(Originally posted elsewhere in November, 2008.)
Part of me should re-evaluate and appreciate the new take on the old tale, from Lillith to Carmilla and every strigoi and succubus inbetween and since, one can only re-invent the wheel so many times, and, to be fair, I have not yet read the book, so, I don't know how much of this is the book's fault or the movie's fault, but, independant of the book, the movie had problems.
The movie stars Robert Pattinson. If his name sounds familiar, you spend way too much time on imdb.com. If his face looks familiar, it is because he was in the fourth Harry Potter movie. He played the dead 17 year old kid. In this movie, he plays the dead 17 year old kid. I mean, *spoiler alert*.
I have never wanted a vampire in a movie to die...any vampire...not once. Despite the Bela Legosi Dracula being so boring I couldn't wait for the movie to end, I never asked for a Barabbas trade-off. Despite rolling my eyes at every John Carpenter Vampire movie I have ever deigned to sit through, I have never rooted against the vampire. I still hate the scene where Madaline and Claudia are incinerated and if I ever see that movie again, I will avert my eyes as it is the most disturbing scene of any movie. This movie changed my record. I, at one point in the movie, was motioning, wishing I could stake the whole damned thing so that it wouldn't drag itself or anyone else down along with it.
And, I guess that is how I am approaching this movie and how this review is going to go, along the line of the vampire, not so much the movie, or the acting, or the casting, but mostly, the vampire, because the movie makes one ask, "What in the name of Barnabas Collins is going on and why do I care?" Hang on you little spider monkey's, we're going to movie quickly from tree topic to tree topic.
Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, and, continuing with this, the movie starts with a deer, a female deer running. Did somebody conjure a patronus to keep this movie at bay? If only.
We soon learn of the lead female (who looks like a Designer Imposter's Generic Allysa Millano) that she is leaving her mom and her mom's husband in Senator McCain Land to live in the Blue State of Washington. I don't just mean politically, I mean, the film has a tint to it that, if it were a musical piece, would be in a minor key...with a minor chord...played slowly. Horror movies typically implore this same sort of technique to heighten the anticipation; it is typically night or dark or rainy....even when it's in sunlight. This movie had a flushed look about it. It was really a detraction from the movie. Where was I? Ah yes, Washington. Ummm...she meets a guy....an American Indian and his dad...? His dad is friends with her dad and the two India....Nativ...First Nati...Red Me....(the dad is in a wheel chair, btw), have restored a red van for her, which her dad bought for her. We learn that younger Native, goes to high school on a reservation.
The next scene we see is What's Her Face driving to her new school. She gets out of the car and leaves the windows rolled down. She is accosted by an Asian male, who, is apparently straight, despite his mannerisms and body language saying otherwise. He introduces her to other teens...or maybe they glam on to her...I don't know, but, at one point, she notices, or maybe they point out these other kids. These other kids are pale, keep to themselves, and have seemingly almost-incestuous relationships (for, you see, though they are not related, they apparantly, for all intents and purposes live as siblings...for all anybody knows).
I don't know if it is before lunch or after lunch that New Girl has biology. She is told to sit in the only empty seat...which, perhaps is next to the vampire to show the void in his life and all of his Existential life is meaningless and tragic in his vampric state, and she is assigned to sit there to metaphorically fill this void...naaaaahhhh.
She sits next to him and he involuntarily/reactionarily motions to retch. He covers his hand and his nose with his mouth. The friend who bought the tickets to this show whispered, 'oh! he's covering up his fangs. *squee*'....but, in this series, vampires do not have fangs. Yes, the one thing that associates/symbolizes best the vampire to modern western audiences, and they, like many other things pertinent to storytelling, are lacking in this movie. Let me digress a bit by saying, I'm not sure how soon sharp teeth evolved in the vampire myths, or when, but, for over 100 years, to a western mindset, the sharp teeth going into the soft yielding skin of the victim has been sexual in nature. ...I guess that I've just answered my own question seeing as how there is no sexuality in this movie and no masculine representation can be found therein. If a vampire wants human blood, I have read about this series, s/he just has to bite down...really hard...which makes sense because when Leading Girl gets bit, one could see an entire teeth imprint.
