Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sucking More Than Blood

Going to the movies was something of a problem for me this weekend since I couldn't get anyone to go with me and my choices for new releases were Bolt, the new animated Disney film starring Miley Cyrus and John Travolta and Twilight, the teen vampire movie starring some goofs you've never heard of. Had I gone to see Bolt, I would have been sitting by myself in a theater full of children and looking like the creepy guy who hangs around school yards handing out candy. Instead, I went to see Twilight in which I sat by myself in a theater full of teenagers looking like the creepy guy who throws beer parties for high school kids. Sad that my life has been reduced to being one of the lesser of two evils.

Twilight was interesting in that pretty much every one there had either read the book or was with someone who had. In the line outside the theater, packs of teenage girls were chatting incessantly about whether the guy who played Edward was hot or that they wanted to get the same hairstyle as the girl who played Alice. In my case, Edward and Alice could come up to me and kick me in the balls and I wouldn't be able to tell the cops who had done it. I felt like I was in that dream where I'm in class taking a test I hadn't studied for while everyone else is peeking at the Teacher's Edition of the textbook. I'll say right now that I wasn't that impressed with Twilight especially after having seen a much better movie last week called Let The Right One In that dealt with the subject of vampires in a much more serious and thought provoking way. Twilight is basically a clothesline upon which the filmmakers hung various bits of romantic melodrama and some action sequences. However, as I have seen both from talking to people after the movie and from several articles and forum posts, people who have read the book love it whereas people who haven't think it should treated like a turkey is in a Sarah Palin interview.

As the movie opens, we meet Bella Swan, a character almost unique in the movies in that she's played by 18 year old actress Kristen Stewart, meaning that the character is a teenage girl who is played an actual, honest to god teenage girl instead a woman in her late 20s. Bella's mom wants to travel with her second husband, a minor league baseball player, so Bella moves to a rural town in Washington to live with her father Charlie, the local police chief. Bella and Charlie haven't seen each other for a few years and are awkward and uncomfortable around each other. In fact, they look so awkward and uncomfortable that you'd think it was intentional and that they were putting a great deal of effort into the whole thing.

At her new school, Bella meets a diverse group of characters including the Cullens, a group of five foster kids with pasty skin who mostly keep to themselves and live like a porn version of the Brady Bunch in that they are also couples. All them, that is, except an odd man out named Edward (Robert Pattinson), a fellow who is JUST THE CUTEST, MOST ADORABLE THING YOU'VE EVER SEEN AND OH MY GOD I THINK HE WINKED AT ME. And yeah, the Cullens are all vampires, a fact I just spoiled for you unless you have been in Guantonamo and have never seen the movie's poster, ads, reviews, cast interviews, MTV profiles or have just not been around a group of teenage girls for the past several weeks. Edward ends up being Bella's lab partner in Biology class and at first indicates that he is revolted by the way she smells (although it turned out that she actually smells extra tasty). For those of you who have seen movies, watched television, been to the theater or read books at least once in your life, you recognize this as the age old plot device where two people destined to be soulmates at first can't stand each other.

Edward and Bella eventually do start getting along although they always look constipated when they're together. Bella actually turns out not to be an idiot and figures out that Edward and the rest of the Cullen family are vampires and then throws the whole "turns out not to be an idiot" conclusion into doubt when she declares her undying love for a guy who she knows to be a freakin' vampire.

While all this is going on, people in the town are being ripped apart in a series of what are thought to be animal attacks but are actually being committed by a group of evil vampires that, in a moment of prescience and genius on my part, I accurately described in my review of Let The Right One In. In fact, this one paragraph could have been used as the review of Twilight:
They all follow basically the same model: a virginal, innocent ingenue meets up with some mysterious pretty boy who turns out to be a vampire. She quickly falls in love and has hot sex with his cold body but it all turns bad when she meets the other vampires who are always total douchebags. The evil vamps are decadent Eurotrash types who look perpetually bored and always have dialogue like, "These mortals are no better than cattle." Eventually the good and evil vampires go against each other and have elaborate fight scenes before good triumphs and the undead pretty boy and his hot not-quite-so-virginal-anymore girlfriend live happily ever after until the next episode or a sequel.

AND I CALLED IT! Sure enough, a skilled tracker vampire named James, who explicitly cultivates the "evil douchebag" look, picks up Bella's unusual scent (a condition I'm sure has been explored by now in the book's sequels as well as the fact that Edward's ability to read minds doesn't work on her) and, having no respect for the concept of a vampire calling "dibs" on a human, begins to hunt her. You can probably figure out where the story goes from here, but, on the off chance that you are retarded, I won't reveal it here.

As I said, judging by audience reaction as the closing credits rolled, your appreciation of the movie depends on your knowledge and appreciation of the books. One 18 year old girl who had read all the books described the movie to me as "amazing" and told me that there were a lot of details that had been left out of the movie that probably would have made me a fan. In cases like this, I am always of the opinion that movies should be enjoyable without having to do homework before seeing it. When I asked the girl's date, a guy who had read none of the books, if he liked it he sort of mumbled something that, if I have any skill at accurately translating teenage mumblings, meant, "Dude, I'm not gonna say I hated it in front of her because, if I do, I have zero chance of seeing her naked tonight." I like that Twilight at least serves the purpose of putting romantic notions into girls' heads which guys can then use to get laid. That's a movie that I can truly respect.

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