Introduction/disclaimer: I haven’t read the books and had no desire to, so I thought I’d check out the movie once came out on DVD, just to see what the big fuss is about. I threw it in my Netflix queue, couldn’t have had lower expectations. Here’s my first reaction: UPDATE: here’s a video “summary” of Twilight for those who haven’t seen it. Heh.
First off, I can definitely, definitely understand Natalie’s reaction in calling it porn for women. The women-porn force is strong in Twilight. Except for the -ahem- very rare moments when I got a little sucked in by it, I was just laughing and marveling at the absurd levels to which the blatancy of its women-porniness rose.
There’s really nothing else to do during the movie, apart from reacting in one way or the other to the pornitude, because that’s all there is–no plot, no character-building (not even of the leads), only scattered talking, and no action except one vampire fight scene at the very end that was, oh, maybe 2 minutes. Just a couple hours of Mr. Perfect (super-rich/super-debonair/super-hot/extra good yet bad boy/100-year-in-the-making maturity yet exactly her age/lusty yet self-controlled vampire) opening doors for her (at least 3 car doors that I counted, and a bunch of building doors), taking off her jacket for her, dropping in to rescue her, and gazing longingly at her. Mostly the gazing longingly (it gets tiresome).
Given that there is essentially no explanation of why Bella is attracted to Edward and vice-versa (it seems to simply be a mutual flattery that the other is so worshipfully obsessed), and neither one reveals any personality which could be the basis of actual attraction, the movie relies heavily on class markers to signal the desirability of Edward and the Cullen family. Each Cullen kid has their own Mercedes or other high-end car, they dress to the nines for school, they live in a modern-style mansion filled with expensive-looking art, etc. On the other hand, Bella’s family and the other people in her life, most of all her dad, are depicted as very undesirably low-class. I don’t know what exactly about it rubs me so much the wrong way–there’s certainly nothing new about the Cinderella archetype–but never has the effect seemed so disturbingly classist to me. Ok, but as soon as I start saying the word “class” I’m taking this movie more seriously than it deserves. Moving on.
The supporting cast was good and in the introductory scenes the side characters showed some promise of being interesting, only to completely (and I mean completely) disappear from the movie as soon as the Edward-Bella thing gets going. That was disappointing.
Pluses: the kiss scene. I have to hand it to them, that was HOT.
Minuses: annoying departures from traditional vampire lore; the baseball scene was unspeakably stupid; the diamond skin was a stupid idea and the CG implementation was horrible; movie overall was tiresome unless you can manage to enjoy mentally cataloging all aspects in which it was women-porn
Summary: Yikes. I feel really, really sorry for any man whose significant other is obsessed with Edward. I was confident in my status as uninterested in the Twilight phenomenon, smugly bemused when not ignoring it entirely, and I rented the movie knowing I would be impervious to its charms. It put up a much better fight than I was expecting. This is industrial-strength stuff. Use with caution. (may I suggest beeswax)