Monday, May 4, 2009

The Review You've All Been Waiting For

I did it. I watched "Twilight". All the way through. And I didn't even throw up.

Surprisingly, more snide comments and disbelieving snorts came from David than from me. Of course, that may be because I have read the book and was familiar with the story so I was expecting it to be totally cheesy and had properly prepared myself for the barrage of teenage passion.

My problems with the basic premise remain the same as they were in the book; i.e., the only reason Bella likes Edward is because he's beautiful and the only reason Edward likes Bella is because she's his favorite, um, "flavor". Ah, so romantic. Nothing like a little blood-sucking passion to get true love going.

I just can't stand that Bella is so unflinchingly, all-encompassingly stupid. This guy tells her he's dangerous and doesn't know if he can stop himself from killing her, but she'll wander off into the woods alone with him, and hey, why not let him sleep in her bed and kiss her neck? GREAT IDEA! What a wonderful thing Stephenie Meyer is slipping into the heads of young girls. Pursue the exciting, dangerous guy and put yourself in situations that make it almost certain you will irreversibly screw up your life (or lose it altogether)! Lovely.

That said, I think the movie did not live up to book as far as holding my interest. When I read the book I wanted to throw it against the wall or at least climb in the pages and slap some sense into Bella, but I kept reading (if nothing else to find out if Bella would suddenly have an epiphany and renounce her idiotic behavior, or if some vampire would get the best of her and save me from a sequel). But the movie was too slow and had so much painful dialogue and so many meaningful looks that I thought I was going to have to put an ice pick in my brain before it was over. The direction was poor, the acting left much to be desired, and the tension that existed in the book wasn't there. It only seemed more ridiculous than it was originally written, which is quite an accomplishment, all things considered.

I guess my main problem is that I have a low tolerance for stupidity, which means I just can't stand it when people behave like morons. This is why I'm prone to scream at my television when any heroine strips down to her underthings and goes to explore a spooky old house at night, in the rain, with only a small flashlight. Wait till daylight and bring someone with you, for heaven's sake! So in the case of "Twilight", my screaming tendency presented itself with relative ease. Passion aside, you do not wander alone into the woods with a guy who says he might not be able to stop himself from killing you, or let him climb in your bed. Oh, I know it's supposed to be romantic that Edward seems to be able to control himself because he "loves" Bella (ahem, loves the smell of her blood). But even if he is at times gallant in his behavior, it's "Stay away from me, I'll hurt you. Now come here and kiss me." Yes, truly romantic.

I can see why teenagers are obsessed with this story, but it's the obsession among grown women that continues to bewilder me. This is true love and passion and romance? I'm sorry, but if my teenage days taught me anything, it's that I had absolutely no idea what true love was when I was 16. So reading about a couple of hormonal teenagers pledging their undying passion for each other (I think we have already determined that what Bella and Edward have is not love) seems terribly unromantic compared to, say, the maturity of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck's characters in "Roman Holiday", who decide that, in spite of their deep passion for each other, being together is not the right or honorable thing to do. So they part ways, with mutual admiration and respect for each other. Now that's love. Responsible, mature, and never endangering oneself or one's integrity.

But maybe it's just me. So, since I've shared my two cents (and mortally offended those of you who are swooning over Robert Pattinson out there), leave your thoughts on the movie/book in the comments. I'm very curious to know if I am the only one who feels this way.


Brooke Snow said...

I absolutely agree whole heartedly with your review! I read all the books in the series "once" and admit that they were certainly "page turners" and the story was captivating enough for me to want to continue through, but once was enough for me. I think they were exciting reads, but absolutely not at all something I finished and thought "I feel smarter from reading this!" or "I'm a better person now!" like other great books I've read.

As far as the movie goes... it made me feel like a loser for spent so much time in reading. Definitely skip the movie.

Megan B said...

Heh, heh! Loved the books, liked the movie because it reminded me of the books. Which, I love, but I mentioned that already :) Are you going to delete this comment? Are you ashamed of our friendship?

Bonnie said...

Well, I'm a little ashamed of our friendship, but since you did just make me a new blog background...

Actually, you've said you love "Twilight", but you've never really told me why. So what it that makes it obsession-worthy?

David said...

OK, if Bonnie hasn't already offended you enough and you are still reading, I shall try harder and add my two cents.

