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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Twilight.

I watched it, finally.
Because I didn't set my hopes very high, I wasn't disappointed.
I guess, because there had been such a big song and dance about 'Twilight' and since I'd heard teenage girls saying things like: 'Oooh, Edward!', 'Oh my gosh, Edward.', and seen pictures of a pale-faced guy hovering over a fairly normal-looking school girl, I was ready for an emotionally-charged movie full of smoldering guys and drooling girls - not my cup of tea, to say the least.
And for anyone who may want to challenge me on my liking for period dramas - with particular reference, if you're being specific, to North & South and Pride & Prejudice - it's an insult to those movies to compare them with Twilight.
Because it's really late (11:10pm to be exact) I'll bullet point my thoughts on Twi.

1. Isabella Swann/Bella has: A poorly-formed character. There is little getting-to-know-the-heroine time. As a concession to a character, Meyers made her clumsy, anti-social and humourless.
What you see of her character is almost always in the context of conversations (or sneaky glances) between her and Edward, the pale, jaw-jutting hero. Through these stilted conversations, Bella shows her obsessive traits. For example, she's not content to leave Edward alone - but stresses over whether he's at school or not, and when he's at school she's always.. staring at him. Eugh. Not only this, but she goes full speed into a relationship with a vampire - don't try this at home, kids. She doesn't seem to care about the consequences, the danger or the morals of the issue.. one wonders whether she has even thought about these things.

2. Edward Cullen. His chief characteristics are: following Bella around to tell her to stay away from him/declaring that they should never be friends, glittering in the sunlight (bizarre, but a wise alternative to becoming ashes) changing eye-colour (I found the golden-brown eye contacts Pattison wore alarming), crawling up trees with Bella and saving her from perilous situations. Very similar to kids stories where the hero always turns up at the right time to save the Damsel In Distress (see Snip for more info.) Oh, and did I mention he's a vampire?

3. Edward's problem. He's a vampire, he's in love with Bella, and he most desperately wishes to DHB. (Drink Her Blood). Since he cannot both love Bells and DHB as well, he has to abstain.
(Abstinence 101)
The other thing he's got to cope with is that Bella most un-Victorian-ly throws herself at him.
Fortunately for him, he's from an age when pre-marital relations were totally unacceptable. He is faced with one of two options therefore: stay with Bella and eventually kill her - or leave her. No third option because Bella, completely unable to do without him and unconcerned by the danger, won't leave him.
Right. On to a couple of the things I felt were wrong in this movie.

1a - This movie is exactly the kind of thing that all teenage girls and boys should be kept away from. My reasons:
This move apparently upholds 'abstinence'. However, Bella's obsessiveness in this relationship, the overtly sensual tone of the whole movie, and the very fact that 'abstinence' is so strongly shoved into what could have been an innocent friendship makes this movie very R18. In fact, I would prefer that no one watch this.

Bella surrenders her mind to Edward - she may have started out with a poor character, but by the time the movie's over she has nothing, she just wants to spend the rest of eternity with him, being eternally damned.. She has no control over her emotions. Because of this she lets them lead her to do all sorts of stupid things.
What a great message that's sending to kids desperate to get into the boyfriend-girlfriend thing.

One of my biggest problems with this movie is the blurring between good and evil. Edward is portrayed as being a 'good vampire' - an alarming concept since traditionally vampires are those living dead (zombies?) that are eternally damned.
But here's Edward - and how could anyone so handsome be wicked?

It's really important I think to have clear lines between good and bad in stories. Once you start getting 'good vampires' and 'bad vampires' in stories, a message is going out to impressionable teenage minds that there is good occult and bad occult. For instance, seeing the future, reading people's minds and being eternally damned is okay, if you're a 'vegetarian vampire' (haha, whatever next? In the next movie, New Moon, will there be vegan and fruitarian vampires?).

I don't think it's wise to mix good and bad in that way. Anyone agree/disagree?

