Vampires and werewolves do not get along, I’ve learned, especially when one member of each monstrous clan is deeply in love with the same morose young mortal woman. This is the Twilight series.
Kristen Stewart plays Bella (I wonder if her middle name is Donna?) Swann, the daughter of a town sheriff. They had only just moved to the community of Forks in Washington and it didn’t take the outcast long to start running with the cool kids. By ‘cool’ I mean cold. The Cullens are a sullen bunch, mostly because they’re already dead and they have to exist among the living. Problem is, they can’t really connect with them except when it’s mealtime. That is until Edward Cullen (the mopey Robert Pattinson) falls in love with Bella. Naturally (or unnaturally) they can’t consummate their love for fear of someone being consumed. She presses him to turn her into one of his kind before she either dies in heartbreak or dies in digestion.
This troubles me greatly. What lessons are young women learning from these stories? Bella feels that she has to change herself and become something else entirely in order to accommodate her love. Is that really love? One of the first lines in the movie has her talking about the importance of compromise, so that each person in a relationship gives up something to suit the other better. All I can think is that this only leads to two people not being truly fulfilled. Then of course there’s the instance of Edward lying to Bella in order to ‘protect’ her. All of a sudden it becomes more and more apparent that he might not be such a sweet boyfriend.
Does that mean I’m on Team Jacob? Not in the least. This suitor, this competitor for her affections, forces a kiss on her against her will and desire. She punches him in retribution but somehow remains interested and somewhat affectionate. But the guy is such a dog!
This love triangle then exists between the girl (who doesn’t have enough sense of herself to be her own person) and two boys: one a strange animal who is allergic to shirts and good manners and the other who is sprinkled with glitter but can’t manage a smile to save his life despite how deeply in love he is. Eclipse is stuck between being a heightened romance tale and a nauseating digression into teen angst. Give me The Breakfast Club any day over tripe like this.
The Twilight series was created with a lush but languid atmosphere, like a rainforest with high humidity and a low dew point. It is intended to enthral and inspire, which I guess it does effectively. It barely even matters that I write this review. I’m not so swayed obviously. It’s a slow and drawn out soap opera that comes across like a bad high school play written by a novice trying to emulate a classic romantic tragedy but it is unduly affected by raging hormones and the author’s ardent struggle to be taken seriously.
The result is a stilted script, a disjointed plot and a complete lack of energy from the main characters, except for the tacked on and ridiculously repetitive fight scenes. Maybe the three young leads were perfectly cast for their collective ability to act well enough without smiling or emoting whatsoever. There is no happiness. There are no inflections in their voices, just long extended lulls of dialogue. When I wasn’t completely bored out of my mind, I groaned and groaned again for all of my displeasure.
These characters suffer greatly the ennui of their generation and of their conflicted existences. I too felt ennui, the banality of my lot utterly apparent as I suffered through two hours of nothing interesting.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Directed by: David Slade
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Kendrick, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz and Dakota Fanning
Now playing at: Grandin Theatres, Westmount Centre Cinemas and Scotiabank Theatre