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Twilight: Contrived romance, obedience, and bad acting

June 25, 2010

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Lauren Rinehart permalink
    June 26, 2010 12:01 am

    Bravo, very well organized for a blog about robots. Also, I thought the critique was spot-on.

  2. Erica permalink
    June 26, 2010 12:40 am

    As a somewhat vampire obsessed person.. oh who am I kidding.. a “completely vampire obsessed in that crazy cat lady way” person I read this series too. I read it somewhat before it was actually popular and way before I ever heard even a whisper about a movie. After reading the first book my 14 year old self was rolling her eyes at me and making lewd gestures to show her annoyance that we were actually continuing to read a series with absolutely no sex in it. I tried to tell her that most likely they would probably have sex at some point to which she then proceeded to throw me the bird and mumble about how it would most likely only be after they got married and what’s the fun in that. I told her to shut-up as our usual vampire reading still had months before the next book was out. In hindsight I should have listened.

    Though I don’t consider myself a feminist I must agree with your conclusion and subsequent review. As I am not a very critical person my review pretty much consisted of “I Fucking HATE Bella!!” Seriously… I can somewhat overlook the annoying childish story since I knew Meyer was a mormon. I can overlook the lack of vampire characteristics that I normally enjoy. Hell, I can even give her one single prop for creating a completely original concept of a “sparkling/glittering?” vampire even if it does fall flat for most true vampire fans. But I cannot.. no scratch that.. I REFUSE to like a single aspect of that poor, pathetic, weakling of a character she calls Bella!! I just can’t. I think I’d have to borrow your machete and chop off my own head if I let myself even consider it.

    Anyways.. love the review! I am particularly interested in your next part of this review as normally I enjoy a little (maybe even a lot) of sexual fetishism mixed in with my vampire books and movies, but I seemed to have missed it in this one. Maybe it’s just been too long since I read these books to remember. So, I’m excited. 🙂 BTW.. I miss Buffy!

    • June 26, 2010 12:52 am

      I have so much to say about the sexuality in this book. I mean, every fetish I can think of is touched on.

      Speaking of Buffy, I hope you’re reading season 8 because Buffy goes lez! No joke!

      Also, of course you’re a feminist! If you believe girls and boys should be equal, then that’s enough I think to be described as a feminist. Or you could use the term ‘humanist’ or something. 🙂

      • Erica permalink
        June 26, 2010 1:35 am

        LOL… I almost put humanist. I am SO behind on season 8 😦 I did read the one with her in bed with a girl… not sure if there was more to it yet… I need to catch up and reread. Well I can’t remember a lot what’s in the books… must be my mind protecting itself ;). Normally I’m a more in your face about fetish kind of person… also, I probably missed it because I was too annoyed with the repression everywhere else in those books.

  3. bjulman permalink
    June 26, 2010 3:59 am

    Ah, Beth. Highlighting precise details which you explained more ably than I could due to your lack of screaming, impotent frustration. Oh and you had cute jokes, too! I especially liked how you carried over the machete image.

    However, I have a depressing admission to make. While the book absolutely bored me & my high standards, I enjoyed the first film on a guilty pleasure kind of level. At that point, I was still crushing on Stewart and, even apart from those now-gone feelings thanks to some of her choice quotes (“The paparazzi is like rape!”), I still think she works quite well in the film. I looked at her detachment as intentional and the awkwardness as part of the (limited) charms about Bella. As well, in the reverse of you, I thought she was Dame Judi Dench compared to Pattinson, who I loathed every second he was on screen. The worst moment is when, in Biology class, he acts so revolted by her but instead comes across as hysterically constipated. There wasn’t a single moment I bought him in the role. Oh, and you forgot to mention how dreadful the makeup was. I liked the direction, though Hardwicke will always have me thanks to the incredible ‘thirteen.’

    Now, I see your understandable anger & disappointment at the popularity of this. And I raise you the ‘New Moon’ film, which is basically a two-hour abortion set to someone playing one violin note for the entire time. Even though you already loathed ‘twilight’, you are in no way prepared for how much you will hate ‘New Moon’ on celluloid. You will have to create new sub-zero ratings. I don’t know if you remember, but I ripped into it as soon as I saw it. If you want, I’ll post it for further discussion purposes. Ugh, that movie is a stain on my brain & the moment I realized just how much I fucking hated Bella and Edward.

    Also, please tell me calling Pattinson a “cutie” was in jest! Don’t break my heart by falling for the transparent charms of that asshole! There is nothing admirable about him, his ego or his willingness to defend Stewart’s idiotic “Paparazzi = Rape!” comment. Angrily defending it. Like, “it’s the media’s fault it sounded so bad!” Fucking tool.

    • bjulman permalink
      June 26, 2010 4:09 am

      Oh and wait till you learn that Thom Yorke WROTE a song for Part 2. However, the soundtracks for New Moon and Eclipse have the distinct, if odd, characteristic of being much cooler & edgier that the films they accompany. The Bat For Lashes/Beck collab on the new disc is especially epic.

    • June 26, 2010 8:22 am

      Calling Pattinson a cutie was indeed in jest, but I do find him quite attractive. I guess that’s why I thought he acted better, and I did laugh at his constipated-ness in biology. I laughed so many times at the quality of the acting, but I read in a couple places that the director made it all seem stupid purposefully because it was supposed to be funny? If so, I only kind of got the joke, and Twilight fans surely did not.

