Aug 8, 2016
Twilight (2008) (part 9 of 9)
She arrives at the ballet studio and hops out of the taxi without paying, while her voiceover says that she doesn’t mind all the decisions that led her to this point, since they also led her to Edward. Say what?
She also takes a moment to check the bottle of pepper spray. I love that they added it to the plot.
Entering the eerily-lit ballet studio (I almost typed “stupido” there), she hears Mum calling her name and hurries off to investigate. Opening a cupboard, she finds…
…a TV, playing an old home movie from when she was a kid.
James appears, snickering. Bella turns and sees a dozen reflections of him smirking at her. So yes, it would seem vampires do have reflections in this universe. Just as well, since there wouldn’t have been any advantage at all in filming this in a room full of mirrors otherwise.
The real James advances, calling Bella a stubborn child. Bella, the genius, intuits that her mother isn’t really here. Bingo! Give that kid a prize!
The article continues after these advertisements...
James pins her up against a mirror and explains his evil plan. He’s got a video camera, and he’s going to make his own snuff film. Turning it on, he points it at her and tells her Edward will have a whole lot of fun watching this particular home movie. Bella screams at him to leave Edward alone, but James, in an adorable sing-song voice, tells her that screwing around with Edward will be a lot more fun than this all-too-easy victory.
Bella, though, has a bit more spunk than her book counterpart, and whips out the pepper spray. She gives James a good squirt right in the eyes, and makes a break for it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything to him, and he promptly chases her down and boots her into a pillar. Still filming, he stands over her and mocks her for being a weak little human. Then he stomps on her leg, breaking it, and yells at her to plead with Edward to avenge her. She screams for him not to, and then something cannons into James and knocks him away.
Yes, of course, it’s Edward. He’s about to fight James, but stops when he smells Bella’s sweet, sweet blood. James takes advantage of this and smashes him into another pillar, telling him he’s faster than the other Cullens, but not stronger.
Edward throws him across the room and hurries to scoop up Bella, which is a bad idea because James comes back. Edward is hurled into a window and Bella tumbles across the floor, copping a big piece of glass in the leg along the way. James crouches over her and, once he’s sure Edward is looking, bites her arm.
Edward hulks out and leaps at him, ploughing both of them through the floor. They wind up against a pillar, and fight a bit more, Matrix style, before ending up against another pillar. While all this is going on, Bella is on the floor, moaning as she starts to change into a vampire.
Edward bites James in the neck, taking out a chunk. Apparently, the chunk of neck was actually melted cheese. That, or chicken. They used chicken when they ran out of cheese, or so I read.
Bella vibrates gently on the floor, and then the rest of the Cullens arrive. Dr. Cullen quickly puts a stop to Edward’s attack, telling him to “remember who you are,” whatever that means. Edward calms down and hurries over to Bella. Alice is already there, but starts to lose control when she smells the blood. The others tear up the floorboards and start a fire, and Alice runs over and (I swear) breaks James’ neck. Ooyah!
While the other Cullens tear James limb from limb (noooo!), Edward and Dr. Cullen tend to Bella. Dr. Cullen says she’s losing too much blood, but she grits out that her head is burning. Too much thinking… brain hurts! Heeeelp!
Dr. Cullen tells Edward that Bella is changing, and he has to decide. Alice comes over and says Bella will be a vampire one day—she’s seen it. Edward says it doesn’t have to be that way, and Dr. Cullen says that if he doesn’t want her to change, then he has to suck the venom out of her.
Wait, why can’t Dr. Cullen do it? He’s the one with the amazing self control! Why the hell are they risking Bella’s life by making the untested Edward do it?
Oh right, because this is meant to be the resolution of that thing about Edward not being able to control his lust—uh, I mean, hunger, around Bella. Gotcha.
Edward takes the bite-mark in his mouth and starts sucking, and yes, this looks as dumb as it sounds. After a little while, Dr. Cullen suddenly knows that the venom is gone, and Edward has to stop or she’ll die. How she’s even still alive, what with this and the severe bleeding from her leg is beyond me.
After a hilarious “mental battle” bit, Bella loses consciousness and sees a lot of random images of her own face darting around, the Cullens dancing around James’ pyre (noooo!!), flashbacks from the rest of the movie, what looks like some deleted scenes, herself as a child, and finally herself in a hospital bed. Her voiceover makes a return and gets all philosophical about how death is easy and life is hard.
