed to fly roundtrip to Charlotte in 3 days and that is without an encounter with the Volturi.

As I said, the first installment of Twilight was watchable, though not worth wasting a Netflix pick on. The New Moon chapter was a real snoozer and I am dumber for having sat through it. I could have used my pick to get something with merit, like Witless Protection.


Anonymous said...

haha. I haven't seen any of these so must have been Tia you watched it with. I actually do enjoy Vampire movies like Interview with a Vampire and The Lost Boys but never found any interest in seeing the Twilight movies or reading the books. Good to see that I am not missing much. Love you. Carly

myrtle beached whale said...

I must have watched it with Judy. In fact, now that I think about it, I am sure I did. You and I watched so many movies I just figured this was one of them.

Roger Yale said...

If I pass on the entire undertaking, I have a feeling from this that it will be "no great shakes." Nice commentary/critique, Mr. Reed.

Songwraith said...

Appreciate the run-down (primarily because of the safety feature--if I tune in by mistake while surfing--I'll run to the nearest eye-wash station)!
Returning the favor, I read the book (and good move--not to). Reading the book might be an acceptable substitute for water-boarding (but not nearly as humane).

Blondie said...

I only read 2 and a half of the Twilight books because I was curious about all the hype. They are definitely "Chick Lit"/Fantasy that was never intended for a male audience. They appeal to women and adolescent girls precisely BECAUSE Bella is so ordinary and dull. Edward is gorgeous, rich, intelligent, AND tortured, yet he finds boring, plain Bella to be "irresistible," and he obsesses over her--it is a complete and total Girl Fantasy. For boring, plain girls/women (like myself and 80 percent of the female population), that's a dream come true. According to today's culture, if you are female and "non-slutty" (aka boring and plain), men will either treat you like you crap or ignore you completely. Girls still want a Hero, but they would prefer one who is capable of devotion (aka "fidelity.") Sadly, in today's world, there are few examples, so women and girls turn to Twilight. Too often, the men we encounter in real life have failed us.

myrtle beached whale said...

Unfortunately, girls get treated poorly and are "failed" by men because they have no interest in a good man, they want a bad boy. Then they are heartbroken when the pierced, tattooed, derelict leaves them pregnant in a trailer house. I am not sure how the soulless bloodsuckers in Twilight are any improvement over the ones in real life. Perhaps that boring and plain girl should seek out her own kind.

Blondie said...

If you had read the books, you would know that Edward was well-educated and well-read, and that was part of his appeal. And don't try to play the "Nice Guy" card because every Nice Guy I have ever known Hooked Up with Crazy Psychos! (Explain THAT one!?)

I am a Nice Girl, and I loathe and despise Bad Boys (and always have.) My first Celebrity Crush was on John Wayne when I was 10 years old and by the time I was old enough to date, there were no men out there like him, so I was always disappointed...

myrtle beached whale said...

Guilty of hooking up with crazy psychos. I am a great judge of wine and a horrible judge of women.

Well, in the films, Edward is portrayed as a rather soporific,uninteresting, bloke, who repeated his senior year of high school over 100 times. I am not sure if that could be construed as well-educated. Surely he must have taken some electives somewhere along the way.

Greg Wainright said...

I've had a hard time getting into these movies. I've never made it through a whole movie, although I've tried several times. The kids love them though and usually watch at least one of them on dvd in the car on road trips(until I request that they switch movies). These movies make me drousy because they are mostly dialogue with no music in the background(like soap operas on tv). It's like listening to golf on tv.....naptime. At least throw some exciting music in here and there...Ok, kids in the back, time to put on "Oh Brother Where Art Thou"... Ok, I'm awake now.