A Blast From the Past
Back in the good ol’ days when we were both still in college (AKA last winter), Spider Monkey was co-editor of the Arts and Entertainment section of her college newspaper. She, along with her fellow co-editor, decided they needed to review the Twilight phenomenon for a special full-color insert the paper was putting out after New Years. The following is their intense review. Spider Monkey’s co-editor has opted to choose a code name, too, and will be referred to here as Stupid Lamb (yeah, she’s pretty brilliant, too!).
Thoughts on Twilight
About three things we are absolutely positive. First, publishing this article may land us in the witness protection program. Second, there’s a part of us — a very potent part — that holds an absolute digust for all things Twilight. And third, we are unconditionally and irrevocably certain that we are not in love with Edward Cullen. And we hate his hair.
Stupid Lamb: I first met Edward Cullen on Facebook. I only noticed his uncanny resemblance to a friend — but with a significantly more alarming eyebrow issue. Girls, I noticed, were falling all over themselves for this Cullen guy.
I thought very little of this apparently “dreamy” vampire, until he started cramping my style. Every time I decided to waste time looking at Facebook Bumper Stickers, I was forced to look at page after page of heart-throbbingly created stickers, each claiming to be the future “Mrs. Cullen,” and spawning a chartreuse hatred for someone named Bella. Then came the News Feed Statuses. “Susie McEdwardfan is saving herself for Edward Cullen!” and “Lindsay LovesTwilight is DAMNIT, Edward Cullen, why aren’t you real?!”
Perhaps the most concerning sticker I found read, “Twilight is more than just a movie or a book, it’s a way of life, a state of mind, an obsession, a fantasy, a separate world, an escape, a saga, an inspiration, an addiction… must I go on?”
Um, hi. Does this sound unhealthy to anyone else? I’d love for someone to explain to me how Twilight is a way of life. Really? Do you lay around in the sunshine staring at your boyfriend as he (wince) sparkles in the sunlight? Do you seriously not mind that he watches you while you sleep? And you’re honestly okay with the fact that he wants to eat your flesh? Hmm. Now that’s a thinker.
However, I applaud the few Facebookers who have created especially entertaining anti-Twilight bumper stickers. Our favorite: “For every new Twilight bumper sticker I see, I’m going to kick a box of puppies.” Bravo, friends.
Spider Monkey: I got my first taste of the Edward phenomenon while I was abroad in New Zealand. A German friend of mine was planning her week-long trip to Australia around the release date of a movie I hadn’t even heard of — “Twilight.” Since the film premiered in Australia two weeks before it came out in New Zealand, she wanted to make sure she saw it as soon as possible. I didn’t share what I was thinking with her — that it seemed sort of ridiculous to fly nearly 1,500 miles just to see a movie — but instead decided to keep my mouth shut until I at least found out what the movie was about.
After thumbing through a hoard of unnecessarily enthusiastic fansites, I wasn’t sure that “Twilight” was my sort of thing. It seemed to be attracting pre-pubescent girls and over-40 women lusting after a fictional character who drinks blood and looks like death. Not what immediately comes to mind when I think of the phrase “dream guy.”
A few days later, I found myself in a bookstore in front of a shelf of shiny, black “Twilight” books. I decided to page through one, just to see what all the fuss was about. I like fantasy, after all (you don’t even want to know how many times I’ve seen “The Lord of the Rings”), so, logically, I should like “Twilight,” right?
Wrong. After leafing through a few pages of “Twilight,” I couldn’t even force myself to read the synopsis on the back. I draw the line somewhere — namely at bad writing. I’m sorry, but if you really need to use three adverbs and two adjectives in a sentence to describe two people looking at each other, you need to go back to Writing 101. I wonder if Meyer holds the record for most uses of the word “perfect” in a novel? Someone should check that out; there could be money in it for her. Or, even better, her use of the phrase “my personal,” as in, “Forks was literally my personal hell on earth.” Well, it should be, with that kind of writing.
I haven’t completely given up on the series, though. Simply because I’d rather not be stoned to death, or excommunicated from society, I try to flip through “Twilight” every time I go into a bookstore, hoping that, maybe this time, I’ll have a change of heart, or some sort of take-me-back-to-my-angsty-teenage-years epiphany. But it hasn’t happened yet. And I go into a lot of bookstores.
