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.
This, my friends, is the end of an era. It is a happy day. As the world is about to come to an end on December 21st, as the flood waters rise over Manhattan, as Twinkies go the way of heavily preserved dodos, The Twilight Saga puts its final, indelible, grotesque mark on the greater collective consciousness of a generation. What would have happened if the world had ended and I didn’t find out if Bells and Eddie fucked like a pair of pallid bunnies? What if I hadn’t found out how many times Taylor Lautner takes off his shirt? What if I hadn’t learned how fucking stupid a name like ‘Renesme’ actually is? But now, humanity, I can go to my Mayan apocalypse happy because, and I am completely serious right here, I watched a CGI wolf rip Dakota Fanning’s head from her body.
As you might have guessed from everything I have ever written ever and the general tone of that last paragraph, I am not a fan of the Twilight Saga. That’s a slight understatement. Twilight is, for all intents and purposes, my greatest enemy. My kryptonite. My arch nemesis. The Dr. Evil to my Austin Powers, the skin to my soup, the hangnail to my finger, the cramp to my foot, the fat hand to my Pringle can, the eyelash stuck under my fucking eyelid for hours that refuses to remove itself no matter how many times I excuse myself for looking either tired or crying. Let’s get this out of the way. Put on your serious face. I am a true believer in gender equality in all aspects of life. I do not believe, in this modern world, that there are any reasons why women and men cannot have exactly the same career and life opportunities nor do I believe that fulfillment in life comes from falling hopelessly and desperately in love. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t and that it isn’t a beautiful and wonderful thing…but a woman serving a man in the home isn’t, to me, the ‘natural order of things’. I do not believe men should be placed on pedestals and admired. I don’t believe women should be either. I completely admonish any created work that reinforces such outdated and infuriating stereotypes and I especially despise ones that get every girl on the face of the fucking planet to swoon at the very sound of the name ‘Edward’ and incorporate a female main character with about as much agency in the plot as a piece of rotting roadkill.
So, in honor of the end of Twilight, I have decided to do a mini retrospective culminating with my viewing of the final film. I warn you, very little of what I say is accurate. I don’t care. I could check my facts, but that would mean reading more about Twilight and, honestly, I would rather give myself a cesarian Prometheus-style than read another fucking thing about sparkling vampires. Therefore, without further ado…
Twilight (2008) – Catherine Hardwicke (Dir.), Robbert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Cam “The Prequel to Skynet” Giganet, Anna Kendrick, and some other people that I can’t be bothered to list
Now, a good friend of mine had told me about this book series before the whole Sparkling Beaver Fever really turned into an epidemic. I respect this friend. She is intelligent. She is talented. However, she was also single, 18 and of the vaginal persuasion. Upon hearing that it was about vampires, my interest was piqued. Sure, it was a love story. But, then again, everything is a love story. Here’s the issue with Twilight. The WHOLE THING IS A LOVE STORY. There is literally nothing else going on. It’s not about anything other than a girl wanting to bone a dude and the dude wanting to hold off until marriage because…well…he might bite her? Because men are monsters? And can’t control themselves? And it is entirely in our nature and it will never change? Oh, right, and all of the vampires, instead of doing that one thing that is characteristic of ALL VAMPIRES, you know, exploding into fire in direct sunlight…these ones sparkle. Like…more so than RuPaul on a good night. It’s a series about waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And it’s written by a mormon. Have you guys seen those ads recently? About successful business women of the mormon faith saying that they gave up everything to start a family and all mormon women should do the same. Um…no…?
So, on one very sad, drunken night, I decided to give myself a few chuckles and view this first segment of this ‘SAGA’. I mean, if they are going to give it a moniker of such mythological importance, like some Beowulf-level shit, I had to at least give it a shot. With a drink in hand and my loneliness hanging thick, I witnessed the first scene of this modern epic. Yes, it incorporates special effects of such shittery that even Ed Wood would have hung his head in shame. After that point, I was treated to a 90 minute show of bland colors, airbrushed actors, agonizing ‘running’ effects, the abject soiling of one of my favorite pieces of classical music (Claire De Lune – full disclosure, it’s because of the ending of Ocean’s 11. Don’t judge) and gender politics of such regressive and conservative nostalgia that even Jane Austen would have blushed. This movie is fucking terrible. Granted, vampire baseball was hilarious in the way that watching a cat attack its own tail is hilarious. It’s an idiot. And you are actively ridiculing its idiocy. But you don’t want it to stop because it reinforces that you, evolutionarily, are a more highly capable being and able to understand that trying to eat one’s tail is M.C. Escher-level insanity. And that is what we are, higher breeds than Twilight. Also, the part where the rogue vampire gets dismembered is fantastic.
