Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Review: Twilight


First things first, welcome back to good old Wall Shadows! It's been a long time and a lot's been happening with me, but for all that boring personal stuff, you can head over to sister site Wall Scratchings and read any of that you want. I appreciate that my writing style may be shot to pieces and this may be a total random set of disconnected paragraphs but bear with me and I'm sure I'll be reviewing coherently in no time.

Now then, Twilight. Obviously being a 28 year old male I'm hardly in this film's target audience. Clearly the large quantity of pubescent teenage girls (and their unfortunate boyfriends) who have already made it a franchise don't give a flying monkey's right buttcheek what I think.

But I only ever write reviews as I see em, and Twilight is an ideal place to start since it is so mind numbingly, hilariously dull and awful that it's a veritable feast for the fingers of a cantankerous, war weary movie soldier like myself.

Spoilers abound below, people!

So - vampire movies have been around for almost as long as movies themselves. From the legendary Shreck or melodramatic Lugosi Draculas to the piss poor Richard Roxburgh, the weird little vampire has seen countless iterations, many quite good, like Scars Of Dracula; some weird, like Shadow of the Vampire and some retarded, like the laughable John Carpenter's Vampires.

We know, from these, the rules of vampires. Well, those that haven't been rewritten (how many times has Dracula been resurrected now?)
  • They're so sexy women collapse in front of them with their... ahem... necks... out for all to see.
  • They can't go out in daylight. It's fatal.
  • You can kill em with a stake to the heart.
  • They're not fond of crosses or garlic. A cross made of garlic, while stinky, would be a good defence.
  • They drink blood. Oh yes.
  • They tend not to die. Unless some do gooding chump with a spiky bit of wood gets involved.
Twilight is too cool to do what it's told. It's not going to be told what to do by the vampire rules. The rules aren't its real dad anyway. IT HATES YOU, IT HATES YOU.

You see, some brainless loser decided that Vampires needed a makeover.

Sorry, I was being a really annoying, whiny teenager there. Get used to that if you're planning to watch this.

So, if you really think Vampires are cool, but a little too sexy and violent for you, you've got to do something about the rules that predate these books. And Miss Meyer has done so with aplomb.

If Twilight was a proper vampire movie, this would be the plot.

Bella Swann, a teenage girl, moves to a small town to live with her estranged father. A few days later she is dead and her father vows to discover her killer - whoever, or whatever, it may be...

See? Sounds good eh? Unfortunately, here's the plot for Twilight;

Bella Swann, a teenage girl, is such a wonderful person and loves her mother so much she's prepared to go live with her estranged dad so her mum can go off round the country with her new boyfriend. Immediately accepted at school into the in-crowd because she's from somewhere else (?) she meets Edward Cullen, who is a violently angry, strange looking, pale skinned, moody freak who never goes out in direct sunlight and lives with a "family" in a secluded house no-one goes to. Edward is inexplicably attracted to Bella since she's so wonderful and she catches him stalking her. But since he's dreamy she gets involved in his life anyway and for fifteen minutes at the end there's a bit with bad vampires... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

There is so much wrong here. The outsider from a different state is IMMEDIATELY POPULAR? Did the author even go to school at any point? Seriously, I changed schools a couple of times and it takes at least three days to stop them pouring urine on your head, let alone sitting with you at lunch and pointing out the hotties.

And Edward himself is a real let down, as is his family. Perpetually filmed in slow motion, young Robert Pattinson seems to be following the Richard Gere Method - "look at the floor, then - without moving your head - look at the other person.... in slow motion!".

Everything scary about vampires has been expunged. The only thing left is that they're all really attractive, I guess. Since they're all heavily made up and the girls have curled their hair I guess we'll follow the movie shorthand and go with "Sexy". Oh, and they do drink blood. Just.

And they're nice vampires, you know. They only kill animals.

Sadly, they're also almost totally pathetic.

They WHINE.. they bitch and moan and are so mind meltingly insufferable you're almost wishing for Christopher Lee to show up and overact a bit to liven things up. Turns out the biggest danger in a Vampire's house here is walking into a screen door.