13 Comments:

Blogger Andy Moore said...

great review Lyd, now I must watch the movie myself!...

12:46 am  
Blogger Siminy said...

Interesting, I was watching the audio commentary while you were doing this... And they made the contacts more golden in editing, weird how I remember that.

And cause it is 12:30 at night, I'll briefly comment.

I agree, it is wrong to mix good and bad in such a way. Terrible. Awful. If we make the bad good, then why keep the good good? Soon we'll have fairies drinking blood, or something along those lines.

Also, for hundreds, if not thousands of years Vampires have been considered evil. Surely something that was evil for so many years doesn't suddenly turn good. It'd be like drinking poison
just to prove that something that evil can't harm you any more because it is 21st century after all, it wont hurt anyone...

I believe I may have started ranting there...

And I agree with you on the relationship side of things. It just isn't right to be that obsessed. (By the way, you are the first person I know of who had a problem with it as well!)

Bella's Lullaby is a piece of music by Carter Burwell and is very cool, even if it is related to Twilight.

12:55 am  
Blogger Simeon said...

Making something which is inherently evil to be good is like me saying that i'm pragmatic and principled.

9:12 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

Andy - thanks :)

Isabella and Simeon - hmm.. I'm still considering this whole thing of 'good' and 'bad'. Make that 'reconsidering'.
Problem is, Edward's a pretty decent lad. Apart from being eternally damned (something I guess he can't help, and probably not deserved? One question also comes up because of the damnation thing, who damned these vampires? God?)

Despite the curse on him, he doesn't love evil. He has a complex about Bella because he does and doesn't want to stay around her for fear she'll become like him, be damned, etc.
He saves her life plenty of times, and likes Clair de Lune.
It seems that, rather than being a traditional vampire, he is a new species - or, a reformed vampire.

So, two questions: Is it really wrong to say there could be a 'good' type of vampire?
People are condemning Twilight because of the fact that the occult is painted in a good light.
But why should we say that mind reading and seeing the future are evil in this scenario, when we all watch and read LOTR, and books and movies like it?
Is it just because this movie is placed in a modern context, whereas LOTR is eons ago, in another world?

10:00 pm  
Blogger Simeon said...

Good questions there ;)

I would like to point out however that whether or not the dude has bad thoughts, he is a vampire. He may be a good dude, but it is blended with a bad concept.

A vampire is historically known as evil. I find that there is a blending of good and bad in this movie/book (haven't watched/read it with no intention to do so btw).

How can a blending of good characteristics into a bad concept in any way make it good or be good? I am very worried about the continual blending of good and bad which is happening today. I think this movie/book shows very well how it is happening.

Another point is that it doesn't matter how one is to try to justify something as to its goodness it is not good. Isaiah 64:6

As to being eternally damned, they are through their own deeds. Romans 6:23

9:48 pm  
Blogger Emz said...

that is an interesting question... whether having a 'good' vampire is somewhat of a dangerous oxymoron or not. I would tend to agree with Lyd, that Edward is a pretty decent lad. His eternal damnation is in the movie at least presented as none of his fault - he was bitten by another vampire, this seems hardly to be a result of his own deeds. And throughout the movie he is repulsed at his own nature and struggles to overcome it. It is true that for thousands of years vampires have been considered evil, however the audience that twilight is aimed at, mostly younger people, probably do not have quite the preconceived ideas about vampires as older people might, who have watched the oldschool vampire horror movies. So I do not think it is necessarily mixing good and evil really, or at least I didn't feel it was.

Bella however I shall not defend, she deserves every bit of censure she receives. she has no self control whatsoever, pays no regard to the consequences of her actions, and is continually doing stupid things, making for very frustrating movie watching :p

9:38 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

sorry I took ages to get back to you Sim and Emz..

Sim: yes.. I do agree about the blurring of good and evil. It seems that these days there's a whole cohort of good witches and bad witches, and other 'good' forms of evil. The result of this is to confuse young people on the 'good' and 'bad' concepts.