We see a young Robert Pattinson, excited that he has a role where he doesn’t get murdered for no discernible reason (looking at you, Potter). He leaps into this movie, Cro-Magnon forehead first, and tears into it was his entirely mediocre acting chops. Ms. Stewart, on the other hand, who had actually been blessed with a previous career, has, over the years, discovered that her best way of conveying the complete blandness of a main character, who would give a bowl of soggy spaghetti a run for its money in a ‘Wet Noodle’ contest, has narrowed her only discernible talent to ‘Looking Pretty’, ‘Pushing a Hand Through Her Hair’ and ‘Lip Biting’. I swear to god, I was half-convinced she was some kind of mouth cannibal who was constantly tenderizing her own flesh. Turns out, while every vampire has special abilities (for no goddamn reason whatsoever), her human power is a COMPLETE LACK OF ANYTHING. This lack of stuff includes, but is not limited to: a personality, decisiveness, personal agency, passion, interestingness, not-terribleness, vocabulary, hair ties, not-angst, basic levels of human communication, a tan, not sleeping with her director on Snow White (too soon?) etc. What’s doubly frustrating is that the director, Catherine Hardwicke, is a legit filmmaker. She made Thirteen! Also, she has a vagina! Wasn’t she constantly affronted by her propagation of work that encourages obsession with bedazzled private parts? But, all in all, with some whiskey in hand, the whole thing was mildly amusing and not entirely like that machine in Saw V where you need to table saw into your own hand to fill the jar with blood to make the door open. It was a little like that, but not entirely. I give it two thumbs down…which isn’t terrible because I have A LOT more thumbs.
New Moon (2009) – Chris Weitz (Dir.) Robert Pattinson (again), Kristen Stewart (ugh-gain), Taylor Lautner (hmm-gain?), Michael Sheen (fucking finally)
You know what was missing from the rampant misogyny of the first movie? Abhorrent racism. I believe Ms. Stephanie “I LIEK WORDS” Meyer sat down and really thought, “Well, I’ve inured an entire generation of girls to the concept of a career or safe sex practices, why not make them okay with other-fying Native Americans?” Well, she fucking succeeded. Completely missing from the first film was the information that Bella’s best friend, a long-maned gentleman who was previously of a Shark-Boy persuasion, was actually a fucking werewolf. And not one of the awesome werewolves that have conversation with their victims in a porno theater in London. No, this is the Native American kind that ‘imprint’ (read: pedophiliac obsess) on little girls (SPOILERS) and their entire ‘Tribe’ can turn into wolves at will. Also, his totally metal wig (read: as convincing as Tara Reid’s last boob job) is gone in favor of a super manly short cut along with a few more cuts in the Michaelangelo’s David department. Dude got ripped.
Anyhoo, apparently the Cullens have to go away because…I don’t really give a shit. Bella has to stay. She cries. And she cries. And she screams. And she tears her hair. I was half expecting Father Merin from The Exorcist to show up and punch her in the jaw before ordering her to calm her tits. Unfortunately, Max Von Sydow would never sully his awesome Judge Dredd-ilicious career with such a base piece of turdery as this. Bella tries to cope with the, I guess, loss? by making out with the hot brown dude with abs so ripped he needs a sewing kit to patch it up. Also, there’s a thing where she scares herself and gets to see Ed ‘Rhinestone’ Cull-dawg again. How? No fucking idea. Maybe love is that strong. Maybe Stephanie “DERP” Meyer is making this shit up as she goes. Maybe they needed to pad this movie BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENS. Seriously, even Samuel Beckett, if he’d had the misfortune to watch this movie, would have been bored to tears. My roommates and I watched this thing with Rifftax (a wonderful venture from the makers of Mystery Science Theater 3000) while drinking. Heavily. So heavily, in fact, that I just about missed the AMAZING finale involving Michael Sheen and Pattinson’s chest, a substance so pale it literally emits photons. Full disclosure: I have no fucking idea what occurred at the end of this movie. And I don’t care. All I know is that an entirely sparklicious Michael Sheen lathered on the ham so thick, I wanted to fry him up for breakfast.
