dir: Chris Weitz
The problem, the problem with this is… let me just put my finger on the problem…
How do you make a good flick out of a terrible book? How do you get good performances out of terrible actors playing terrible characters? How do you achieve what alchemists have been trying and failing to do for centuries, being the transmutation of shit into gold?
I don’t know. Neither do the people making this flick.
No-one expects either Spanish Inquisitions or full scale refutations of the basics of physical chemistry in order to achieve the impossible, and I didn’t exactly go into this with an open mind. You cannot have read any of the despicable books by Stephanie Meyer in this series and have any hope either for a film version to be a decent film, or hope for humanity in general.
You just can’t. They’re bad, but they’re bad in the way that precludes being ironic about it, taking it as camp, as kitsch, as anything than what it is: a painfully earnest, unintentionally hilarious but soul deadening attack on human dignity.
That’s gilding the lily if I’ve ever gilded anything. Perhaps I’m exaggerating just a tad.
The thing is, though, watching this flick I can’t help but marvel at how demented its sexual politics are, and how unhealthy its depiction of ‘young’ love is. It doesn’t help that the running theme, lifted from Romeo and Juliet and pounded into our eyes and ears with multiple clumsy Romeo and Juliet references, is how cool it would be to die over obsessive love.
You know, I always thought what teenagers needed were more reasons to want to kill themselves. And here’s a bunch of books and flicks telling them just that.
The annals (that’s double n, you smut-merchants), as in the collective literature of nations, of romantic stories is, dependant on your nation and its psyche, either conformist in nature (ie. Snow White and Cinderella: where beautiful girls are hated by nasty older women but loved by handsome princes because, hell, they’re hot jailbait), or fatalistic (Indian, Turkish, Japanese or Shakespearean tales of true love perpetually thwarted, resulting in misery and death).
What the Twilight series serves up is essentially nothing new: a plain and unexceptional female protagonist who is a stand-in both for the author and the prime audience, falls in love with a brooding and cold older guy who will permanently look young, who seems to love her for some reason. He is controlling and bipolar, which only makes it hotter. He also is permanently on the verge of killing her, as are some members of his family, and, oh, he happens to be a vampire.
The only other guy that she could possibly love also is on the verge of killing her if he gets overexcited, and, oh yeah, he happens to be a werewolf who runs around in cut-off jeans and no shirt all the time, edging out the other two terrible actors for Worst Performance Ever in a Twilight flick.
But where the genius of this flick lies is in its comical struggle to find ways to fill the empty, pointless hours between the opening credits and the closing credits. And what a fucking wasteland that expanse truly turns out to be…
I will go out on a non-existent limb here and make a declaration, a bold declaration with no consequences and zero controversy: these films contain some of the worst dialogue, dumbest characters and most idiotic plots and storylines of any bestselling books or movie series that you can think of. There is nothing as bad as this out there. There is a level of stupidity displayed in the creation of this story that transcends and surpasses anything I’ve contemplated or seen in virtually any medium.
Even describing some of the shit that happens in this flick makes me shake my head in disbelief, in shame. I have no soft spot for Kristen Stewart as the lead character, though I have seen her in other flicks where she hasn’t been as terrible, but virtually everything she does or doesn’t do as this character (there’s a brilliant montage sequence where she sits in a chair unmoving for four months) makes me think that either she or the character is the worst person in the history of the world. She’s worse than 10 Stalins and 20 Hitlers.
Her finest moment is when she tells some vampires, “Um, ah, kill me. Um, kill, uh me instead.”
And lo, did I pray to whatever gods the vampires worship that this could have been so, but you don’t get to be a mega successful book series author of pap by killing off your main stupid character, no matter how loathsome she is.
Bella (Stewart) is suicidally depressed because Edward (Robert Pattinson) and his family of spangly non-blood drinking vampires move away. She, craving vampire goodness, makes do with a methadone substitute in the form of the perpetually shirtless Jacob (Taylor Lautner, who, for an actor, is less animated without CGI than a picture of an underwear model pasted onto a billboard).
An hour and a fucking half later, Edward incorrectly gets the impression that Bella has died, and so elects to kill himself, all of which is meant to sound better because Stephanie Meyer apologised in advance by bringing up Romeo and Juliet. See? It was good enough for them, so why can’t I use it as a major plot point, she seems to be whining. It doesn’t make it less stupid, Stephanie, it actually makes it worse. Far, far worse.
The hows and the whys of everything that happens from there on in, including instantaneous trans-Atlantic flights, ancient crone vampires who do bizarre things almost as a prank on the audience’s patience, deus ex machinas that are beyond sense and lazy, and a stupid main character who tries to conjure up scolding and dour visions of her retarded beloved by almost killing herself, all boils down to one ultimate fact: these stories are some of the dumbest, most leadenly written and expressed of all time, and their success only bodes ill for the human, let alone supernatural races.
These three characters, and the actors playing these moronic characters, compete with each other to see who can be the worst actor onscreen at any given moment. They keep outdoing each other. How Robert Pattinson keeps getting work as anything but a fire hydrant should be a mystery, but it isn’t. How anyone thought Taylor Lautner talking makes any sense is an even greater mystery. If he’d just stand there and not talk, that would be lovely.
How anyone could think that a pack of shave-chested boys running around in cut-off jeans would look like anything except the dumbest and gayest failed Mardi Gras float idea is the biggest mystery of all.
It was mostly disbelief and minor horror that must have been etched onto my face the whole torturous time I experienced this flick. I honestly can’t believe how dumb they all are. I mean, I know how dumb they are: I just can’t believe that they’re that goddamn dumb and that there exist enough people to celebrate them. I say this as someone who has watched plenty of stupid flicks and read bad books since ever I opened my eyes.
But these are a whole new class of awful. Stephanie Meyer writes like a dull teenage girl scrawling passionate but badly thought out plots on the sides of her schoolbooks, like an inarticulate person describing their dreams to you. You almost expect someone to be saying “And then a unicorn leapt out of nowhere, saving her from the mean girls who called her fat in the line at the cafeteria, and then the hot boy she’s always secretly loved finally asked her to prom, which made her mom so green with envy that she died, and then my brat sister gave back that scrunchy she’d borrowed without asking and then…”
And you know what? Bella’s internal monologue sounds just like that. And all of the dialogue between dull, lobotomised characters sounds like that. That’s what people want, apparently, and that’s exactly what they’re going to get.
On some level, on, I guess, the level that really matters, I should be looking at reviewing this flick properly. I should be giving you, the reader, the hallowed reader, an idea of whether it succeeds on its own merits, telling the story it sets out to tell, and whether it’s a fair rendering of the book or not. I mean, I should cut it some slack if all it’s doing, and all the expectation of the audience is, is that it deliver something in line with the books.
You know what? After having endured this immature, witless, puerile drivel for two hours, I’ve got no milk of human kindness or blood of inhuman misery left to spare on it.
This movie is terrible, and these people who derive any kind of orgasmic pleasure and meaning in their lives from these horrible books and watching these egregious flicks? I have virtually nothing intellectually, aesthetically or romantically in common with you. We are different species, and our kinds should not mix.
1 thing alone made me almost laugh in this turd of a flick, and that was these idiot characters debating whether to go see a flick called Face Punch out of 10
“When you left, and he left, you took everything with you. But the absence of him is everywhere I look. It's like a huge hole has been punched through my chest. But in a way, I'm glad. The pain is the only reminder that he was real. That you all were.” – dear diary: you’re retarded – The Twilight Saga: New Moon