Thursday, January 27, 2011

Twilight Is A Big Practical Joke Part I

**Editor's note** I will only be speaking about the movie "Twilight" in this post, not the books.  I have not read the books and therefore cannot speak to them.

Last night I sat myself in front of the TV with a large pot of tea and manacles to keep me on the couch and forced myself to watch the first Twilight movie.

This is the result.

Right from the beginning, there are major problems.  The first five minutes of the film made me wonder if I was watching a bad student film, but then I heard Kristen Stewart's halting speech and the unlit quality of the footage and I thought, wait, yes, I am watching Twilight.  

Cause everything's all twilight-y.  Oh.  I get it.

Its time to face it, ladies and gentleman.  Kristen Stewart is a blight upon the performing world.  She always looks like she is about to fall asleep, and in some shots she looks like her eyes are completely different sizes.  Those things I can forgive, that's genetic, she can't help that she looks like she has a developmental disease.  The biggest problem I have with her is her absolute, flat out refusal to even slightly connect with another actor.  She is like a black hole of creativity.  See, I don't actually think that Robert Pattinson is that bad of an actor.  I think (thank you, Bryan) that when he stops trying to be James Dean, he might be a good little performer.  But every single time he tries to create anything resembling story or interest, she emphatically denies him.  She is the cock block of acting.

She has this habit of expelling her breath right before she speaks, in the middle of her sentences and at the end of her lines, giving her a Christopher Walken-esque way of speaking.  There are many things wrong with this.  First off, the only person who can do something Christopher Walken-esque is Christopher Walken, and sometimes it doesn't even work for him.  So she just sounds like a halting idiot.  Another reason this is very wrong has to do with a basic acting tenant, one of the first things I learned as an actress.  If you have this habit of huffing out a sigh at the end of lines, you are losing any kind of emotion or feeling that you were building.  Breathing out like that is an escape from what you are feeling.  So anything that could have been going on in Miss Stewart is immediately negated.  

Whats more, the character that Stewart has created and expects people to watch and like has the least attractive personality and is the biggest buzz kill of anyone I have ever encountered.  She is never happy or excited about anything.  If anyone else is happy or excited about anything, she will give that person reason to not be happy or excited with one droopy-eyed stare.  If I was a teacher in this school, or an adult in her life, or just a person passing her on the street, I would take her aside and honestly recommend that she get counseling.  Think about it, today a teenager who acts like Bella would be a candidate for a school massacre.

There is a fundamental truism in creating a film that draws in the audience, that intrigues a large group of people to the extent to invest themselves in a clearly unrealistic set of circumstances.  That is, if your characters honestly care about what is going on, so will the public.  For two hours, Kristen Stewart doesn't give a flying fuck what is happening.  The fact that a movie is being made around her just seems like a growing annoyance for her.  Robert Pattinson senses this, that his scene partner couldn't care less, so he tries to compensate by investing himself 300%.  This makes him look like he is in a completely different movie and a terrible over-actor.  This comes across in anger (the easiest emotion to go to when you are pushing something out that you don't really feel) and petulance.  That is about as deep as we get with Edward Cullen.

You never want a character talking about emotions that no one sees, in either character.  At one point, Bella starts talking about all these things she sees in Edward, that he's really a good person and that she can trust him and all that bullshit.  We, as the audience, have no idea what she is talking about, because we have seen none of this.  All we've seen is a moody, distant man who is extremely mentally abusive.

Edward is also terrible at keeping his vampire-ism a secret.  The only reason Bella is able to figure out Edward's secret (script-wise, of course, I don't believe that Stewart would find her way out of a station wagon with a windows rolled down) is because he is really shit about keeping this secret.  Out of all the secrets a person can have, the one about you being an immortal who must feed on the blood of living creatures should be the one most closely kept.  He fucks up all the time, its a wonder that the whole country doesn't know that he's a vampire.  If I was a vampire, I would be subtle.  In over a hundred years, he still hasn't learned this.

I find it strange that when she figures it out, nothing in her behavior changes.  She doesn't seem to feel any closer to him, there is still a major amount of awkwardness between them.  You could see that he was expecting things in this awful relationship to improve, whereas nothing changes.  The revelation of his other-worldliness doesn't strike her  as awesome (the original definition) or incredible.  It was like he told her that he sometimes drinks Coke instead of Pepsi.

Let's think about that scene for a moment - the one where Edward is revealing himself in all his glory to the awestruck Bella. 

The idea that vampires have no problem with the sun but are revealed as different when in it is actually an interesting notion.  The idea that they glitter in sunlight is asinine and inane.  The visual created in the film doesn't look like diamonds, it looks like he has a very special and dangerous strain of cystic acne.  Not attractive.  

In this scene, he should be trying to scare Bella.  The role of this scene in the grand scheme of the story is to show that Edward is so in love with Bella, that scaring her away to spare her a life loving him is his primary goal.  He should be trying to scare the piss out of her.  He should be scared that he might actually succeed.  Apparently, the director thought they should forgo all that story shit and just have him dance around the woods, hitting trees and rocks like a petulant child, wailing about how much immortality sucks.  Not scary.

 . . . . 

Ok, this is going to have to be a two part-er, cause I don't have the energy to finish the rest of this diatribe tonight.  It's wearing me out, all the awful.

So, yeah, tune in tomorrow.

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