If we're agreed that any form of the occult is evil (even mind reading and seeing the future- any 'power' that is not from God) then we absolutely have to say that all forms of literature or films that include and/or advocate these things are also evil.

I think.

Then there's the problem of LOTR... Do you guys think that if we're talking about another world - completely apart from our world, then the inclusion of something similar to the occult is okay?
Because that world would not be governed by the laws of this world..
If that were the case, then any literature based in our world, and advocating the occult would have to be evil.

I'm not sure aye!
Emz: hmmm... yep. Edward does seem like a decent chap. I dislike the way he follows Bella around and even comes into her room at nights though! His only excuse is he's a Vampire. Eugh. Do you think though that the fact that Edward is portrayed as good/bad is not really the point? Stephanie Meyers is actually a Mormon, and she got the idea for these books in a dream - or so she says.

I reckon this kind of lit. and film isn't a good thing for christians to watch, because of the way the movie is saying there's good and bad occult. The rest of my objections are peripheral..
wow it's taking me ages to work out what I think about this! :)

11:07 pm  
Anonymous Nessa said...

Seriously sad how there is so much to do and us western christians talk about what movie to watch or not to watch. Is up to you but whether you watch it or not the questions you need to ask is Search me oh God and know my heart today? Does this movie cause me to meditate on all that God wants me to meditate on Phil 4v8, will my watching it cause others to stumble and finally why am I even bothering to comment???

11:24 pm  
Blogger Andy Moore said...

you sound a bit upset Nessa. My sister is critiquing her culture, what's wrong with that?

6:47 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

Hi Nessa, I do agree with you in some ways. Often christians (myself included) talk about the right thing to do, see or think, rather than following up on their good advice. However, there are many subtle themes and dangers within movies - which form such a big part of our culture - and we must be careful what we're watching. I've got no problem with some decent converse on the topic, so long as we're attending to the practical side of christianity as well.

9:58 pm  
Blogger BSBT said...

Wow, good review, and good points from everyone!
I haven't read/watched it either, but one can't go shopping without seeing posters, books and what not from this film all over.

I had so many things running through my mind that I wanted to comment on as I was reading through all of this. And now I can't think of a thing to say.
Oh well, great review anyway. :)

11:32 am  
Blogger Amber said...

I agree with BSBT. It is an Excellent review!! I must admit, i did enjoy the comments from everyone, and their view point on things. I know of a family that whenever the children want to watch a movie, the parents watch the movie first and decide who can watch it and who wouldn't understand what the plot and the side plot is trying to get across. Then they watch it with their kids, and when something they don't agree with comes up, they pause the movie and explain why it is wrong and to make sure that they understand, they talk about it with their kids before continuing on with the movie. I REALLY appreciate that!!

Ok, back to the main discussion here... :) I've never had the desire to watch Twilight, or read the books. I saw the trailer for it, and that kind of looked somewhat interesting. Then i waited to see what people thought of it, and i decided when i saw that girls all over was falling over "Edward", i decided that if the world were going all over for him, that it really wasn't worth seeing.

Anyways, Nice blog, and keep up the good work!! :)

2:27 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

Thanks BSBT and Amber :)

BSBT - it's true. Everywhere you go you see Twilight, Twilight, Twilight plastered everywhere. An interesting phenomenon..

Amber - mm, yes I know what you mean! Our family did exactly the same with the movies we watched together. Mum would have the remote and would stop the movie at crucial moments to explain some piece of suspect ideology to us, then compare it with God's Word.

It's a good idea, isn't it. That way you can watch things with your children that don't have to be absolutely above board: so long as you explain certain things along the way they'll learn more than simply re-hashing Pride and Prejudice or the Sound of Music each time.. ;)

haha, yes.. when everyone's excited about something alarm bells go off for me as well.

3:41 pm  

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