Creepy Stalking Peeping Kid avoids this girl...except when he appears in her room at night. He stays out of school a few days to gather himself....or something. But, one day, he comes back, and he keeps staring at the Girl while she is at her truck and he's at the Hummer of his "siblings" when all of a sudden, another student almost crashes into her, but, despite him not being anywhere near this girl, he protects her by using his Jame's Dean pouffant pompadoor to bounce off the van aiming for her.
Then she's at the hospital. She's being checked out by Uber Pale Face's "Dad". She was stating how Uber Pale Face saved her...miraculously. He wasn't there and then he was and the other vehicle was smashed. Doctor: Really? That doesn't suprise me in the least and instead of passing this off as remembering wrong or something, I'm just going to continue listening to you while being patronizing, okay?
Next Scene: Still at the hospital. Banged up Girl walks to hear Uber Pale Face ("Edward", I guess...) talk to his, "parents" who reprimand him how he could have messed up everything and that this can't be good for their "family".
Edward sees that Girl is listening and goes over to her and he does the natural thing that starts off all great relationships: he lies.
Then we don't see and hear him for some time. The only thing worse than this movie with Edward is this movie without him. He next appears and speaks during a field trip. Besides that, I think it is this part of the movie that has the best message for a movie promoting chastity: either dream about the one kid you can't get off your mind or, if you are that kid, go up to the room of the girl you find attractive and watch her sleep...in her underwear. That's sweet, and not in any way a sign that you're planning to shoot a President.
Right, so, there's a field trip, to a green house or something, and, then there's...plenty of all sorts of forgetable things.
Ummmm....at one point, Edward and New Girl Friend are in...his...vehicle? Anyway, they both reach for the radio dial at the same time, and she comments, in a very obviously cliche'd manner, how cold he is. Despite this, they later make out...and kiss...and hold hands....and touch generally. We don't hear how awkward or uncomfortable his nippy body is.
But, we know how uncomfortable it looks. We know this because this movie is 80% face. This movie gets MUCH too close on everybody's surly vissage. I know all the dermatological issues of every actor in this movie. Every. Single. One. There has not been so many close ups close up on faces looking since a 1975 episode of, "General Hospital."
Anyway, back to the penance. Remember the American Indian Kid? No? Well, there was one, and, at one point he and two of his friends meet up with Girl and some of her friends at the beach. It is there that he tells her of the story of that other kid. It turns out that that pale "family" was hunting on his ancestors land a century or so ago. His ancestors found them red handed and the two sides made a pact: as long as the Uber Palies never hunted on their land and killed their animals (I think the Palies killed a wolf...and the tribe is named after the wolf or has a wolf spirit or something that I'm sure doesn't matter anyway, and, in a flash-back scene, a tribesman (or persons) were seen WEARing a WOLF skin, so, remember, wolf), and the Wolf Peoples would never tell the moderately pale faces what the REALLY pale faces are.
This new fauxledge makes Girl investigate so she can know more. She looks up things online and buys a book where it dawns on her, this new guy in her life is a vampire! (Props to her, though, for admitting it quicker than Harker.)
She buys the book and, I think we get to see Edward again...and then after a run in with her friends, he takes her out to dinner. And then, some other forgetable things happen.
At one point he takes her into the middle of the woods...PERFECT place to kill her, but, no. He makes her articulate what he is. He then goes into a soliloquy of how he is the perfect predator, how everything about him is designed for him to attract to kill. He doesn't DO any of these things, by golly, no, but, he gives his resume about how he is perfect for the job...of killing...which he was designed to do...naturally... But, then, Edward tells Girl that he wont kill her....intentionally....because he and his "family" are vegitarian vampires. They only drink the blood of animals. Drinking only animal blood is neither new nor vegitarian for a vampire, as a matter of fact, a vampire could be defined/identified simply by the livestock dying off. It is this redefining of fiction and assigning new words to mean what they clearly do not that raises red flags.
This is the highlight of Edward's "I need you, You MUST leave me forever," bipolarism that splatters this movie. He tells her that she is his drug. She's. Like. Heroin.
