Wednesday, November 25, 2009

“Twilight” – Unexplained hysteria…must be a woman thing.

My wife is officially on the “Twilight” bandwagon. She started reading the book more than a year ago, but didn’t really get into until recently. I don’t know what flipped the switch for her, but she devoured the book a couple of weeks ago. Naturally, she wanted to see the movie as soon as she finished the book, so here we are.

What I can’t understand is why there is so much hysteria surrounding these books/films. The books are written for girls between the ages of twelve and sixteen, yet there are adult women that are fanatically obsessed as well. I know this because 80% of the people who saw “New Moon,” the second book of the series, its opening weekend were female. Considering it made over $140 million that weekend, that’s a lot of women. I also know this because my wife is definitely not twelve and she’s plowing through “New Moon” like its chocolate and it’s her time of the month.

So what is it that turns all of these women into twelve year old girls? As we sat through the film, I tried to come up with reasons. My first thought was the obvious one, Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward (the main vampire), is hot. This has nothing to do with the book, but at least begins to explain why the young girls are infatuated. It doesn’t explain the women old enough to do something about it. Robert Pattinson is a weird looking guy. I have no ability to tell if a guy is good-looking/attractive, but I can tell when a dude is not either of those. To me, Pattinson is the perfect guy to cast as a vampire. He’s very gaunt, has creepy facial features (cheeks, eyes, eyebrows, and thin lips), and with the way he looks at people, I have no trouble believing he wants to take a bite out of someone. Not only is this not attractive, but his skin tone is very inconsistent throughout the film (sometimes he’s pasty white and sometimes he has a tan) and he looks like a lizard when he steps into the sunlight.

My wife actually commented on the sunlight thing before it happened, wondering how the filmmakers were going to do it. He is supposed to sparkle or something; Kristen Stewart even comments that he looks like diamonds, but it comes off as looking like lizard scales. If they can make a Transformer look real, this shouldn’t have been hard. Hell, even Patrick Swayze at the end of “Ghost” would have been a better way of depicting this. My point is that any women who are old enough to drive should not be fawning over this guy.

Then, I wondered if it was women living vicariously through Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella. This makes a lot more sense than the Pattinson theory because women are ridiculous. Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let me explain before you start throwing things. The vicarious thing is true because it’s the reason we all watch movies or read books; escapism. Women read things by authors like Danielle Steele because they fantasize about being the heroine who falls in love with the perfect guy. Except in this case, Bella is in high school and the guy is trying not to eat her. To top it off, Stewart possesses the acting skills of a grapefruit. Constant sighing/huffing, mumbling your lines, and trying to chew your lip off is not acting. If I hadn’t just seen her give the exact same performance in “Adventureland,” I might have been persuaded to believe it was just her character. Is that what women really want to be? A huffy teenager with bleeding lips lusting after vampires? If that’s not ridiculous, all men should just run head-first into walls.

Before we leave Stewart alone, it’s worth mentioning that she is not the best looking person in this film. Women love to compare themselves to other women, especially the ones they think are better looking than them (ask ANY married guy). I do not understand this since it usually makes them feel worse and they inevitably end up asking their husbands questions that should never be answered. Anyway, this is another aspect of vicariousness, so they should really want to be Alice (Ashley Greene), another of the vampires. She is gorgeous, she doesn’t age, and can see the future. What woman wouldn’t want that?

Finally, I thought about the story. Maybe that’s what has got all of these women in hysterics. For those of you that have been living under a rock, “Twilight” is about vampires. More specifically, forbidden vampire love. Edward and Bella basically eyeball each other for half the movie, get together, Edward concentrates really hard on not feasting on Bella while Bella continues to tempt him by gnawing on her own face, they play baseball (seriously), then Edward saves her life (he saves her from another vampire who isn’t even a threat to her until the end of the movie). In other words, it’s a fairly uneventful film that leaves a lot to be desired.

As I was about to dismiss this, I realized it really was the story that captivated all the women. It just wasn’t the story that the movie portrays. Since I haven’t read the book yet, my wife explained to me that while the movie followed the book pretty closely, it lost a lot of its allure in translation. This is very easy for me to believe, especially given my attitude towards current Hollywood screenwriters. I also realized that this movie is a lot better described as a prologue to the real story (I hope). There are three more books in the series, and I as said earlier, the second film was just released. I’m sure we’ll be seeing it very soon and I just hope none of the other women in the theater are prettier than my wife.

Rating: You should have asked for seven dollars back when this was in theaters. Unless, of course, you really were twelve.

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