The Twilight Saga - Catherine "I'm Actually a Real Filmmaker" Hardwicke (Dir.), Chris "You Killed The Golden Compass" Weitz (Dir.), David "30 Days of Suck" Slade (Dir.), Bill "Awkward Last Name" Condon (Dir.), Kristen "Lip-bite Extraordinaire" Stewart, Robert "Herp Derp" Pattinson, Taylor "The Alpaca" Lautner, Peter "Sickle Cell Anemia Affects Millions of People" Facinelli, Billy "The Stache" Burke, Ashley "Nosejob" Greene, Michael "FUCK YES" Sheen, Dakota "SPOILERS - She Gets Decapitated" Fanning, Anna "She Was Nominated for an Oscar, Seriously" Kendrick, etc., etc.
*PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Spoilers and brazenly subjective opinions abound*
“The Twilight Saga” is one of my least favorite things in the world. (Might wanna quit
reading if you don’t want to hear a hater’s biased opinion) So why have I read all four books, and gone to see each film, you ask? Because I despise uninformed opinions. They irritate the shit out of me. IF I’m going to hate or love something, I want to at least know what I’m talking about. So, I feel that my hatred is validated, due to the fact that I’ve read all four plodding, terribly written, pathetic wet-dreams-of-teenage-girls stories.
I’ll admit there is much I forget from the books (probably blocked out on purpose, a sort of self-defense mechanism), but from the little I do remember, this stays fairly faithful to the first third of the source material. I’ve always been jealous of how the Twilight films are so true to the books, but when you ponder how UNcomplex the story is, it’s not hard to understand why.
When I first heard this book would be split into two films, my immediate reaction was, “How is this even possible? What’s the first movie going to be??? A marriage, honeymoon, and baby?” I got my answer, which is a resounding YES. The entire two hours are spent displaying some mild wedding planning, said wedding, the honeymoon, worrying about having sex, having sex, worrying about having more sex, getting preggers, and then having a baby. This is fairy-tale pornography in its purest form: What impressionable teenage girls fantasize will happen to them, until they grow up and learn that there are no Edward Cullens in the world. (Thank god) If it was physiologically possible, my eyes would have rolled out of right out of my head.
Bill Condon (Kinsey, Dreamgirls, Chicago – how the hell they convinced him to helm this, I’ll never know) directed, and while he tries his damndest, there’s not much you can do when you’re making a film that’s about nothing except a several-month period of teenage weddings, sex and babies. The look of the film is mostly lush and silky, with the exception of the god-awful wolves. I’ll NEVER understand why, in the day and age of fucking Avatar, one of the most successful franchises of all times has CARTOONISH WOLVES. Gah. The acting is terrible here, and I really think that’s saying something. This gang is always hamming it up, but here it’s worse than usual. What’s funny is, I don’t even think Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson are bad actors, but as Bella & Edward, they just suck (haha, pun intended). Watching Stewart pretend to almost have to throw up as she’s walking down the aisle (until she lays eyes on her beloved, of course, making ME want to throw up for her), or pretend to be scared to have sex, or pretend to HAVE SEX, just all of it – the gasping, the mouth biting, the twitchy eyes, it’s painful. Pattinson lays on the valiant, and while he is less psychotically controlling here (a mild blessing) he’s no less annoying. I find the rest of the Cullens to be horrifying actors; my high school drama club displayed better talent. I can barely stand to even type the words “Kellan Lutz” or “Jackson Rathbone.”
The things most people are looking forward to here are the Big Sex Scene and the Big Birth Scene. Regarding the sex: what you see on the commercial is basically exactly what you see in the theater. A bed shaking, some kissing, some feathers. It wasn’t sexy, or special, or even romantic, in my spiteful opinion. Regarding the birth of “Reneesmee” (one of the WORST NAMES EVER TO GRACE HUMANITY): I was actually looking forward to this, because it was nuts to think that this baby ripped itself out of her stomach, with daddy’s help. It was mostly shown in brief flashes of screaming, blood, and blackness. Meh. They did succeed in making Stewart truly look like death warmed over for her pregnancy and delivery, which made my cruel heart happy.