At some point, they are in the woods again, but, not before Bella...THAT's it!! THAT'S Girl's name! Bella. But, not before Bella, meets Edward's parents. Who are cooking for her...and welcoming of her...despite them not wanting her to know anything when they were in the hospital. Right, so, she meets the family: Doctor, Wife, Jock, Angry, Bisexual, and Blond Edward Scissor Hands....who is the youngest. Angry doesn't like Bella now.
Edward gives Bella a tour of his very modern and open, all windows house. Yes. All windows. These vampires do not fear sun and are not slaves to time. We'll get to that later. First, though, Edward does not sleep. Ever. Nope, never. He doesn't have a coffin to block out the sunlight, he doesn't have to have earth from his homeland to rejuvinate him, no Lazarus chamber or nothing. He does not sleep during the night, he does not sleep in the light. He does not sleep in a bed, he does not slumber with the undead. He can do better things with his time if he watches Bella sleep. Right, so, his house, and now, we go outside.
What happens outside one may ask (though, hopefully nobody reading this)? Edward goes into a monologue again. After he expositions for another 15 minutes, he concludes with, 'You want to see what happens when we go in the sun?' And he goes in the sun. And the audience expects to see something horrid. And the audience is right. He turns around and it appears....the sun makes him sweat. But, no, I'm wrong. "OOOH!! You're like a diamond!" It wasn't beads of perspiration I saw but Edward sparkling glitter. I'm glad Bella said something (but at the same time must point out, that if a movie has to tell you what's happening because it cannot actually physically convey it to the senses, it is doing something wrong and should be in radio) because I would never have picked up on that. So, to recap: if a vampire in this series goes out in the sun, do not take a picture because he will take forever to load on your myspace page. One final thing about this, I was going to compare this to a stripper, as female strippers have this new thing of wearing glitter, and, it's an appropriate corelation because his shirt is open so one gets to see more of his sparkly body.
If you think that is the stupidest thing about the movie, well, do you have another thing comming! If you thought that vampires only play apple hacky-sack, well, do you have another thing comming! It turns out, vampires also play baseball. At least American ones do. But, not just regular baseball, no. Stormy Baseball. And, I would like to emphatically stress thoroughly that if this movie doesn't tell you a reason, you just have to sit there and wonder WHY on EARTH can't you get ye flask....I mean, WHAT in the WORLD is going on. Case in point, one of the vampire family members asks Bella to ump their baseball game, because they can only play in the rain, for a reason, well, she'll see *wink*. After two hits, my friend asks, "I don't get it why do they have to play in the rain?" ...It's not so much the rain as it is a thunderstorm. You see, they hit the ball with the bat with so much force, it sounds like a clap of thunder. This movie doesn't let the laws of physics ruin the imposibility of the vampires transfering their supernatural powers to inanimate objects so that a) a bat can hit the ball without doing damage to either, b) the wood of the bat knocking a baseball to make a sound loud enough to be heard by others miles away, less enough to change that sound into sounding like thunder, and c) the ability for a regular wooden bat to hit a regular baseball, thrown with supernatural force, and keeping all things involved unbroken, sending the ball miles away.
Angry still hates Bella.
Then, some other vampires come into the movie. They're not, "New," per se, because we have seen them before earlier in the movie, as a matter of fact, they were talked about by the family of vampires (which, I believe, defined, is a "coven") in an obvious sort of way...unless you're a naive character in the movie, but, if we focused on them, we wouldn't see so much Bellward Face. So, new vampires come onto the field and Angry gets defensive for Bella. Bad vampires leave.
In a later scene, Black Vampire (who has had more time in front of a screen being interviewed for this movie than in the actual movie) is at the Coven Home to give a warning: He doesn't want to get involved in anything but those other two that he was with do. That guy vampire he was with, has senses unrivaled. That woman he was with, don't underestimate her.
Ugh. Is this over yet?
Right, and, yes, so, since Bad Vampire, I think his name is, "Team James," who, hasn't really been developed, is now hunting Bella. You know how we got the speech from Team Edward before? Now, to demonstrate, is Team James.
