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…