Let us take a moment to discuss the wonderful Mr. Sheen. Having a name so close to the gravel-voiced father of all that is the immediate Apocalypse and the tiger-blood guru himself, you’d think that a pasty, slight Brit who seems as timid as a dormouse convention would get lost in the pop-culture mix. But he refuses. From his masterful performance in Underworld as Lucian the Lycan, to his turn as Wesley Snipes in 30 Rock to the head of the…I want to say Voluptuous? The Volturum? The Vulture? We’ll call them the Vagazzled, for the sake of ease. While the rest of this greener-than-a-really-shit-banana cast lip-bite and serious-face their way through this dirge of teenage angst, Sheen waltzes in, the belle of the ball, wags his acting dick about a little, maybe slapping a few unfortunates along the way, and then slips from the fray as nothing more than an extraordinarily fantabulous specter of pure ‘Day-um’-ness. He is, hands down, the most enjoyable aspect of this ENTIRE franchise. So, Chris Weitz, I shall forgive you this moment for murdering The Golden Compass. You chose…wisely.
Eclipse (2010) – David Slade (Dir.), Robert Pattinson (duh), Kristen Stewart (ugh), Taylor Lautner (double duh), Bryce Dallas Howard (Huh?), Dakota Fanning (Uh…what-the-wha?)
Okay…this one I didn’t see. And, apparently, based on the beginning of the fourth movie, I didn’t need to. The entirety of the consequential dramatic action is: Bella ‘chooses’ Edward and a collective scream of every girl batting for ‘Team Jacob’ shook the core of the earth. So, seeing as I haven’t actually viewed what my good friend Alex called, ‘the dumbest use of the director of 30 Days of Night,’ I will rant about another major hangup I have about this ‘Epic’s place in society. This concept of ‘teams’ in works of fiction is utterly absurd. It’s about as sensical as having Team ‘The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow’ and Team ‘We’re All Going to Fucking Die at Sundown!’ The obvious choice is screaming you in the face, though there is a sliver of a chance that the latter option might occur. From a literary, an intelligence and a basic human point of view, there is no reason on the face of planet earth that the series of books about a girl falling in love with a vampire would suddenly be about her running off with a werewolf. Wow. I just wrote that sentence. Point is, fan girls, when you dichotomized Twilight, I was fine. This ‘Legend’ is dumb. When you turned your sights onto The Hunger Games, I called shenanigans (which is actually a legal term. Look it up. But don’t…because I might be wrong). There is no way in hell Katniss was going to ‘be’ with Gale. The whole fucking point is that she falls in love with Peeta. It’s how you tell a story. So, to employ sports partitions on the predetermined ends for fictional characters, my brain begins to hurt with such vibrate fury that I might go Scanners on you bitches.
Also, I heard, from Alex, that when Bella chooses Edward (uh, duh), Jacob reads her mind (because wolves can do that…?) and then says, “I’m done. I’m just…done.” At which point, Alex laughed in the midnight showing and the weeping girls in front of him turned around and said, “Shut up. It’s not funny.” Actually, miladies, it’s fucking hilarious. MOVING ON.
Breaking Dawn Part One – (2011) – Bill Condon (Dir.), Robert Pattinson (Of course), Kristen Stewart (Of Snores), Taylor Lautner (Of horse?)
And here we have arrived. The finale of this Twilight Yarn. It was, of course, TOO BIG FOR ONE MOVIE! How could they have possibly fit all those awkward actor pauses into the length of one film? How could Taylor Lautner have taken off his shirt the maximum number of times on only a couple of reels? (The first happens at minute number 3. Seriously) How can we find out the utterly inconsequential and pointless end to this tale that, by it’s own admission, has no fucking end, in ONLY ONE SITTING? Well, the answer is: we can’t. And so, the geniuses back at the movie company decided to split their winnings and make two bloated, batshit, bullheaded, bastardy finale films. Man did they. I remember reading a synopsis of the events of this tale beforehand. For some reason, this bastion of non-events suddenly takes a dive into a deep pit of bizarre Croenenbergian darkness and body horror. I’m not sure if Stephanie “aefgyip (just so we’re clear, that was me hitting the keyboard with my head)” Meyer had some kind of traumatic birthing experience or if she watched Alien at far too young an age, but The Twilight Bedtime Story takes a bizarre turn for the grotesque all of a sudden.