Oh, and these guys can go outside in the daytime, so long as it's misty or foggy or rainy or anything else that looks good in slow motion. The reason why they can't? I'm glad you asked. Let me explain....

Centuries ago, a small invisible goblin called Daubney, discovered the secret of mixing glue with shiny things to make... you've guessed it... glitter glue. The gods rewarded him with the power to stop time, which he gratefully accepted. But he was deceived by the gods, who in fact only made him able to stop time when a vampire was in direct sunlight - and forced him to paint the glitter glue messily all over their pasty faces and hairless torsos. It is a life of sad torment for the Goblin, who is now remembered only in the verb he coined: "To Daub".

So when the vampires go out in the direct sun they glitter a bit rubbishly. That's it.



I found that so upsetting I invented a story about a fricking Goblin to stop me having to type it for a while.

The only even vague semblance of an actual plot outside the obvious "oh he's so dreamy" antics (which have no structure - they simply love each other immediately) is introduced and dealt with in about a total of 15 minutes of screen time at the end, much of which is spent changing the dynamic from "oh I love you, but I don't want to use you" to "I love you and I will protect you and not use you"

Oh wow, how modern. How "new". How mind crushingly boring.

And in the end, that is Twilight's greatest crime. Forget the fact it's not scary. In fact, don't.
It is the opposite of scary. It is just plain boring. I just can't get past that.

Add to this the sad fact that the effects are laughable, despite Daubney's best efforts. The vampires can run fast. Fine, that's a pretty cool power - but not when their leg movements are totally unconnected from the way they're moving - it's almost as if they're on a track and running on the spot, Wile E Coyote style! Rubbish.

And add to THIS that the whole production value seems to be firmly planted in "TV pilot" territory and we have a real stinker on our hands. It wasn't even funny for long.

Dire, drab, pitifully acted and fatally boring. Please, let me take from this experience the knowledge that my suffering has spared just one other person. One sad, lonely person who might think "sod it, it can't be all that bad - I'll just watch it to check".

Please don't.

Comments are welcome and encouraged below. Thanks for reading.



  1. Your story of Daubney was better constructed than Twilight. But Twilight is longer and therefore better. A logic that also apparently applies to the second film.

  2. Ick... I genuinely considered seeing the second one just to trash it, but what's the point?

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. The problem with Twilight is that it has an in-built fan base. They can - by all accounts - produce whatever dross they want to (and according to early reviews of ‘New Moon’ they’ve done just that), and the female 12 - 18 year old demographic (and sometimes older....) will lap it up. It is interesting that traditional movie marketing logic says that your male 15 - 24 is the big ticket demographic who go and watch most movies, but Twilight has managed to throw that theory out the window. Young females are now the way to go. This will guarantee a slew of similar themed movies (In fact I hear that the final Twilight movie is going to be split into two a la “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” to rake in even more money)

    I don’t think we should actually be surprised at this. I watched Twilight and found it....O.K. It created it’s own reality, stuck within that reality and delivered an average performance. Like you I am not the target audience for this and, frankly, R-Pattz does nothing for me (although Ashley Green can have the top off my egg any morning). Yes it messed up royally with the traditional Vampire canon although that is sometimes to be applauded. But the director on this was inexperienced and shouldn’t - really - have been allowed within 500 yards of the set. You and I have both worked with directors who know what they’re doing and those who don’t know what they’re doing. This shows up on the screen in the final film. Frankly Twilight was a disappointment on that level too. Fortunately they’ve replaced this director with Chris (American Pie/About a Boy) Weitz for the next installment and the final movies will be done by David (Hard Candy) Slade so technically they will be a higher level. We hope.

    But they still won’t appeal to you and I, Algo.

  4. The successes of the Twilight saga and Mamma Mia make me ashamed to have a uterus. ASHAMED!

  5. I love everything about this review!

    Also, what Gabby said about shame!

  6. Aren't you glad you begged to borrow it now??