Sunday, November 23, 2008

Why Twilight Is So Awkward [Obligatory Twilight Post]

So, I saw Twilight at 12:01 Friday morning.

Now to explain where I stand on the fan scale and why I participated in the first showing experience. I am not a Twihard or a Twilightter or what have you, but I've read the first book and have always adored vampire/human love stories - I was ages 11-17 when Buffy was on the air, what do you want from me, it's in my blood now. I was present at the Comic Con panel, but did not participate in the endless teenage screaming (see below).

And while I came out of that panel with a splitting headache, it did make a somewhat positive impression on me. That kind of tween dedication for a film only comes around once in a decade and I kind of missed the boat - no pun intended - on Titanic, never having seen it in a theater. So I figured going to the first showing of Twilight was a must have experience.

True to form, we were surround by tweens and teens alike, many dressed up either in costume or in some sort of homemade I heart Edward Cullen garb. There were even a couple guys dressed as the vampire heartthrob himself, complete with grimy sex hair. These were die hard fans, the kind of fans that immediately recognized Stephanie Meyer's cameo and literally SQUEALED WITH DELIGHT during the scene between Edward & Jacob at the end.

And yet, there was a phenomenon in this theater, that I've come to realize has happened all over the country both pre and post-release.

Laughter at moments that weren't supposed to be funny.

Lots of it

It wasn't just a moment here or a moment there. This movie has so many awkwardly cheesey moments, that even the die hardiest of fans were cracking up half the time.

So I've compiled a list of ten contributors to the awkwardness that is Twilight. Think I missed one? Please post in the comments section.

1. Jacob Black

Literally every time he came on screen, someone if not everyone in the audience was laughing. ESPECIALLY at the end, when he randomly appears in the woods, acting like it's a completely normal thing to just be chillin in the dark, all alone, by a tree. But even when he wasn't popping up out of nowhere to be awkward, his hair alone induced chuckles from even the most Team Jacob of the crowd. I have no idea how they expect me to buy Bella falling for this guy (if that's what happens) in the movies to come. Oh, and his friends DEFINITELY did not help the situation.

2. The Forest Scene

No one could even contain their laughter in what should have been one of the most nerve-wracking yet beautiful scenes in the whole film - Edward confessing the truth in the forest. Instead of simply letting the characters engage in this long awaited conversation and letting that be enough to interest us, Catherine Hardwicke had her actors spend the first half of the scene on As the World Turns and the second half pretending to be monkeys, all whist starring in a really bad music video. The camera angles Hardwicke used were ridiculous. Why sideways? Why up and to the left? What are you DOING?! Not to mention, I had trouble buying anything Bella & Edward were saying to each other. A friend with me pointed out that the only line in the entire scene that rang true at all was Edward's "and the lion fell in love with the lamb." THAT line of all things. But it should be noted - that line was spoken during a simple close up. Coincidence? Don't think so. I honestly believe had Hardwicke let the chemistry between the actors do its job, instead of getting all cray cray with the blocking & cinematography, the scene would have been much less laughable and maybe even as powerful a moment as the book intended.

3. The Makeup

Peter Facinelli's entrance as the way too platinum haired Dr. Cullen was also a point of high comedy. It looked as though right before the start of the scene, he sunk his face into a vat of talcum powder. Before the laughter set in, I was actually taken aback with how offensive his makeup was. And he wasn't the only one subject to too much white face paint. I mean, honestly, did the actors apply their own makeup? Without a mirror? I demand answers.

4. Jasper

I'm just hoping this one was intentional

5. Easily Fixible Mistakes

One of my favorite moments of absurdity was when Edward & Bella were dancing in the gazebo at the end. For no reason at all, the other couples dancing beside them just decide to leave. Just walk away. All of them. At once. Would it really have been THAT difficult to have an amplified voice in the distance announce that the prom queen was about to be revealed? Anything? Anything at all that would make the slightest of sense?

6. (Mostly) No Sense of Danger

In what was one of more tension filled chapters of the book, Bella is followed by some guys who wanna eff with her, but hooray - Edward saves the day! In the film, there is ZERO sense of danger here as the guys following her a. did not look scary and b. just kinda stood around her and said stupid shit.

And when the outsider vamps crash the baseball game and everyone gets all crouchy? Not scary. Just silly.

The only part of the entire film that made me nervous was the final action scene. But that's it.

7. The Wide Shots

Yeah, you heard me. Everytime the film cut to a wide shot, shit got awkward. None of the actors appeared to know what to do with their bodies, yet Hardwicke seemed to have a thing for cutting to them wide over and over and over again. Plus many of these shots were purposefully off center or bridging on sideways. Was this supposed to demonstrate how far from normal Bella's life is? Good thing, cause I totally didn't get that before. Ugh.

8. Anticlimactic Skin

In the book, Edward walking into direct sunlight is a HUGE moment. He is supposed to glisten like "diamonds" to the point where Bella is awestruck with his otherworldly beauty. The audience had been waiting and waiting for this moment and then - ! His skin looked kind of brighter? To quote Dodai over at Jezebel,

"Instead of making his skin look 'like diamonds,' the special effects looked more like Gay Pride parade body shimmer."

It wasn't until they were laying in the sun that we could see any difference whatsoever, and even then it was nowhere near as powerful as it should have been.

9. The Way Edward Looks at Bella

While occasionally we were treated to a somewhat believable look of desire or love from Bella's monster demon superhero who sucks blood boyfriend, mostly we were subject to something more like this, except on crack.