      Be patient! I’ll get to New Moon soon enough. Probably by next week. The books are easy reads and I finish them in a few hours. I have to pause every once in a while to either highlight voraciously and take notes or bend over my vomit bucket. Sometimes both, with highlighting being priority.

      I guess my problem with Stewart was although her detachment could be seen as part of her character, she still laughed in the book sometimes. She still looked adoringly and afraid at Edward, but in the movie, she too looked constipated. They both did… the whole time. I, too, enjoy the movie on a guilty pleasure level. It was quick-paced enough for a rewatch, at least. I would have definitely rewatched it now if I found the romance scenes to be in any way endearing, but they just made me uncomfortable because of their awkwardness. And when Edward says, “So the lion sleeps with the lamb,” it’s completely out of nowhere and felt like it had to be in there because everybody loved that line for some reason. I don’t get it.

      I think you’ll like my next entry better!

  4. June 26, 2010 5:37 am

    Strange thing is my 14 year old self would have not had the stomach to finish it. I was reading Stephan King, Robert Bloch, and VC Andrews at the time. I would have found the romance ok, but I had already developed a distaste for Romance novels. Because the upper hallway of our house was full of them. My mother was a junkie.
    My adult self could not stomach it. I read it as a bet. I had been checking it in at work for over a year and then it dawned on me, “Oh its about vampires.” Until then I thought it was just a general romance.
    As for the movie. We watched. Our cat got sick,that was the most entertaining part. But I will defend the actors on this level. They don’t have much to go on for the characters. If you keep that in mind. I think they do a good job with what they were given.
    All your points I agree with, but from a die hard vampire fan. Her addition to the mythology was never explained. It was just thrown out there. I understand that she wanted to make the monsters good. I found it to be a slap in the face of the vampire lore. Even the good ones in folklore, were good because they would use all their powers for protection. Including drinking human blood.

    • June 26, 2010 7:55 am

      I didn’t really consider that the actors had little to go on: that’s a good point. I was, however, shocked to find that Kristen Stewart has been in several films. Despite her acting, I feel she was poorly cast because one of the few things that the book touches on is how plain she is. Kristen Stewart is anything but plain… and her voice also annoys me.

      I completely agree with your point on vampire folklore. I didn’t want to mention that because I’ve accepted other re-imaginings without complaint, but I do think the sparkling is pretty lame. Actually, everything about them is lame. It seems like she only made him a vampire, possibly subconsciously, to excuse his abuse of Bella, because in context it makes sense, but anywhere close to out of context, the way he treats her is pretty sickening.

      • June 26, 2010 12:04 pm

        He’s a vampire, so that is how he treats his women. Just another excuse.

        Another point my husband brought up was “no one thinks its weird the Cullens live together, but “date” each other?” He only seen the movie.

        But it is a fair observation. Look how the “brothers” and “sisters” of Edward are introduced in the film. He dating her. And the kids at school don’t think it’s weird at all.

        Those are kids are either really dumb or that town raises their kids weird. If that family had come to my high school. Social services would have been called in.

      • June 26, 2010 6:08 pm

        Incest is one of my points of sexual deviance which will be in the next post! Nice catch, definitely.

  5. Erica permalink
    June 26, 2010 12:52 pm

    I agree with your husband’s point. That is very odd and it isn’t even explained at all in the book as to why no one seems to care. I also didn’t like the casting for Edward’s father in the movie. I understand that he is supposed to look young, but I feel like they made him look too young. I don’t recall in the book people being that taken aback. I know they noticed his age, but when I first saw him in the movie I thought “wow, he barely looks older than Edward”.

    As for Kristen Stewert.. I personally don’t have a problem with her acting like most seem to. I do think she was horribly cast for this role though. I also thought that she wasn’t plain enough to play Bella. I always pictured Bella to be a little more curvy too.. not fat, but just like a little more fuller. Kristen Stewert is very gangly and angular body wise. I just didn’t like her as Bella. I think for the movie that Kristen was trying to act depressed as that is the prevailing theme of Bella. I think she forgot that she was also supposed to look adoringly at Edward every now and then.

    As for the sparkle… the only explanation I could come up with was Meyer needed a reason that they didn’t die in the sun. As most often the reason given for this is that the vampires are extremely old and/or they have drank enough blood. The problem for Meyer was that her vampires didn’t drink human blood and they also aren’t that old in vampire years. I still think it’s a stupid idea though. I also think she felt like it needed to be “pretty” because she writes her vampires as being amazingly beautiful to people. Unfortunately I think it’s a testament to her childish writing style that “pretty” equals glittery to her. As honestly, only a pre-teen would.

    • bjulman permalink
      June 26, 2010 5:37 pm

      Adore the last two lines! I never thought of it as being so simple an explanation! Haha, love it!

    • June 26, 2010 6:09 pm

      I didn’t think of that! That’s great.

  6. Shari permalink
    June 27, 2010 9:48 am

    Again – wow! What an amazing analysis!

  7. June 27, 2010 8:05 pm

    “In response to the claim that Bella is a poor feminist character, Meyer says that her weaknesses are merely attributed to her humanity, and Bella should not be put down because she needs help every now and again and cooks dinner for her father. No, Stephenie, Bella is a poor feminist character because she is a shell of a 1950s housewife with the heart of a maniacal, suicidal teenager.”

    Yes yes yes! Very well put.

  8. August 24, 2010 2:59 am

    I just wanted to let you know I referenced you in my blog on the subject of misogyny in the Twilight saga. It’s in its beginning stages, but is something I feel needs to be much more discussed. Thank you for writing this post, and feel free to stop by my blog anytime, if you so desire. =)



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