When I told a friend of mine – a man in his early thirties, no less – that the Yakmala gang watched Twilight, his response was, “You guys must be running out of bad movies.” The implication was that Twilight wasn’t as bad as our usual fare. Allow me to retort.
Tagline: When you can live forever, what can you live for?
More Accurate Tagline: What’s a little pedophilia between friends?
Guilty Party: Stephenie Meyer is a hack. If there is an interesting path for the film to take, Meyer dodges it like Kristen Stewart dodges carbs. Instead there is staring. A lot of staring. The leads look they’re trying to develop a new, chaste version of x-ray vision. In terms of risks, there are no credible alternate love interests for either lead, every important supporting character approves of the central love story and the heroes outnumber the villain seven to one.
Synopsis: Okay, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is just the bomb! Like, she’s the smartest, prettiest, most awesomest girl, ever, right? And she’s from, like Arizona or someplace gross, and then she moves to, I don’t know Vancouver or Seattle (you can tell because everything is like, totally blue up there). As soon as Bella goes to her new school, everyone recognizes just how amazing she is. All the guys want to take her to prom and all the girls want to be her BFF. It’s exactly how it should be, because Bella’s so awesome, right? But she only has eyes for walking hairdo Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
Here’s where things take a turn for the sexy: Edward is a vampire and a member of a cultish “family” of bloodsuckers. Led by the rakish Dr. Acula (Peter Facinelli), these vampires consider themselves vegetarians. No, they don’t subsist entirely on the brain dead, but they only eat animals. Actually having the vampires eat human vegetables would be a far too interesting statement for this film to make. Not when they’d be wasting valuable staring time!
Oh yeah, there are some evil vampires too. There’s King Willie from Predator 2, ambient composer Aphex Twin and Drew Barrymore. They kill a couple folks but their true passion is baseball. No shit.
So Bella loves Edward, but he’s a giant douche. He acts like he’s interested, then abruptly suggests she fuck off. He saves her life, then tries to convince her she’s crazy (“No one would believe you,” he mumbles. That’s what a child molester says! Which, considering he’s over 100 and she’s 17, he is.). Finally, he reveals that he is a creature of the night and really wants to kill and eat her. Because Bella is retarded, this turns her on. He takes her home to meet the Bloodsucking Brady Bunch, and with one exception, they love her instantly. You know, because she’s Bella and therefore has rainbows shooting from her narrow ass.
Aphex Twin the evil vampire decides he wants to kill Bella. See, there are a ton of other girls around, many of who are objectively prettier than Kristen Stewart and who don’t have seven undead bodyguards. But no, it’s Bella, so she’s completely irresistible to everyone. So Aphex Twin goes after her, and predictably gets killed because he’s outnumbered seven to one. What an idiot.
Then Edward takes Bella to the prom and they don’t have sex. Not even metaphorically. Honestly, they’re perfectly matched: cocktease with fangtease.
Life-Changing Subtext: It’s not love unless he wants to kill and eat you.
Defining Quote: Edward: “I’ve never wanted a human’s blood so much in my life.” Bella: “I trust you.” Bella is the kind of woman that would hire a freshly released pedophile as a babysitter.
Bella: “What if they [the Bloodsucking Brady Bunch] don’t like me?” is the runner up. Because everyone loves Bella! Hasn’t she seen this movie?
Standout Performance: Robert Pattinson’s hair should have gotten some sort of award. I was reminded most of Derek Zoolander’s patented coif that Cuba Gooding Jr. labeled “the white man’s afro.” It seems impossibly fluffy like meringue, even though it would most likely be crusty to the touch, like a rose bush or a chronic masturbator’s keyboard.
What’s Wrong: The acting is uniformly bad and the pacing is dreadful, but what I would most like to discuss is the script. First, let’s discuss character. Everyone in the film without exception finds Bella to be the greatest thing on two legs, despite the fact that she is a surly bitch without one redeeming quality. Meanwhile, there’s Edward, who is mostly sexy because he wants to murder Bella. I guess he and I have that in common. Then there’s the utter lack of conflict. There’s a villain that has maybe ten minutes of screentime, a love story with no complications, and a hero that, though he says he wants to kill Bella never actually seems like he’ll do it. Additionally, vampires lack all of their traditional weaknesses. In most vampire movies, the daytime is used as a weapon, either for the heroic vampire hunters to strike back, or the evil vampire hunters to take out the brooding antihero. Not so here. Vampires are just way more awesome than everyone else. They even fucking glitter in the sunlight. Makes me wonder why they don’t just skip the middleman and ride unicorns.
Flash of Competence: The production values are good. The fight scene between Edward and Aphex Twin is probably as close to watchable as this movie gets, and even that’s pushing it. The only saving grace is entirely puerile: Alice (Ashley Greene) has an adorable flippy hairdo and looks strangely sexy when she pitches. No, that’s not a double entendre.
Best Scenes: Early in the film, Bella walks in front of a fan. It then cuts to Edward, sitting across the room and holding his nose. It’s supposed to represent Edward smelling her, a la Multiple Miggs, but I like to think that Bella just ripped a big one and Edward got it right in the mouth.
The second scene I love is the Serial Killer Sequence. Edward takes Bella up to the mountains and basically threatens her life over and over again while doe-eyed Bella tells him it’s cool. It’s basically masturbation fodder for the B.T.K. Killer.
Finally, at the end of the movie, Aphex Twin succumbs to his only weakness: being outnumbered seven to one, torn apart, then thrown into a bonfire. Not to point out the obvious, but being ripped into pieces and immolated is everybody’s weakness. The best part is that it resembles the scene from Lost Boys when the vampires (who still manage to be cooler than the Twilight vamps, despite looking like a Poison cover band) attack the surfers. I like the idea of a much better movie happening in the corner.
Transcendent Moment: Late in the film, Edward’s family plays baseball. And they all love it. Seriously, the passion that vampires in every other movie reserve for the blood of virgins, these guys have for baseball. Because they’re vampires, they hit the ball so hard they have to disguise the hit with thunder (never mind that a normal baseball would disintegrate under such force), leap twenty feet in the air for catches and throw like bullets. But that’s not the best part. The best part comes when the evil vampires stalk out of the woods in threatening slow motion. It looks like we’re finally going to get a showdown between boring and evil. Nope. The badass evil vamps just want to play some baseball.
I believe that you should never cast aspersions on porn that was not aimed at you. If its only value is to arouse, then it’s impossible to judge unless it speaks to your specific kink. The only way to understand Twilight is as porn aimed at fourteen-year-old girls, and if appreciated as such, I have no problems with it. I do have a problem when someone tries to uphold Twilight as anything beyond abstinence porn. It’s not art. It’s not a coherent story. It has precisely the same artistic value as a hastily scribbled picture of a fairy princess wearing a shirt with a crossed out penis, minus the whimsy and over the course of two brain-bleeding hours.