After Bella begs for sex, Edward demands marriage first. You know, like all men. So, they get married. It’s…well, a wedding. There’s a lot of people smiling awkwardly and being all cutesy. Anyways, after the big deed, Mr. and Mrs. Sparkle Motion head to the tropics for a
bonercation honeymoon. After a first night of raucous sparkle-p in the v, Edward decides against sex because he’s afraid of hurting her. So…no sex even when married. Man, Bella knows how to choose ’em. And seeing as her choice of what supernatural pork sword will be making home in her special temple is literally the only choice she makes in the entire series, she’s going on 0 for 1. So, instead of sex, they do the next best thing. Chess. Yes. You read that correctly. They play chess. On their honeymoon. I’m surprised Bella, who looks about as amped as a fucking French Pug having found a new leg, doesn’t suddenly turn into Austin Powers and start tweaking the bishops. It gets to the point where she literally begs for sex. And then they tear shit up, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee style. Of course, because this was written by someone who believes in abstinence and that Jesus, after he died, moved to the US to set up shop, Bella gets pregnant with, (reverb please) SUPER BABY. This super baby drinks blood, grows at a rate A THOUSAND TIMES FASTER THAN A REGULAR BABY…or something. Basically, Kristen Stewart starts turning into an approximation of her inevitable future mugshot. Her skin goes gray; she drinks blood from a Big Gulp cup; and, eventually, when the baby decides to explode from her uterus, it helps out by snapping her spine in half. And then there’s the cesarian…which is performed by Edward’s teeth.
Now, here’s the kicker…all that ripping babies from wombs with dentures and feeding blood and killing Bella (SPOILERS…who even fucking cares at this point?), I haven’t even reached the most absurd plot point in the entire movie. Jacob, the indian wolfy thingy, takes one look at the named-after-a-sneeze Renesme and ‘imprints’ on her or, as it’s called in the industry, ‘becomes a pedophile’. Yes, that’s right folks, the 18-year-old werewolf falls in love. With a baby. That actually happens. In this movie. I. Will keep. Putting. Random punc. Tuation. All ov. Er. Th. Is. Bitch.
I suppose the reason I had such a raucous time during this film, while neither drunk nor under the influence of any drugs other than caffeine, was due to the fact that something actually occurs. Now, let’s put this in perspective, I missed the entirety of The Twilight Thingy: Moon Reference and the only thing, literally, that changed between the end of movie 2 and the beginning of movie 4 was that Bella and Edward were engaged. Now, if I had skipped this addition to the franchise, I would have been beset with a vampire Bella and a CGI baby that grows super fast and has magical powers for some reason and a werewolf that’s in love with a toddler… That puts things in some perspective, I feel. Also, my stylist friend sitting next to me was both enraptured and offended by what was occurring on screen at all times. She both ridiculed and wept at the same time. It was utterly confusing to me. But, then again, I don’t understand a lot of people.
Breaking Dawn Part 2 – Bill Condon (Dir.), Robert Patterson (I’m so tired of writing that), Kristen Stewart (Even more tired of writing that), Taylor Lautner (I should be tired of writing that, but then I remember he was Shark Boy in the aptly named ‘Shark Boy and Lava Girl IN 3D!’), Michael Sheen (NEVER TIRED OF IT), Dakota Fanning (Seriously, what?), Maggie “I Am 35 And Still Play 18-Year-Olds” Grace, Joe “Real Actor” Anderson and a bunch of other people…
It has finally come. The creme de la phlegm. The coup de blah. The pick of the shitter. The finale to end all finales…of the Twilight S-oh-god-I-want-to-stop-writing-about-it. As the completely arbitrary partition might suggest, the ‘action’ of this ‘film’ ‘picks up’ where the last one ‘left off’. We have a wolf in love with a CGI, soulless demon baby (WHY MUST YOU FOLLOW ME EVERYWHERE, UNCANNY VALLEY? IT’S CREEEEPY), Bella is a vampire with the ability to punch boulders for no apparent reason and…I guess…not get hurt? She discovers she is a ‘shield’ and can project this onto friends and family. So, she just became exactly what the series has been trying to say the entire time: she’s the Invisible Woman. Apparently, there’s this law that prohibits people from making baby vampires and the Vagazzled or Voltron or Voltu-I-just-don’t-care-anymore want them all dead. So, the Cullen Crew, along with the smitten kitten, Jacob and friends, charge off to the corners of the earth to find ‘witnesses’. Yes, my friends, the Twilight Whatever will end like Twelve Angry Men. With talking. As the Vagazzled march on Forks (what a fucking stupid name. The only name that would be stupider would be ‘Sporks’ but at least that serves more than one functional purpose…unlike Bella. OH. DRAMATIC ACTION BURN!) the Cullens gather their vamp-bros. We got a lady with a penchant for electrocuting people and so much collagen that it seems like a magician glued a balloon animal over her mouth. There’s a bug-eyed Egyptian dude who can control elements. Also some crazy Russian bloodsuckers who dress like Eastern European Goth Leather Bondage…well, like Eastern Europeans. And last, and certainly least, we have the final button on Ms. Stephanie “Wait, what’s a semi colon?” Meyer’s rampant, radiant racism is the addition of two vampires from ‘The Amazon’ (and no, they don’t do online retailing) who seem to be able to make you see things by looking as though they really need to poop. *Slow clap* Bravo. Simply…bravo.
