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From Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula in 1897, to the 1975 debut of Anne Rice’s tales of Louis and Lestat, through Charlaine Harris’ undead charmers from the South, rarely has there been a more rabid interest in vampires than has been brought about by a nice Mormon lady called Stephenie Meyers.  Her first novel, 2005’s Twilight, is a tale of a normal high school girl who falls in love with a not-so-normal high school boy.  The saga of Bella Swan and the bloodsucking Edward Cullen gained Meyers a Beatle-esque following of fans.  With that kind of built-in fanbase, who could blame Hollywood for wanting a bite of that juicy, red moneymaking apple?

The result would be Twilight the film, an incredibly hackneyed and blatant attempt to cash in on the devotion of a diehard following.  I’m sure those actually involved with the movie’s creation, from director Catherine Hardwicke, to the bright young cast didn’t intend to make one of the most unintentionally hilarious films of the year, but surely someone in power must’ve seen this for the rudderless, sinking cinematic ship it is and said, ‘Boy this is awful, but it doesn’t really matter cos it’s gonna make bank.’ 

The rundown; Isabella Swan {Kristen Stewart} is basically being unloaded on her dad by her mother, who wants to run off with her new husband for a bit.  Her arrival in the small Washington state town of Forks seems to being all the males of her new high school to a state of romantic frenzy.  Even the most intriguing member of the mysterious Cullen klatsch of high schoolers (- 6 foster siblings all living in varying states of tonsorial enchantment.) can’t keep himself from Bella’s redoubtable charms.  We don’t exactly know why Edward {Robert Pattinson} is so drawn to Bella; their halting, stilted conversations aren’t exactly Juliet on the balcony.  Obviously, it doesn’t signify because despite a feint at resistance, Edward can fight his attraction no longer and goes public with his courtship of Bella, making them the newest It couple at school.  Bella’s so head over heels that she’s unable to put two and two together after witnessing Edward’s life-saving displays of super strength and speed and his aversion to sunny days.  Once Edward confesses that he’s the undead, Bella’s isn’t only utterly unfazed or trepidacious, but she immediately wants to become a vampire as well, not for all the cool perks (- including magical hair power), but because she wants to be with Edward forever and ever and ever.  Of course, the path to human/vampire interrelational bliss never runs smooth, so between the whole he’s dead and I’m not thing and the threat of Bella becoming a rivaling clan’s coveted snack, the happy new couple’s got problems.  Will Edward’s pure heart and mighty love keep the fair Bella from becoming an hors d'oeuvre?  Will Bella’s police sheriff dad break out the garlic and holy water pistols once he discovers Eddie’s been flying into his little girl’s room and “watching her sleep”?  Will the Cullens release their own line of hair-care products?  The world wants to know!  

I will try to accentuate the positive because I would be here till next week discussing the tidal wave of negatives: The patently silly overwrought love story, taken way too seriously by even the grown-ups who should know better, the luridly intense overacting by the two young leads amplified by some dreadful up-the-nose (- or in this case inside the mouths in permanent pregnant pause that never seem to close) camerawork, the worst special effects seen this side of a 1950’s B-movie and the world’s most unscary bloodsuckers, who don’t actually burn up in sunlight, but shine and glitter “like diamonds” because of it.  Yes, kids, you read it here, sparkly vampires.

Let’s see, thinking positive … I got one - the scenery is absolutely gorgeous!  The lush green exteriors of the American Northwest are on fine display as many a crane shot captures Bella and Edward’s jaunts through moss-covered forests and clambering high up on the tops of impossibly tall trees.  It’s so much nicer to look at than say, the incredibly ridiculous make-up job on the Cullen sire as he walks into a scene so powdery white that he’s nearly transparent.  Still, his ethereal appearance gets no side-eye from the locals busy trying to apprehend a man-eating animal making lunch out of their town.  Vitiligo, my eye.

But back to being positive …  Despite the patently lame changes to classic bloodsucker lore (- re: sparkly vampires who only hunt animals of the four-legged variety, so they can be accepted into human society – Oy.), it was nice to discover being a vampire gives you mastery over any and all hair products.  Really, the heights and utter defiance of gravity of the beautiful Robert Pattinson’s haloesque coiffure is truly the most magical thing in the film.  His foster vamp siblings also benefit from the blessings that clearly don’t get passed on to all the bloodsuckers, witness Victoria’s 1995 Joan Osborne frizz (- and Janis Joplin fashion sense), this is obviously meant to convey the fact that she is a bad guy.  Bad hair = evilness.

I think that’s pretty much it for the positive.  All right, I tried not to go there, but I can’t do it, this movie is just awful.  Right from the start of their attraction to each other, there’s a lurking ickyness about Bella and Edward that is just unsexy and weird.  Like when on one excursion to Bella’s bedroom finds her in a tiny top and knickers, ready to get down with her stone-cold sweetheart, Edward is so afraid “of losing control” with Bella that he magically pulls himself off her hurling himself against a wall (- good thing Dad didn’t hear), keeping their relationship innocent and chaste.  Poppycock, says me. And then there’s the matter of just how involved with each other these two are.  Apparently, Edward’s flirtation with a human is cause for celebration around the fancy Cullen manse with the family going out of their way to welcome this person who could easily destroy their entire existence.  They immediately put all their lives at risk when Bella is stalked by a vamp who, crazy as it sounds, wants to eat people.  “Edward loves her, that makes her family.  We protect our family.”  Way to be expedient with your trust and affections, folks.  Sure, she’s a cutie, but this isn’t Venus walking we’re talking about that should cause all this heartrending angst and outright emo whining and nearly unbalanced obsession.  During one scene when Edward tells Bella they should separate to keep her safe, Bella loses it in a show of uncontrollable fits and hysteria, so much so that a voice of reason above me in the audience delivered the sagacity so lacking in this film when she said “How long she know this boy?”

And that, kids, is Twilight for ya.  

The fans and anyone else who slaps down their hard-earned 12 bucks for this inept, flaming mess deserve better.

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

Nov. 21st, 2008

 

 

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