Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Spoiler Alerts! - Twilight: Eclipse

I love stories; I love reading them, I love hearing them, I love telling them, I love playing them, and I love watching them. As an armature writer and artist, I find the best way to improve myself as a person is to open myself to all forms of narrative media; both good and bad. And boring. And banal. I love the bad just as much as I love the good. I find them equally beneficial as teaching implements and don’t want to ignore something just because it doesn’t meet my high standards for a quality piece.

There are times, however, that I’ll finish absorbing a story – be it bad or good – and I’ll have something to say. Be it a character, a plot point, art direction, game play design decision, or the entire goddamned thing. More often than not, I can’t discuss the topics I want to discuss without somebody saying in an annoyed tone, “Spoilers! God.”

These are usually the sort of pricks that can’t foresee uncommon plot points such as the lead male protagonist falls in love with the lead female on the simple fact that she has breasts and he’s always wanted a pair for Christmas, but his parents were to cheap; the wormy corporate guy is going to inevitably sell out the leads because they totally took his cookie from the cookie sheet; and the most uncommon plot point of all: the bad guy dies in the end.

Seriously, I hate these people. With the introduction of the internet and simplification of obtaining said narrative, they have every chance see/listen to/read/play what they want to. It’s not my fault that they can’t have a good time enjoying the story, if they now what happens at the end. This is usually the fault of the writer for not holding their interest, or their fault for being an ignorant prick. If I’m discussing a topic I’m passionate about, I’m discussing it in full; regardless of what others may want to filter out of it. Thus I’m creating Spoiler Alerts! My own personal method of separating the wine from the swill.

Let us begin…

Warning! What follows contains a high volume of spoilers. If you weren’t able to figure that out based on the title of this segment, then you can fuck right off.

Christ. It’s difficult to say anything about this series that hasn’t been already. I guess I wanted a challenge for my first review. In case you were living under a rock for the past five years here’s a short recap of the story thus far: it’s a harlequin bodice ripper in which a young girl falls desperately in love with a vampire and a werewolf and must make the dangerous, yet alluring choice between one of the two dark and brooding heroes. Sounds awesome, right? Too bad the writer’s conservative background and – more predominately – her inability to write got in the way of this being an incredibly entertaining story. The werewolf totally isn’t a werewolf even though he totally is and also happens to show the early warning signs for being a rapist. The only real antagonist is non-existent and useless. The only interesting characters (Rosalee, Jasper, and Charlie) are all benched in favor of the vapid and frustrating leads. She introduces a character who can see the future thus eliminating any suspense or interest in the coming events. The vampire is a douche covered in glitter (but only some of the times). And finally, the lead female character is about as interesting as cold toast most of the times and a hartless bint who likes to mess with the emotions of everyone else the rest of the time.

This movie essentially starts how it ends. Edward wants to get married and Bella just wants to get the milk for free rather than going with the costly and time consuming effort of locating and purchasing a female bovine. While, in the end Bella does cave in and decide to marry Edward, I get the feeling she’s doing it specifically for the purpose of copulation. Everything that fills the in between space – the middle where all the fun and interesting things are supposed to happen – isn’t really that interesting and really doesn’t amount to anything. The movie keeps building up a huge battle between the Cullens and their loosely allied werewolves and an army of newborn vampires, but it’s mostly resolved off screen and – as mentioned before – Victoria, the antagonist leading the attack against the Cullens, is killed off in a two minute anti-climatic scuffle with Edward (and it’s just that: a scuffle; they toss each other around for a little bit).

What’s most troubling about this movie are the lead characters as compared to the supporting characters. The three main characters are flat, annoying, repetitive, and honestly horrible people in general. While the issues with Jacob (rapist) and Bella (bitch) are much more apparent, Edward is just bland and grating.

At one point later in the movie, Bella is trying to get inside of Edward’s pants for about the eighth time, and he decides to distract her with a romantic tale of the time that he was initially born in. He tells her (in level of monotone I initially thought was impossible) that in his time they would have gone on chaperoned dates, been constantly monitored as to prevent any hanky-panky, and he wouldn’t have been able to ask for her hand in marriage until he had asked her father’s permission first. After this he presents her with – as the Sardonic Girl pointed out to me almost immediately – the most ridiculous fucking ring ever.

Of all the bullshit these characters have put me through thus far, this is where I was practically yelling at the screen. There’s a notion going around that those from days past had a much more “pure” outlook on life. This is a lie that people have created for themselves to romanticize previous eras. Human beings have been sneaking around to have sex since sex was invented. Even in the Victorian period when to speak of sex was much more a taboo than it is today, people were figuring out how to escape chaperones and the prying eyes of others have a good roll in the hay. From my understanding Edward was turned into a vampire in the 20’s which was legendary for debauchery.