How do you know death is easy? Have you ever tried it? I didn’t think so.
Bella finally wakes up in hospital, and finds her mother looking at her. In the background is a TV screen showing a video of flames. Apparently, this was meant to represent Bella’s confusion, or something.
Naturally, Bella’s first thought is the whereabouts of Edward. Mum points over to the side of the room, where he’s feigning sleep. Apparently, he hasn’t left her once. No surprises there, since he apparently gets off on watching her sleep. Watching her comatose must be even better!
Bella asks what happened, and her mother tells her that she fell down some stairs. Edward had come after her to persuade her to come back to Forks, hence his presence. Nice, guys. Real smooth. And I’m sure nobody will ask any questions about the bite-shaped injury in her arm with the teeth marks and everything.
Mum starts to talk about how Bella will come and live with her in Florida, but Bella says she wants to live in Forks. She asks to talk to Charlie so she can say sorry. (Unlike in the book, she calls him Dad, rather than Charlie).
Once Mum has gone, Edward “wakes up”, but he’s gone back to brooding. Bella asks about James, but is told he’s gone (noooo!). Edward comes to sit by her, and once again he’s on the depressive side of his cycle, blaming himself for what happened to her (no, Edward. It was her own damn fault). He tells her she has to go off to Jacksonville because he’s too dangerous, etc.
Bella freaks out, saying no about eighteen times, and throwing out sentence fragments until he all but begs her to stop. The haters are right, you know: this isn’t love. It’s an obsession, and an incredibly unhealthy one.
Back in Forks, we find ourselves in the abode of Charlie and his wonderful Moustache. They and Edward are sitting together, looking very standoffish—the Moustache in particular seems to be bearing a deep grudge.
Luckily for Edward, he’s rescued when Bella comes down the stairs. She’s wearing a very nice prom dress and a huge walking cast. She’s all embarrassed, but Edward greets her with a ridiculous sad puppy dog look. I don’t see love in his expression when he looks at her. I see self-loathing and desperation. Isn’t that just so appealing?
Edward leads the way out of the house, and as Bella follows him, Charlie stops her and surreptitiously tells her that he’s put a fresh can of pepper spray in her bag. I do love a nice running gag.
Bella and Edward arrive at the prom, which is being held in a very nice Tudor-style functions centre. Edward drops Bella off outside on a handy bench and goes to park the car. While she’s sitting there, who should turn up but Jacob. He’s even wearing a tie. Bella asks him if he’s crashing, but he tells her his dad paid him twenty bucks to come and talk to her. The message he’s been asked to bring is this: “Break up with your boyfriend.” And also, “We’ll be watching.” Bella just laughs at this, and the obviously skeptical Jacob does too. He offers to help her up, but at this point Edward shows up and rudely pushes him away.
Jacob leaves, visibly jealous and angry. Mind you, Edward was being a prick, so I’d call it justified. Edward walks off with Bella well in hand, remarking that the moment he leaves her “the wolves descend”.
Movie, stop it with the heavy-handed foreshadowing. Right now.
That done with, it’s off to the prom! Bella is embarrassed, but at least this isn’t like the book, where she’s tricked into going and actually cries when she finds out, after which Edward calls her “difficult” and forces her. Dick.
The prom is… actually, to be honest, it’s waaaaay too fancy for a small-town affair. I went to an expensive private school in a big city, and our formal wasn’t anywhere near this glitzy. Wait, I didn’t go. Never mind. It still wasn’t this well-decorated, though. My school didn’t have a set designer, you see.
That said, the prom scene features a lot of really attractive set dressing. Amusingly, the song playing inside features the lyrics “let’s go all the way into the twilight”. Where on earth did they find that song? Bella’s friends are all there with their dates, partying the night away. It’s really very uplifting.
For the final time, Edward pulls her away from her friends, this time outside to a gazebo. A slow, bittersweet song called “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” starts playing (hey, don’t ask me). Edward gets Bella to dance by standing her on his feet, which is rather cute. While they sway around in the prescribed manner, the other couples in the gazebo suddenly and for no apparent reason leave and go inside. Obviously, this is so the golden couple can have a nice private chat about vampire-related matters.
Bella asks Edward why he didn’t let her become a vampire. He tells her she doesn’t want to be one, and she insists that she does. Sheesh, this guy never stops telling her what to think, does he?
