I watched the first two Twilight movies.. and lived (and remained a straight male) to tell about it.
I went in to this ‘experiment’ making every attempt not to judge Twilight by the drooly half insane rabid female and questionably hetero male fans. The movie hype machine is mighty powerful, at times, and insane fans can be a huge turnoff to anyone who might otherwise give a movie a chance. I walked out of Tim Burton’s original “Batman” right into a mall kiosk full of tshirts. The wave of hype caught me after I saw the movie, otherwise I might never have seen it in theaters. I still haven’t seen all of “Forest Gump” because the hype was so powerful that I had zero interest in seeing it. When a movie has hype AND fans are irrationally enamored with the characters, that’s a double turnoff for me.. but I decided to try to push all that aside and watch these two objectively. I told myself, going in, that this was going to be “Lost Boys” with a slightly different slant. Just another goofy vampire flick, not to be taken too seriously. I think that approach worked, for the most part.
The first thing that struck me is that, besides Bella and Edward, the other characters were all fairly ‘normal’ for a teen-centric fantasy type movie. Within that kind of universe, they were all pretty believable. I really expected a lot of the characters to be the ones that appeal to the drooly fans as much as Bella and Edward, but maybe that would have drawn away from the whole purpose of the Bella/Edward interaction: a Pavlovian “Incredible Machine” of drool and drama production aimed at pulling emotional strings in those who long for a better romantic life. And people say “Avatar” was engineered for emotional response..
Edward and Bella, on the other hand, are almost farcical parodies of the angsty helpless girl and the metrosexual douchebag vampire. The other students seem “real enough” for a movie, even if they’re a little fakey, they’re still not as exagerated and overly dramatic as Edward and Bella. And who knew 300+ year old vampires drove little lunchbox cars? And Bella? Could she have had any more of a “I smell shit” face the ENTIRE movie? I kept thinking of The Oatmeal’s analysis of the book where he dubs her “Pants” because the character is so plain and non-description that she might as well not have a name, that she’s just a generic shell that any woman could wear, like pants (get it?), and step into that role and pretend that she was Bella. Anyway, with all due respect to Kristen Stewart, it was touch looking at her facial expression most of the movie. I felt in pain FOR her having to hold that expression.
A couple of nagging points:
- “Vegetarian vampires”? Ok, I get the analogy, but that was groan-worthy.
- Some of the worst trapeze work I’ve seen in ages. They totally punted there and it’s almost shameful, in the age of such amazing special effects, that people still shortcut some effects like this.
- Speaking of bad effects, when Edward jumps into the truck when she’s driving, it totally looked like a car standing still with a greenscreen backdrop. That effect won’t age well at all. It looked like the outtake reels when some actors runs up beside a supposedly moving car and makes the actors in the scene do a virtual spit take.
- We get it.. you kill a vampire by “tearing them apart and burning the pieces”. Repeating it verbatim twice with the delivery of a “nod and wink to the camera” earned another groan. Don’t they teach writers to reword things a little sometimes?
- At this point in the story, Jacob doesn’t know that werewolves really exist. He treats his (grand?) father’s stories with heavy skepticism and seems hesitant to even mention them because they’re so silly sounding, yet he’s still really REALLY opposed to Bella hanging out with Edward. Didn’t seem like jealousy, it seemed like he was reading ahead and was already in the “wolf vs vamp” mode. Just an odd shift in character that wasn’t played very well. In an 80′s campy fantasy flick like this, the character would have strongly cautioned the lead character and probably come to their rescue later aided by one of the Coreys or something.
One thing that I was amazed with were the end credits. They were really amazingly well done. Silly thing to compliment, but you gotta give props where they’re due, right?
Now for an intermission before we get into “New Moon”….
I noticed some odd similarities of some characters and other people we may know.
Edward Cullen (Image Source) vs Christopher Walken (Image Source)
Mike Newton (Image Source) vs Edward Norton (Image Source)
Jacob vs Sharkboy (Image Source)
Oh that’s right… they’re not different people. From shark boy to wolf boy. What’s next? Sloth man!!!!!!!!!
Ok, time for the lightning round. On to “Twilight: New Moon!”
Looked like it was filmed immediately after the first one. I don’t care to research if it was or not, but watching the two back to back, it held together nicely. Kudos on that!
Edward upgraded his car! WOO HOO for corporate sponsorship! It’s not James Bond, Bourne or Transporter upgrade, but it’ll do.
Edward’s a little warmer, Bella’s a little less “I smell shit” and more like your standard movie emo girl. A step in the right direction.
Jacob bulks up. Oh for Christ’s sake. I know it works into the story and all, but it was a bit of a dramatic change when everything else seemed to happen 3 days after the end of the first movie.
Jacob’s gives dreamcatchers as a birthday present? Really? Was it a choice between that, a chief’s headdress and a tomahawk at the reservation gift shop? We get it, he’s Native American. I think in 2010, they’re allowed to shop at last at Walmart, if not jewelry stores or something. Call me progressive.
Volturi.. vulture.. vulture? vulturo.. *ahem*.. *coughs up squirrel* ( 0:46 )
The birthday party that gets totally out of hand looked like a setup for a larger betrayal later, but it was just to overly dramatacize the point of her being human is an issue around the bloodlusty vampries. QQ
Bella’s attempts to risk her life were retarded and contrived. I know what they were going for, but it wasn’t played out naturally. Just poor writing/acting in general.
Jacob chops off his hair to become one of the “Stepford Wolves” (what? packs can’t have individuals? do they really ALL have to look exactly the same?) and somehow becomes a Native American Matt Damon? WTF? Blarg. More drool farming from all the prepubescent girls and like minded adult women and men.
And finally some choice dialog nuggets:
- “Guess the wolf’s out of the bag” – groan
- “Can’t really run with vampires… cuz THEY’RE FAST!” – double groan
- “We’re faster… FREAKED OUT YET??” – ouch groan..
- “Can’t you just find a way to stop?” – So… being a werewolf is exactly the same as being gay. I got it. You learn to groom yourself properly, buff up, oil your chest, hang out with a lot of other guys who do the same thing, have gay sex in the woods… in a way, it’s exactly like being gay.
All in all… the first movie was ok. The baseball thing amused me, I like the fact that they were reconceptualizing the vampire thing. The sparkley skin, not so much, but the baseball thing made me chuckle a little. Until they suddenly tried to go from Lost Boys to Blade with the bad vampires. In general, it was semi cohesive and not too shabby, despite the drool farming. New Moon improves on some points, but falls apart on other points. The story and execution were less cohesive and it was kind of a mess, in general.
I can’t wait for the third installment. Maybe they’ll go all True Blood on us and introduce about 10 new supernatural creatures for Bella to cut herself over.