I must admit that a part of me really enjoyed this movie! It was just so easy to mock! The comments of disgust were just swirling in my mind while I watched. I had to bite my tongue many times - a snide remark every minute really is too much, so I tried to hold them back to one every two minutes, which required great restraint.

Anyway, I want to add one comment to what Bonnie already mentioned. Why would Bella put herself in such compromising situations with Edward knowing full well what the potential consequences were? I didn't understand this when Bonnie explained the book to me, but in watching the movie I now see why. This movie made ME want to be a vampire. You don't require sleep, you have superhuman strength, you can almost fly, you get to live forever, etc. Sounds great. You soon start seeing all these exciting aspects of being a vampire and forget the stark reality that you would become a blood sucking vampire that is prone to kill and devour other humans and/or animals.

This is demonstrative of how Satan tries to lull us into his world. He tries to get us to forget the full consequences of our actions by focusing our attention on only that which provides immediate pleasure and not lasting happiness. Congrats Stephanie Myers for teaching Satan's plan so well and teaching our young women (and even adult women) that it's OK to follow Satan's plan. Ow! So, maybe I'm being too harsh on Mrs. Myers, but, I hold her to a higher standard than other fiction writers since she is LDS.

You may now register your offenses with Bonnie AND me.

Aaron said...

"Hold on tight, spidermonkey"
Enough said

Megan B said...

I think it's because it is so unbelievable. It works for me only because he's not human. Don't get me wrong: Bella REALLY annoys me. I actually liked her more in the movie than in the books. And I can suspend my beliefs of what a "normal" girl would do in a "normal" situation simply because it's not normal. Within the confines and boundaries of the story, it's totally plausible :) Step outside the boundaries and it's utter nonsense, and drippy romance. I choose to get lost firmly within the boundaries, which means I can accept Edward as he is (Because he's not REAL, after all) and I can (almost) accept Bella's reaction to him, because he's not REAL, after all. PLUS... I happen to really dig the brooding, bossy, intense, overly protective types. And I do mean REALLY DIG. Obviously.

Julia said...

I will never give in to you pod people. Never. I will run from Twilight forever.

By the way, if anyone wants to read a *decent* vampire book, there's one called "Dracula" that pretty much set the precedent and even includes evil vs. good in an unforgotten Christianity context. Go fig.

fiona said...

I read Twilight and the 2nd one, and plan to get #3 eventually, and I admit I found them to be fast reads...I was interested as I read them. But that was it. I actually saw Twilight sitting on my dresser a few days after reading it, and thought, "oh yeah...I read that..." Usually after finishing a book, I keep thinking about it, missing it for a while, depending on how good it was. Twilight -- eh. I don't hate it, but I don't get the obsession, either.

We got the movie from Netflix last week, but something was wrong with it and it kept freezing, so I have yet to REALLY watch it, though I do want to.

By the way, loved your two cents, David! You should post sometimes...

Stephanie Black said...

My problem with Twilight (the book--I haven't seen the movie) is I don't see it as unreal--I see it as too real. A young woman mistaking physical attraction/obsession for love. A young woman behaving in an extremely dangerous manner because she's in "love" and she thinks they can control themselves. Sounds like a ticket to ruining your life. I just don't see that as romantic.

jmm43 said...

I'm going to agree with Stephanie. As a bishop, all too often i see young women who are exactly like Bella, and they will do anything to be with the hot/exciting guy, but he will never do anything bad because he loves her, at least until she ends up in my office in tears.

I will say that Twilight has made teaching dating principles much easier to the YW.

Rizley Family said...

Everyone makes very insightful points. I must admit, I enjoyed the books, but I didn't really analyze them to the level that everyone else has. They were just a quick, fluffy read that I considered purely fictional. The movie wasn't great, but I wasn't expecting much from it to begin with. Everyone can throw rotten tomatoes at me now! :)

Sara said...

I guess my main problem is that I have a low tolerance for stupidity, which means I just can't stand it when people behave like morons. That would be the reason I still cannot, for the life of me, get through book 2. I want to scream and yell "you are being ridiculous."

Then again, I loathe Jane Austen, so take my two cents for what it's worth.

And I don't see what the big deal is over Robert Pattinson - I don't find him the least bit attractive.

Oliver said...

Another great vampire book is The Historian. A long read, but a good one.