With all the expected bitterness of an immortal, he tells her that living a proper human life is better. She says nuh-uh.
Edward presses her, asking if this is what she really wants. She says yes, and actually presents her neck to him. He closes in, asking if she’s ready, right now. Yes, she insists. Edward leans closer, and… kisses her on the neck.
He pulls away, and asks her if it isn’t enough just to live a long and happy life by his side. It should be, at least for most people. This is a teenage first love, for gods’ sakes, you don’t think they ever last more than a semester, do you?
Bella gives in and says okay, for now, and they enjoy a nice long kiss.
The voiceover returns one last time, as Bella tells us she won’t give up. She knows what she wants. Does she ever! Sex, vampirism—either way she wants hot sexy Edward to stick something in her. Still, I guess it’s good to know what you want out of life. Better than being stuck on the couch all day watching Dr. Phil and getting stoned.
Pan away from this touching scene, up and up and through a window, where a solitary woman is watching. She’s wearing a sheepskin poncho, and as she turns around we see her eyes are red from crying. She walks off down the stairs, and lets her hair down, and—gasp—it’s Victoria!
Victoria stares into the camera, plotting her revenge, and “15 Steps” by Radiohead cuts in.
Cue some nice arty black-and-white credits where every actor gets their own little moment where they appear on-camera with their name. Even minor characters like the biology teacher are included. I like that. It’s good to have a visual reference with the names. And hey, the guy playing Mike was really called Michael. Whaddaya know.
Gods, that was exhausting.
When I started this recap, I said I liked the movie. And now that I’ve devoted hours to analysing every last scene, frame, and bit of dialogue, I’m wondering how much my opinions have changed.
I have to say that, all in all, it has plenty of the necessary ingredients for a good movie. Nice cinematography, generally good direction, some decent acting, likeable characters, and an okay storyline. But I guess in a sense the movie is just like the book: perfectly enjoyable, unless you think about it too much.
The difference is that a movie is way better at disguising problems with a story, since it’s a less active form of media for the audience. With a book, you have to do all the work of visualising the story and hearing the dialogue in your head. With a movie, you just sit there and everything’s laid out. Handled by professionals, it goes down even easier. Even though I hate this line of whingeing by scholars and other artistes, people really don’t go to the movies to think.
At bottom, the story in Twilight the movie is mostly just as dumb as it was in the book. But it’s been handled so well that I, at least, didn’t really notice. Instead, I could just sit back and enjoy it. There was no purple prose to distract me, no tedious descriptions, no misused words. Sure, there was some silly dialogue and a couple of plot holes that jumped out at me, but overall it was just so much easier to let myself be entertained.
The final verdict: despite all the bitching and moaning and all the jokes I just made at its expense, I still like Twilight: the movie, and I plan to watch the sequel.
For the sequel, though, my hopes aren’t that high. I didn’t read the book, but I understand that the story starts to get a lot more annoying there. Plus, as I said earlier on, the studio pulled a massive dick move and fired Catherine Hardwicke, claiming her input had nothing to do with the success of the movie. Well, fine! She’ll just go off and make her own studio! With blackjack! And hookers!
At least I’m sure she’ll go off and make other, better movies, with other, better source material. There aren’t many female directors around, and Ms. Hardwicke now holds a record for the most financially successful movie directed by a woman. I hope to see her work again someday; she has a genuine gift for making believable stories about teenagers—even if her talent for action scenes is somewhat limited.
I also bear no grudges against Robert Pattinson. He said he played Edward as a self-hating manic depressive, and that’s exactly what he did, and going on the portrayal of the character in the books, that’s exactly what he should have done. His antics have become something of a legend, at least in the online world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. He certainly knows how to act besides.
And then there’s Kristen Stewart. It may have looked like I was bagging her out a lot here, but I wasn’t. I think her acting here was generally not bad at all, and if I bagged on anyone it was the character, not the actress. Ms. Stewart also has a bit of an attitude, since when faced by hordes of mentally unstable fangirls complaining that she wasn’t “good enough” to play Bella she basically said “fuck off and let me do my job, you brain-dead freaks”. You go, gi—all right, you know that one by now.
So, to Kristen and Robert and Catherine—it’s been a pleasure watching you do your thing. Good luck, and if the fangirls come after you again don’t worry—just break out the pepper spray.