On Monday night I saw the movie Twilight. I would not have dreamt to see this in a theatre because, well, I have a toddler, a shortage of available babysitters and better things to do with my free time when I finally have some. It takes something potentially really good or fun to drag me to a movie theatre these days and some teen drama is not it.
I should start by saying that I never read any of the books and so I’m speaking of the movie alone and not getting into the whole book versus movie thing a lot of the fans go on about. That’s a whole other matter.
The reason I finally got around to seeing this movie is because it’s been out for over a year and people are still talking about it, mostly to trash it, but still, and I figured it was time I decided for myself.
And guess what? I kinda liked it. Well, to be completely honest, when they get to the scene about vampires playing baseball it lost me a bit, but before that I was going along with the whole thing. Something about the movie spoke to my inner 14 year old girl.
I couldn’t possibly say this is a good movie. I am able to enjoy some pretty terrible ones but that doesn’t mean I go around telling people to watch them – I have seen a movie about a killer tongue and laughed my head off but would not recommend it. That said, Twilight is little more than the equivalent of porn to a teenage girl. But my question is: what’s wrong with that? Teenage girls are just as entitled to masturbatory aids as boys and good ones are hard to come by.
I know times have changed and there are more 13 year olds out there having sex than we would care to imagine, but just because little girls are stupid enough to think that having sex before they’re ready makes them seem more grown up doesn’t mean they enjoy it as much as they enjoy the fantasy of some mysterious looking guy with intense eyes who says he can’t live without them. To a girl that’s probably more powerful than a pair of really big boobs to a boy. It is what it is and girls and boys have different switches. Doesn’t mean we don’t care about the male body, but the face, expression and emotion are just as important if not more.
The reason so many people hate Twilight is because it was promoted as a vampire movie when it isn’t. I love vampire stories. As a teenager I read Dracula, in college I devoured Anne Rice’s vampire books (even ignoring the ridiculous notion to make Lestat a rock star) and my favourite Sting song in Moon over Bourbon Street. I say this to explain that I think I understand why vampire stories are so attractive to people and why they get upset when someone tramples on them. I think vampire fans like the fact that they know the rules to this alternate universe that has vampires in them and ‘no sunlight’ is a pretty big one. When the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula came out with a vampire walking the streets during the day it was just as irritating. But I love that movie because the beginning, with the nosferatu-looking Gary Oldman and the shadow puppets, is really fun, and a lot of the main scenes are actually quite loyal to the book. But to have vampires that not only walk around in sunlight but go to high school! Now that’s just spitting in the face of the whole myth.
Some people also seem to look down on the movie because Twilight is not a horror film but there are two sides to the vampire theme. One is the straightforward monster who drinks human blood and kills to get it, but that is not the part that attracts people the most. The romantic and sexual component has always been very strong in vampire tales. The vampire who is drawn to a human for more than blood is a recurrent theme. Dracula travels the world in search of Mina – it’s a love story and it has always been. And that is the side that more recent movies and books has been exploring, now that the sexual component no longer needs to be hidden and disguised.
So to watch Twilight I had to ignore the vampire mythology and just treat it as any other romantic story to see where it took me. In Twilight, I think the vampire angle is only important in the sense that it adds an element of danger to the relationship between the two characters and danger can be exciting.
The reason the movie works is because the two leads are really good and the chemistry between them is amazing. The long lingering ‘staring into each others eyes’ scenes, are exactly what is required for the perfect chick movie. Just the time it takes to get to that first kiss and the tension that builds until then is precisely why it’s a truly enjoyable movie for the right audience
As to editing, I think they go from hate to love a bit fast but maybe that’s also because I’m getting too used to watching tv shows that take forever to get anywhere. But the romance is dead on.
On the downside, the second half of the movie goes downhill a bit. There’s the baseball scene I mentioned earlier – it’s unnecessary and stupid – and there’s the ending – at prom? Really? It’s been done in every single teen movie since the 80’s! Enough already!
The second half of the movie is the ‘action’ portion, with Bella on the run, facing the evil vampire with the ridiculous pony tail. I couldn’t stand the guy in the O.C and he’s even worse here. If only they had a villain to match the leads it wouldn’t be so bad.
Maybe I’ll try reading the book someday to see if it’s any better.