Here's where I have a problem. I don't care if [Edward and Bella] get married or not, because in this film, "get married" is just code for "now we can do it." Their marriage isn't about building something together or creating a family. Their marriage isn't about time they've spent together and time they want to spend together. It's all hormonal. It's all impulse. Bella Swan is defined as a character purely by who she wants to sleep with, and I don't care if she actually consummates the act or not. This movie is driven from start to finish by the real estate between her legs, and if that sounds blunt or harsh, good. I want it to sound ugly, because I think it is ugly. Deeply ugly. She's the weakest, most dependent lead in a film that I can imagine. There is nothing interesting about Bella aside from her desire for these two boys. It is a narcissistic teenage fantasy taken to a disturbing depth. Nothing in the world of these movies matters beyond the resolution of whether or not Bella is going to bone Edward. And when. And how. And whether she's going to bone Jacob as well.
There is talk of love, but there is nothing like love in these movies. These are not stories about love. They are stories about infatuation, temporary teenage madness. And, hey, man... I may be ancient at this point, but I remember what it's like when you're a teenager and everything feels so important, and I've seen films that get that frenzy just right and they still manage to feature real character work and stories that are interesting and actual events. You can make a great movie about the rush of teenage love. You can use it as a backdrop for all sorts of stories. But for that to be the thing that holds us as an audience, we have to believe that there's something behind it. I have yet to see anything in any of these movies that would connect these characters beyond narrative convenience.
Bella doesn't love these men because of things they have done together. Instead, everything they do together is because they "love" Bella. It's a pissing contest. And both of the guys are just as poorly defined and as grotesque as Bella in what they represent. Edward is her "dream man," and as depicted in the films, he's basically a control freak who treats her like an object to possess. He lies to her. He manipulates her. He is unable to tolerate her interacting with anyone else. Ladies... if you have a chance to marry a man who acts like Edward while you're dating, do it. And then you can look forward to broken bones and mysterious bruises and a slow and methodical separation from friends and family until you exist only for him. Which is obviously what you're looking for, right? Ooooh, romantic.
[. . .]
I love women. I love all sorts of women. And because I love real women, actual flesh and blood human being that happen to have a slightly different arrangement of chromosomes than I do, I despise these movies. I hate them for what they offer up as a value system. I hate them because there are girls who mistake their own chemical response to the male leads in the movie as an actual affection for the story that's being told. They invest on the surface level, and in the meantime, there is this poisonous cancer, this vile insidious message that's being sold to them underneath. I hate these movies because they tell girls that this is their value in the world. Who you bang defines you. You are worth your vagina and nothing more. You are who your man is. That is all.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Drew McWeeny on the Travesty of Eclipse, the Latest in the Twilight Series
I don't reference or link to him much, but Drew McWeeny over at HitFix.com (and formerly of Ain't It Cool News) is one of my favorite writers and commentators on film, and his review of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is not only vintage McWeeny, it's required reading as cultural reflection on the impact and import of these books and movies, particularly on young girls. Here's some selected parts, but be sure to read the whole thing: