Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Twilight is kind of legitimately good, in a way.

When Twilight came out in November, I read a few articles and blog posts that attempted to explain this cultural phenomenon. They usually included excepts from the books, to demonstrate how horribly written they are. And they usually discussed Stephenie Meyer and her Mormonism and indicated that the Twilight books are basically romance novels for girls who are still scared of sex, and of their own sexuality.

Ed suggested that we watch it the other night, and I figured we could put it on in the background while I worked on screenplay rewrites. Since I wasn't particularly interested in Twilight, I assumed that it wouldn't be very distracting. But it turned out to be so much more engaging than I expected. And the more I think about it, the more I think...it was actually kind of good.

It is a cheesy, ridiculous wish fulfillment fantasy for teenage girls. But how many cheesy adolescent male fantasies have been made into movies? Why would an adolescent female fantasy be any less legitimate? Why shouldn't girls get the same indulgence? And for what it is, it isn't bad. Yes, it's absurd and silly and melodramatic. But teenage girls are absurd and silly and melodramatic. Twilight successfully captures what it feels like to be a young girl in a particular stage of emotional development. I was very impressed by its authenticity. And authenticity is such a valuable quality, it makes it easy to overlook mediocrity in other areas.

I was also surprised by how much I liked Kristen Stewart. I thought she gave an excellent, relatable, sympathetic performance. She's interesting to watch and she projects depth, and I'd be glad to see her in other movies.

Robert Pattinson...I thought he was attractive in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I just don't understand the appeal of Edward Cullen, as a character. I mean, that's not really true. I completely understand the appeal. But the character doesn't appeal to me, personally, at all. I actually find him kind of repellent. I think it's safe to say that brooding and dangerous is not even remotely my type. And I didn't understand why, in the movie, he sometimes spoke in this weird, working class sort of voice that didn't seem appropriate for a vampire movie at all. I guess Robert Pattinson's American accent is still a little rough, and he was trying too hard to hide his real accent...letting a bit of it through probably would have felt right for the character. But I would also be perfectly happy to see him in something else. He seems talented, I just didn't care for him as this character. But I'm not sure if I would have really liked anyone as Edward Cullen.

So, yeah. I thought Twilight was funny and entertaining and, in some ways, insightful about the emotional experience of being a teenage girl. While I would never read the books, I'll be interested to see the next movie when it comes out.

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