Since we couldn’t bring ourselves to read the book, we decided to go see the movie instead.
Spider Monkey: Perhaps the first thing to look at when dealing with a book-to-film situation is how dialogue is handled. In this case, director Catherine Hardwicke had a major handicap to overcome, since the dialogue in Meyer’s book is lacking to begin with. Most of Meyer’s dialogue resembles something my sister would have written in her Hello Kitty diary in fifth grade, except my sister would have used less adverbs. Which would have been an improvement.
Stupid Lamb: There are so many killer lines in this film. Some made me cringe. Others made me laugh out loud. For example, when Edward tells Bella, “You are my life now,” she seems perfectly fine with that somewhat terrifying revelation. Sure, you might think he’s good-looking and lightening fast and he’s got that whole brooding, emo thing going on, but I’ll bet that if the kid you sat next to in middle school social studies came up to you and gave you an uncomfortably intense stare followed by his new life promise, you’d see the statement for what it truly is. Alarming. Somewhat overbearing. Borderline obsessive.
While we’re hovering over the subject, let’s examine Edward as a boyfriend. He’s awfully clingy. Hiding in the bushes, spying on Bella while she goes to the bookstore? Granted, he did protect her from potential rapists, but really? He was clearly following her. A lot. And at nighttime. Again, I’ll point out his seemingly compulsive need to crawl in though her window each night to watch her sleep because, “It’s fascinating.” Um, really, I don’t care how good looking you are. If you climb into my room through my window every night just to watch me sleep, I think it might be time to see other people.
Not only that, but he starts to get a bit controlling. I mean, Jacob has been Bella’s friend since they were just kids; but as soon as Edward Cullen is on the scene, it’s time for that friendship to disappear. Bella and Jacob were innocently sharing a dance at the prom when Edward cut in. Excuse me, Ed? What if Bella wanted to keep dancing with Jacob? I’m sorry, is this 1879? I know that you’re centuries old, but really, man, you lived through women’s suffrage. You probably knew Susan B. Anthony. You can’t control your women like that. A die-hard fan might try to defend this misogynistic occurrence by referring to the fact that Jacob is a werewolf and Edward is a vampire — historic enemies. Hm. Okay. But are you still pissed at your German friends for letting Hitler come to power?
Spider Monkey: My favorite line — and the line that caused my date to beg me to walk out of the theater — is said when Edward and Bella are up in a tree (and I’ll let slide for a moment how they got up into those trees, simply because this line is just too good). He says, “Your scent, it’s like a drug to me. You’re like my own personal brand of heroin.” … Seriously? I can’t fathom a worse line. Except perhaps one that preceded it, when Edward tells Bella to, “Hang on tight, spider monkey.” But heroin? Really? The worst part is that the heroin line actually appears in the book. I’ll pause briefly to let those of you with an appreciation for decent literature groan.
But wait — it gets better. For those wishing to be scented like someone’s “own personal brand of heroin,” look no further than Hot Topic, where you can purchase a bottle of “Twilight” perfume for $48. And no, I’m not joking. I wish I was, but I’m looking at the bright red bottle emblazoned with “The forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest” as I write this. Commence gagging.
None of the dialogue is helped by the acting, either. While Rob Pattinson should perhaps be awarded an Oscar for keeping a straight face with that heroin line, his acting — along with everyone else’s — is very one-note and bland. I mean, is it really too much to ask for a character to have more than one facial expression? Apparently. When you have such a Mary Sue storyline, I suppose you work with what you get.
And, with “Twilight,” you don’t get a whole lot. Sure, you get scenes where skin sparkles — and who doesn’t find that maddeningly sexy? You get to listen to Bella moan about how awkward she is, even though she has about four different guys after her. And you get to watch everything unfold beneath a great blue tint that makes you wonder if maybe the projectionist spooled the film wrong.
But I’m probably being too picky. I mean, who really wants action, character and decent acting all in one film anyway, when you can replace it with a soggy baseball game, blank stares and painful dialogue?
Alright — well, I guess the baseball game was kind of cool. But not cool enough to save the rest of the movie. Then again, I’m not sure anything could have saved a movie based on a book that tries to marry Anne Rice and Danielle Steel for an audience of 12-year-olds.
I think I’d like my $9 back. I can put it toward my plastic surgery fund that I’ll need once this goes to print.