Edward gets the idea to have Bella run away...and then be separated from her. Within a matter of five minutes however, Bella is back in Washington (Forks, Washington...I don't know if that's trying to be clever in any way) facing James...in a ballet studio. Yes, no fangs, Edward just wanting to hold Bella and not go any further, and the climax of the movie is in a ballet studio...so help me God I want Stephen Segal and Chuck Norris cast in the next movie.
Capsaisin doesn't hurt vampires. I lost that one. I thought for sure that pepper spray WOULD actually burn a vampire, but, no, not in Twilight. I mean, garlic repells them but....ah....I keep forgetting, this is the vampire redefined.
Yes, then, at a moment I wanted to explain to my friend when she said, "At least we know a cross can't hurt them," as there was a equiform plus sign thing in the ballet studio, which had no effect on any of the vampires (Edward got there before the others, but, the others did get there. I should probably say that Bella arrived alone.). It's confession time: a cross could not originally harm/kill/repell a vampire. Vampire stories developed thousands of years before Catholocism and Her symbols, crosses didn't originally play into any vampire story. We have that in our collective psyche thanks to Stoker's piece of Christian propeganda.
Right, and remember when Black Vampire said that James' senses are without equal? Jock and Blond Edward Scissor Hands take the arms of James and hold him and Bisexual Vampire snaps his neck. They then burn him. In the ballet studio. While all this is happening, in the ballet studio, Bella was bitten, in the ballet studio. Edward sucks the venom out of her arm (yes, that's right, venom....maybe it's like, because, if they ARE of the devil, and the devil was represented as a snake....or, the author/director doesn't know what the hell they are on about), and, it is alluded to, some of her blood. I know it makes for a believable event in the scene of the movie, but, having another person sucking on your arm...again and again and again...to get that shot has got to be VERY uncomfortable...and odd...and germy.
Bella passes out and wakes up in the hospital. A lie told to her mom is then told to her as Edward "sleeps" (his arms change position on the wide shot and close up; look for it) and her mom leaves the room. It is then Edward's turn, one final Toby Maguire sized, "you have to leave me forever," angsty push before Bella says no.
Everybody goes back to Forks just in time for Prom! One final kiss (on a neck) and the movie ends.
I'm currently ovulating. That being said, even at this time, this movie is too girly.
All the comments of it is a romance for tweens...but, that's not what a vampire has ever been. Either we're going to present a vampire as innocuous (Count Von Count or Count Chocula) or he's meant to be the villan (Count Orlock). There is no reason to present a brooding vampire with Jonas Brother's Morals. Promoting chastity has nothing to do with falling in love with a vampire. I know that Dark Shadows, Coppola, and Rice have shown brooding vampires caring about their consequences, and, while that is new to the genre...VERY new, these vampires never denied themselves.
And speaking about chastity, Edward keeps telling Bella that he does have the potential to lose control. Bella keeps telling Edward that she doesn't care and she trusts him. At anytime, if this is non-metaphorical, Edward could rape Bella...but, Bella wants to be with him regardless. In her head, she believes so much that he wont harm her, she stays with him. (I must admit, I have read the Wikipedia pages on these books and the summary tells a lot about the author. This series was obviously written by a female: she asks for sex in future books and Edward, EDWARD, doesn't want to make love to her.)
I hated this movie because it's so utterly unrealistic. It is very pandering and naive. It is not at all based in the truth of reality. It doesn't speak of what is but of a view the author would like to be. The movie plays like it was written by a 10 year old girl who doesn't know much of the world. Edward is a 107 year old vampire...and he has never grown up. Interview With A Vampire's Claudia matures with years; True Blood's Bill, though he retains his gentlemanly ways of the mid nineteeth century, he too is a believable character. I chose Claudia and Bill in relation to Edward because I have never read the books of any of these stories but am basing what I know on what I have seen through visual media. Claudia and Bill, stuck in their bodies, moved on; Edward, turned into a vampire in the prime of his life, doesn't act like a 17 year old man.
This movie, goes against everything known and believed about the vampire throughout the ages. It redefines what has been redefined. I now understand Mormonism.
In other news, I have decided to become a vegitarian; I shall start immediately with steak tartar.