This just goes to show that somehow, through all his years, Edward is still an ignorant twit not really worth anyone’s time. This was the only actual characterization that he’s ever gone through in my memory and it just made him worse off. As a friend pointed out to me, Bella is attracted to Edward not because of his personality or shocking good looks (the caterpillars he’s stapled to his eyebrows sell it the most). She very much loves him based solely on pheromones – he said himself, he’s evolved to attract humans. This enduring love story is purely superficial, because the reason the two love each other is only because the author said so

Now take those three and compare them to the completely separate and unique characters of Rosalee, Jasper, and Charlie. Starting off with Charlie Swan – Bella’s father – he’s probably the most infinitely-fucking-compassionate father in existence. He only wants the best for his daughter, he doesn’t want to see her get hurt, and wants to give her every chance in the world, but all she does is put him through endless bullshit that, if any other parent was put through, they would have just kicked her out of the fucking house. What does he do instead? He puts on a slightly facetious façade, drinks a Reiner tall boy, and keeps going. He has most of the funniest lines and is quiet honestly the best actor in the entire goddamned movie.

Rosalee is the complete opposite of Charlie in terms of screen time versus paragraph length. From what I’m told by a coworker Charlie is almost nonexistent in the books but gets significantly more screen time in the movies while Rosalee has an entire chapter devoted to her back story but in the movie gets about five fucking minutes screen time devoted to her. And what’s her back story? She’s a young naïve girl who gets gang banged by the man whom she has a school girl crush on as well as his business partners, gets turned into a vampire, and then goes on a year-long blood hunt for the offenders, taking them out one-by-one until finally reaching the former subject of her affections and murdering him while she wears a wedding dress. Sign me the fuck up for this story. This would make an awesome harlequin thriller several orders of magnitude better than having to put up with awkward trinity of Edward, Bella, and Jacob.

The story could easily be made into a saga of movies that dealt with morals, an understanding of love in the primal versus the romantic sense, loss of innocence, redemption, and several other subjects that would both attract the same audience and gain a much larger following. But no; instead we have to hear Jacob say things like, “You just won’t admit you love me,” and, “Better you be dead than a blood sucker;” we have to watch Bella emotionally abuse everyone around her past the point where they should have all just abandoned her ages ago; and we have to watch Edward be bland and annoying.

Finally, Jasper is introduced to us in this movie even though he appeared in the previous two. Dis guy is un-fucking-believable. He goes from saying nothing and having goofy-assed hair making me think he’s Harpo Marx, to looking somewhat plausible (until we see him in the Confederate Calvary uniform at which point I couldn’t stop laughing even though the Sardonic Girl kept trying to shut me up) and having a less convincing Texan accent than Cary Elwes’ in Porco Rosso and Twister. In much the same fashion as Rosalee, Jasper goes from boring as fuck-all to awesome in twenty seconds flat.

As it turns out, despite being greatly outnumbered the Cullens and their tenuous allies – the totally-not-werewolves-but-totally-are – have an advantage: Jasper has extensive experience fighting newborn vampires. Not just fighting, but training and murdering them in cold… um… granite (as it turns out). Where does he get this experience? Pull your socks up and strap on your suspenders because we’re about to get another clumsily edited flashback. As it turns out Jasper was a young Major in the Texas Calvary in the Confederation’s desperate hours. He happens upon a woman in distress and seeks to help her, but (surprise) she’s a vampire looking to cut a chunk of the Sothern United States out for herself. She conscripts Jasper into her war by turning him into a vampire and assigns him to teaching and handling the newborns that she creates.

Since vampires are at their most powerful and dangerous when they’re only a few months old – which makes no logical sense what-so-ever, seeing how they would only get more powerful and thus more dangerous as they age and hone their abilities through experience - this vampiress has Jasper dispose of the ones that get too old and train the recently turned vampires to release them upon her enemies. It can only be assumed that a heart-pounding-action-packed-emotional-roller-coaster tale of a war for Hell, of the fallen, of false romance, of redemption, and of morality ensues.

What? The? Fuck? Why can’t we see this story instead? They tease these potentially incredible stories that could easily fit the bill of harlequin bodice rippers that would appeal to both women and men, but what do we get instead? Jacob wants to rape Bella, Bella tries to rape Edward while simultaneous trying to convince Jacob to stick around by telling him that she might still love him, and Edward remains completely vapid. This is bullshit.

Now the movie is clearly just fucking with me. The whole reason I’m even at this thing is that I felt that I needed to see a Twilight movie in its purest form rather than with the aide of Rifftrax (seriously, if you haven’t seen anything with Rifftrax get educated; they make bad movies good and good movies better). I had it on word that this was the best of the movies thus far, and the Sardonic Girl needed someone to go with. I wasn’t necessarily being a good boyfriend because she knew that I was going to be making fun of it from beginning to end; no, this was to be my Gorilla’s in the Mist. I was intending to get a little more of the natural twihards in the theater, but apparently they had all sated their thirst for douche bags in glitter.

I feel like I have more to say about these movies, but want to save it until the final two movies are released to confirm the hypothesis I’ve come up with. This movie just didn’t provide enough evidence (or anything, really) to get a solid thesis down on paper. As stated before, this movie ends how it begins and I’m pretty sure ends how the second movie ended as well. All they did was decide that Bella and Edward were getting married and that he’s going to turn her into a vampire sometime after that.

This entire movie, as a whole feels like an anime filler episode: slightly annoying to experience, but ultimately forgettable. By this measure, yes, this is the best Twilight movie so far. It’s the same logic as trying to judge the quality of steaming piles of poo: which one’s smell can you forget the quickest?