Monday, February 23, 2009

"I Saw Twilight-- Sober!"

Sounds like a story from one of those 1950s pulp magazines, doesn't it?
The question I keep asking myself-- why can't I write in this damnable blog on a regular basis?-- persists, and in fact I've got a pile of Image and Dark Horse stuff just staring up at me, begging to be read, revered and/or ridiculed, but something else weighs heavily on my mind. Nay, on my soul.

I watched Twilight this weekend.

"Edward, I'm begging you, slow down! QUIDDITCH ISN'T REAL!"

And did I mention I've stopped drinking until mid-March?
It's almost unnecessary to say it, but it was terrible. But, to its credit, it was not nearly as painful as I'd feared-- due in part to my being surrounded by a group of like-minded friends who'd come explicitly to mock it until a) the end of the movie or b) our forcible ejection from the theatre. Much as I craved the latter, we eventually, under great duress, reached the former. Upon release of the DVD, a copy will be stolen from Wal-Mart and a drinking game will be devised.

And yet there is still the matter of the film. The story, I should say. Bella Swan moves from her mother's home in Phoenix, Arizona, to live with her father in Forks... shit... I can't remember the state, Oregon or Washington... going to have to check the Wikipedia article... this is gonna hurt...
[10 minutes later]
FUCK I READ THE PLOT SYNOPSES OF ALL FOUR BOOKS. That's not "fuck" in an "oh noes, spoilers" sense, but rather in an "augh, I disgust myself knowing that I was interested enough to read about the whole saga" sense.
Anyway, it was Forks, Washington.
Apparently it's one of the rainiest places in the country, with very few sunny days per year. The "vampires" of Twilight chose to live there so that they can go out during the day because THEY DON'T BURN UP OUTSIDE DURING THE FUCKING DAY EVEN THOUGH THAT IS EXACTLY THE FUCKING DEFINITION OF A VAMPIRE. After "sucks blood," "can't go out in the daylight" is item number 2 on the "is it a vampire" checklist in every other work of fiction concerning vampires of which I've ever heard. Even Cassidy in Preacher had to be covered in clothes from head to toe, or lay in the bed of his truck with a black tarp over him, to not catch on fire during the day, and he's the most non-vampirey vampire I've ever read (Didn't have to sleep during the day, didn't have fangs, could eat human food, loved to drink beer more than blood).
So Twilight's vampires don't burn up in the Sun. They just sparkle like David Bowie in the late '70s. In fact, that was my creation myth for them:
"And it came to pass that the Creator, in preparing for another orgy with the Rolling Stones, did inhale three lines from the bosom of Liza Minelli, and the coke did cause His nose to bleed; and the blood did spill upon the ground; and from His blood did spring Cullen, First among vampires. And the Creator was dismayed at the being created in His image, and He did reject us in his hubris..."
Yeah, beyond all the tortuous plot that I really don't want to get into, there were plenty of slow moments that gave me ample time to think up more MST3K-esque jokes than I knew what to do with. Between scenes at the breakfast table with Bella's dad and long moments of Bella and Edward gazing into each other's eyes/souls/mouths, you could watch the movie a hundred times and still not run out of quiet moments to ruin by farting. Seriously, girl who plays Bella, how many flies do you plan on catching in that thing? Is your nose vestigial? Did your teeth negotiate your contract for you? CLOSE YOUR MOUTH SOMETIMES. I doubt that vampires find droolers endearing.
The teasing lines about the werewolves who figure prominently in the future of the series are almost as bad as the stuff in the Star Wars prequels: Get it? Huh? Battle station? (nudge, nudge!) Death Star? Owen and Beru? (nudge!) Can I draw you a picture? I have never felt worse for the Native American people than during this movie. Shit, I've never felt worse for werewolves than during this movie, either. Maybe if there were more Amerindians left they'd raise more of a fuss about Twilight the way that-- "feminists" isn't even broad enough, it's more like "women and men who like things besides marriage and babies"-- the way that that interest group has. Bella's like a doll with a cell phone and a pickup truck. She shows no real will of her own. She just gets pulled and pushed along by responding to the desires of others.

Really, the introduction of vampires as those in possession of the moral high ground might be the other truly original idea in Twilight besides vampires that aren't real goddamn vampires. Apparently, vampires are in favor of everyone getting married early and having immortal babies. Or something. I managed to pull away from Wikipedia before I really absorbed the whole thing. The Mormons (of whom Stephenie Meyer, the author of Twilight, is a member) should really just toss their "old" (dating all the way back to the 1840s!) holy book and adopt the Twilight series as it is by and large easier to follow and a better-constructed allegory. The fact that I just compared Twilight favorably to any other book, even one belonging to one of the most noxious sects of Ibrahimic monotheism, hurts me deeply. But if you're going to preach abstinence until marriage followed by unrestricted baby-making, the one-two punch that's got the human race slowly choking itself to death, you might as well throw in some undead hunks and babes to spice things up some.

I'm really tired of trying to say something disparaging about this franchise that no one else has said already, so I'll leave you with this quote from, and argument against the existence of, Wikipedia:
"Months later in Eclipse, Victoria creates an army of bloodthirsty newborn vampires in Seattle to rise up against the combined forces of the werewolves and Cullen family. During this battle, both she and her new fighting partner, Riley, are destroyed by Edward and the young werewolf Seth Clearwater. Her supernatural talent is an ability to know the safe place to escape to."
Go to your room, Wikipedia. You go to your room and you think about that last sentence until you're ready to come back out and act like a grown-up.
From left: Obligatory Black Vampire, Sabretooth, Your Ex-Girlfriend (you know the one I'm talking about).


Anonymous said...

I chuckled my way through this.

I love you and your writing. And some of my favorite times with you have been laughing at movies.

You know that I have all the books. And that you can read through all four of them in three days, tops.

No pressure. I'm just putting it out there for you to ponder.

Metricula said...

I think of it like "feminist escapist literature". For guys, the reality is that they're a regular Joe, but the fantasy is superheroes or badass action flicks. For some women, the reality is that they're in charge, being a breadwinner, and in control of their sexuality. The fantasy is being swept off your feet and having stuff done TO you, like you said.
It's really about the same formula as romance novels but with wider audience appeal.

That being said, your thoughts are spot-on.