I was also interested to see what this magical baby would look like, and when you finally get to see her face, she’s mostly computer-generated, which is fitting, seeing as how she was described as having adult beauty on a child/baby’s form, which is disturbing as all fucking hell. Stephanie Meyer should have a special little spot in hell for coming up with that concept. Along with “imprinting.” (Shudder) Nice to see that gem portrayed as like, finding Jesus. So, so, so, astoundingly creepy.
Unsurprisingly, the soundtrack was great. This franchise has no trouble landing fantastic indie/acoustic/yearning/moody acts to give it that appropriate angst-y sound. This dreamy beaut is ranking up a high play-count in my iTunes.
My problem with the entire “Twilight Saga” is that it is simply, and wholly, a love story. Now I’m not saying there’s something wrong with love stories (I hope I’m not that bitter and angry inside) – I think films like 500 Days of Summer, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and even Bridget Jones’s Diary are fantastic, because they have something to say ABOUT love. Twilight has nothing to say. It’s a love story, with zero message. It’s like, See Spot Run. See Boy and Girl Become Obsessed With Each Other. I have no hope for future generations of mankind.
Part 2.5: The Happy Mediums Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The 4th Harry Potter film finds itself in the comfy position of #3 on my personal favorites list, and also the second of the “Happy Mediums” – the films that found a groove between being completely fair and reasonable adaptations of the marvelous source material, and at the same time, good, entertaining movies that can stand on their own, if need be.
Mike Newell (Donnie Brasco, Prince of Persia, Four Weddings and a Funeral) took over the directing reins for the fourth film, and seems to exist in a middle ground between Columbus and Cuaron. He was able to showcase the growth of the characters and give the film its own look and feel, but reign in some of that unique director vision, allowing the Harry Potter world to just be what it is.
Goblet is a massive book (approximately 700 pages, depending on the edition), and a favorite of many. It’s the last hurrah, in a way, before the series take a dark, much more adult turn, and the film captures this all perfectly. It’s fun and adventurous, adding new characters, ideas, and places to the awesome world, all before the dire, tragic end that leaves readers/viewers knowing things will never be the same.
Steve Kloves penned the script for the fourth time, and it had to present the biggest challenge, up to that point. The book is stuffed with action, characters, and details, which don’t feel like too much while reading – on the contrary, it’s like you can’t get enough. Obviously, there’s no way in hell that’s all fitting into 2 1/2 hours on-screen, so there are many, many things left out or changed (Winky and Dobby’s stories – gone, the Barty Crouch details – changed, some omitted). However, they kept in enough things of importance that will matter later (the lesson about the Unforgivable Curses, the wizard council scene through Dumbledore’s Pensieve), and miraculously, Kloves managed to weave a majorly enjoyable film that still does the book justice. Had I been a fiend back then, seeing this film would have given me hope that the future, humongous books would all be given same treatment (I would have been wrong, but more on that in the weeks to come).
This film is great because it hits on every emotion. The effects are light years better than the prior films. The kids continue to grow into their roles, and do better here than ever before. Robert Pattinson is the perfect Cedric Diggory. His death scene is intense and extremely moving – as it should be. Brendon Gleeson is a rockin’ Mad-Eye Moody. The graveyard battle between Harry and Voldy is scary, awesome, disturbing, and makes me cry, every time.
In all honesty, I wish Newell had continued to direct the rest of the films. I think he captured the magic and adventure, action sequences, along with the darker, ominous parts of the story, superbly. His style, along with the balance found by Kloves’ script, cements this film as my third favorite.
- Prisoner of Azkaban – the best
- Goblet of Fire
- Chamber of Secrets
- Sorcerer’s Stone
- TBA – the worst