So imagine that, plus some extra crack, and you've got it! And every time Edward made a face like this? You guessed it - the audience lost their shit. The best example of when it got a little out of hand was the first time Bella enters her science class. Maybe Edward's reaction was accurate? But WAY too intense, all of a sudden, for my taste. Every single person in the audience was chuckling, if not full-on guffawing. Hmm, spell check tells me guffawing is in fact a word. Awesome.

10. The Ending

Um...what? Why didn't it cut to black the second we saw angry Victoria? Why would you not do that?!?! Did someone at the studio WANT the end to be as awkward as possible? Instead of cutting to black and leaving the audience in "oh shit" mode, the film follows Victoria slowly move down the stairs with no particular purpose, leaving the audience to wonder what the hell is going on, only to discover five minutes later that the credits are rolling. No. That was weird. And I'm not okay with it.

But all that aside, I did actually enjoy myself. And to prove that I'm not a total hater, (cause I'm not, I did like the film, despite it's horrible awkwardness) here's a list of the best parts in no particular order

1. Charlie

2. The Final Action Scene

3. Edward's Badass Car (and how it turned on a dime the second Bella hopped in, safe from her not-at-all-scary assailants)

4. The Scenes with Bella's Schoolmates (especially Jessica)

5. The First Kiss

6. The First Kiss

7. The First Kiss

8. Robert Pattinson in a suit

9. Robert Pattinson in sunglasses

10. Rachelle LeFevere's Hair


Shayna said...

You nailed my exact thoughts on the movie. Why Hardwicke went with that overthought/filmed 'forest scene' instead of the simple 'meadow scene' in the book kind of baffles me, I thought that was one of the climatic points in Edward and Bellas relationship in the book.

Loved the school friends in the movie though. I would add Emmett to things I liked about the movie.

On a side note just found your it!

LoquaciousMuse said...

Glad to hear your thoughts! I liked Emmett too, I thought he was really well cast. I kinda wish they had gone with someone else for Rosalie, but Emmett was right on.

Thanks for reading!!

Erin Keskeny said...

Ok, I've been waiting to read this post until I saw the movie (love the blog by the way!) and I finally saw it tonight. First of all, I'll come clean and admit that in spite of myself I was sucked in by the books (although I've only read the first 2 - need to get my hands on # 3!) and I am a Twihard/Twilightter. I guess my inner 13 yr old needed some air.

I really agree with most of what you said. I was able to thoroughly enjoy the movie thanks to the book, but if I hadn't read it, I don't think I would have. I think you're right that the direction was incredibly awkward. I'm so excited that they might get a new director for New Moon. It makes me sad when I think how much opportunity was wasted with this one. The forest scene, in particular, was a travesty (excellent description of that, by the way). And I agree with you on the lack of danger. Especially since they made a half-assed attempt at marketing it as an action movie to draw in a wider audience, and added in extra scenes with the "bad" vampires. Vampires are SCARY - how many other times has this been demonstrated on film? (And guess what? That makes the love story better too). However, I think the casting was excellent (school friends, yes!) except for Rosalie (I agree with you there too). And the first kiss scene...

Here's where I disagree:
1) I liked Jacob. Granted, I didn't have the same experience with the audience laughing at him. But I had no problem with his hair. And I thought he was good at being the awkward, yet cute, younger guy with a crush. (Now, him appearing out of the forest at the end was completely ridiculous, but I blame that on the direction/screenplay).

2) Probably my biggest difference of opinion is about the way Edward looks at Bella. I actually thought Pattinson did a pretty good job with this b/c when Edward looks at Bella, it is never as simple as desire or love (especially in the beginning - i.e. the first book). It's a pretty complicated thing to be drawn to someone in the two ways that he is (the human romantic way and the vampire "i want to drain the fluids out of your body until you are dead" way). And the guy's gone almost a century without feeling something like this - he's gotta be going pretty crazy. (Disclaimer: Can I be objective about Robert Pattinson looking at anyone? No.) As far as the first scene in the science class goes, I did laugh at that point, but I don't think that's a bad thing; his reaction to her should be disproportionate and ridiculous in the context of a high school class -- we're just in on the joke because we know why he's acting that way.

Finally, as far as Jasper was concerned I partially agree and partially disagree with you because a) I thought it was intentional (if it wasn't, then dear god...) and therefore hilarious, but b) it worked for me because I had read the book and so much of what I saw fit with what I read, but it wouldn't have worked otherwise -- it definitely didn't stand on its own.

Agh, so many thoughts, but I'll stop myself there; this is supposed to be a comment, not a novella. Again, thanks for the blog - it's great!

LoquaciousMuse said...

omg please post comments ALWAYS. LOVE what you have to say. and yeah, i think the way edward looks at bella was my weakest point haha. it just got a little silly for me sometimes, but other times, i totally got it.

so glad you are reading!!! i love your comment!! yay!!!

Brooke said...

Hahaha, oh Jasper. I actually developed a crush on him after this movie, but I have bad taste. :)

I really like your review, and absoLUTely agree. The last third of the movie was the best, and the rest was pretty awkward. I, too, am glad there will be a director switch for New Moon.

Anyway, good stuff. Thank you for getting me to chuckle!

LoquaciousMuse said...

Glad you enjoyed it and happy to hear your thoughts! I wonder if Jasper, or any of the Cullens (other than Edward) will be the same in the next movie. Very curious to see how things are gonna change.

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