This film is two hours long. Ninety percent of it involves people standing around awkwardly, getting angry about nothing and having arguments that even a beginning writer can tell lack even the most basic conflict. I was sitting there, stewing, agonizing, waiting for SOMETHING, ANYTHING to happen. Well, if you’ve read the books, you know that what occurs is a big fat bullshit nothing. It’s worse than Waiting For Godot, than My Dinner with Andre, than my interdisciplinary study at Oberlin College called “Watching Paint Dry 101: Activities to Do While Your Parents Fight in the Other Room”. An interesting thing occurs during this film, however. It seems as though the makers realized this was a dirge, their Hades and, like Orpheus trudging towards the surface, they could see the light ahead… So they decided to fuck around a bit. Condon knows what’s up. Even Pattinson does. Stewart is trying to keep her head down to avoid the rage of the rabid Robsessives and Michael Sheen is…well, if movie number 2 was Ham Factor 5, this is shit is a full on pork roast.
So, all the factions meet up in some random ice plane, the Motley Cullen Crue (I wish I could do umlauts, I’d put them everywhere) on one end and the Vagazzled Voltrons on the other (note to self: new band name/TV show idea). This time, Mr. Sheen shows up looking like Sgt. Pepper’s Goth nightmare and, well, this picture says it all:
Everyone in the audience is ready for the greatest narrative cockblock of all time…until, suddenly, they all start decapitating each other. I sat there fucking stunned. One by one, the main characters are all murdered in the same way you’d kill a squad of Lego men. Seriously. It turns into X-Men: Noggin Pop Edition. It’s brutal, it’s violent, it’s shocking and DAKOTA FANNING GETS HER HEAD RIPPED FROM HER WEEPING CORPSE BY A CGI WOLF. Holy. Fucking. Shit. I began giggling in the same way I did during that scene in Seven Psychopaths when everyone goes out guns blazing in Sam Rockwell’s demented imagination. The dad gets decapitated. The annoying blonde one. And then Bella and Edward team up, Scott Pilgrim style, and wreck Michael Sheen’s shit. It was hands down the most enjoyable, harrowing, ridiculous, hilarious, tense, crazy, wonderful, manic, pants-wettingly guffaw-o-licious thing I have seen in a very long time. And then…there’s a twist. A shockingly intelligent twist. Guess what? It wasn’t in the book (in a sense). So, let’s recap, the most brilliant part of the ENTIRE SERIES wasn’t actually even in The Twilight Chronicles. Mr. Condon, well fucking done. You have done the world a service. Those last fifteen minutes were a work of genius, some Citizen Kane level shit. It wasn’t actually, but in the context of the rest of this festering fecal filmic fellation, it was basically the greatest move in all of cinematic history.
So, to conclude. Twilight blows on every single level. But, you know what? Everything was worth it for those five minutes of brutal batshit bliss. Now, I can walk into my doom a contented man. Yes, Mr. Tarantino, I’m sure there will be some awesome moments in Django Unchained. Yes, I’m sure someone will one day come out with my brilliant idea for a film, Zombie Strippers (wait…they already did that? And it was bad? How bad? Oh…like Scary Movie 3 bad? Worse than Scary Movie 3? What about Epic Movie? Worse than that? Oh dear Jesus)…but, all that nonsense can go hang because I witnessed K-Stew serve Dakota Fanning to a mutherfucking wolf. Thank you, Bill Condon. You have restored my faith in humanity.
Oh yes. And just because Renes-Bless-You grows super fast, that doesn’t make falling in love with her as a newborn not-pedophilia. I’m calling Dateline on you, Jacob Black. Also, Stephanie Meyer, please, for the love of everything that is holy on God’s green Earth, stop abusing the written word. When I open one of your books, it’s like witnessing Marcellus Wallace in the gimp basement at the end of Pulp Fiction. Just leave those poor, poor sentences alone. They never did anything to you.
Oh shit. She wrote another book? Which they made into a movie? JEEVES! Get my Fandango! I have more snark to give! TALLY HO!
(He rides off into the sunset, one man against an author and the destruction she has wrought across the literary hellscape that is modern fiction. Will he return? Find out…after Thanksgiving.)