February 2013 Archives

February 3, 2013

The Twilight Saga (minus the last one)

Somehow I not only managed to avoid discovering anything but superficial details about the Twilight series of books when they were released, but I also managed to retain my ignorance during the release of all the films. All I knew was that they were about vampires, there was some teenage romance and a lot of people argued very heatedly about them. Very recently however I had the opportunity to watch the first four of the films within a week of each other and so I took it. You can't judge what you haven't seen after all. 

It's interesting to come into something with such a following in a single leap of 8 hours viewing, it's like suddenly lots of foreign conversation around you have been translated in your head. "Oh now I understand what they meant by sparkly vampires" etc.

I will assume knowledge of the series and there will be spoilers. (But if you are here reading this blog you probably have seen/read everything  of these stories that you want to by now.)

I did wonder what on earth there was left to say about Vampires that hadn't already been said in Salem's Lot or the Lost Boys or Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Clearly there's a lot when you completely redefine what vampires are. This caused me much irritation.

Things that are wrong with the vampires in Twilight:
  • They can enter your house without asking. ARGGGH! How terrifying. It was one of their key weaknesses. Now they can just stroll into your bedroom and kill you. This does not seem to be a big deal in Twilight because there is always a good Vampire or a good Werewolf to guard you. Well lucky for you Bella, everyone else is getting killed in their sleep.
  • They sparkle. WTF?! That's the weakest excuse I've ever heard for not appearing in sunlight. Oooh, can't go into the sun because I'm a bit sparkly. Once again a prime weakness of vampires taken away and it's made out to be a real drag... they have to live in the cloudy Pacific Northwest, dude that sucks.
  • They all have superpowers. Because being an undead, superfast, superstrong killing machine isn't enough. Obviously.
  • They have rules and the only reason to obey the rules is because otherwise Michael Sheen will get a bit stroppy with you and do that crazy laugh.
Anyway, enough of the easy targets.

I actually, mostly, enjoyed the films, however I think I laughed a bit more than I was supposed to. In particular I liked the first half of Twilight which did a great job of that "newcomer in a new school" trope, with slo-mo and overblown angst and falling in love with a bad boy. It had a bit of a Twin Peaks, something slightly odd feel about it.

I also enjoyed the love triangle and rooting for the werewolf, because you can never trust a vampire. Whereas with a big wolf you know where you stand. The relationship between Bella and Jacob was nice, well until he became a werewolf and she became all annoying. Another highlight was Billy Burke as Bella's father, doing the parent confused with their teenage daughter thing really well.

However the core message of the stories annoyed me intensely. The message is that if you're a teenage girl, who feels like a bit of outsider, the solution is to turn your back on everyone, your friends, your family, everyone, and run off with the first boy that you fall in love with. Really?! To make it worse it's not just falling in love with but actively wanting to convert herself to an undead monster, just to be with a boy. Talk about selfish. Stop moping about, stop being selfish and get real. I know you're a teenager but listen, you don't want to do that. You want to marry him? Oh, well that's okay. Seriously? Romeo and Juliet isn't a template it's a warning. Please, if you feel like an outsider do not follow this path, instead I suggest you become a writer, or learn to play guitar and make music, or paint, or read a million books, or start running, or start a blog, anything to realise that you're not really an outsider. In this day and age with the internet you don't have to be alone. Bella was a fool, self indulgent and selfish.

Haven't seen the last one yet, but I've heard there's some good fights and more Michael Sheen.

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