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‘Twilight’ is destroying America

Opinion Columnist

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 14:12

Twilight

KIMBERLEY FRENCH/Summit Entertainment/MCT

Robert Pattinson (left) and Kristen Steward as Edward and Bella, respectively, in “Twilight: New Moon.”

In the words of Howard Beale, the lead character from the award-winning 1976 film “Network,” I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.

Like Howard, I am frustrated and flabbergasted by the depravity I see in the world around me.

Just a few weeks ago, millions of people across the United States flocked to their local movie theaters at midnight, desperate to nab a decent seat for the special screening of a movie opening up on Friday.

I can assure you that they were not there to see “Lincoln,” the latest historical film from director Steven Spielberg about the efforts of former president Abraham Lincoln to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, effectively abolishing slavery in a country torn apart by it.

No, these crazed individuals were there for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” the fifth and final installment in the popular film franchise that has captured the attention of lovesick lunatics everywhere since the first “Twilight” descended on movie theaters in 2008.

To date, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” has grossed more than $232 million domestically, and more than $598 million when you add in foreign totals. As a franchise, “The Twilight Saga” has grossed more than $9 billion worldwide, and that isn’t even including DVD sales and rentals.

This is utter madness.

For the uninitiated, “Twilight” is the twisted tale of Bella Swan, a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. To add some drama, her close friend Jacob Black, who just so happens to be a werewolf, is also in love with Bella, and proceeds to battle Edward for her affections.

Now, for the purposes of this column, I forced myself to watch the first four films (I refuse to pay to see the final film in theaters) and, to put it quite simply, they are atrocious. There were quite a few times when I found myself baffled by what I was seeing, and I had to fight the constant urge to curl up in the corner of the room, close my eyes and tell myself it was all just a bad dream.

I just could not, for the life of me, figure out what is so appealing about these films.

It’s certainly not the acting. Kristen Stewart, in the role of Bella, emotes about as well as a cardboard box. You’ve got Taylor Lautner, whose acting is so bad the filmmakers seized every opportunity to have him take his shirt off, hoping his chiseled physique would keep the audience distracted until he was done reading his lines. And then there is Robert Pattinson, who seems like he might actually be a decent actor, but the material is so bad, any effort to salvage it would be futile.

Speaking of bad material, there also is no real storyline. Bella falls in love with Edward in the first film, and then nothing really happens over the next few films. Edward leaves her in “New Moon,” leading Bella to nearly commit suicide, until Edward thinks she actually went through with it, which in turn leads him to attempt to kill himself. You know, just your typical, healthy teenage relationship.

In “Eclipse,” an evil female vampire assembles an army of vampires to kill Bella to get revenge against Edward for killing her lover, which might seem like overkill to some, but hey, I’ll give her an A for effort. And then in “Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” Bella and Edward get married, make a baby, and Bella is turned into a vampire, despite Edward refusing to do so in the first three films.

And the special effects are anything but special. For as much cash as these movies pull in, you’d think they’d be able to afford a bigger budget. I’ve seen better effects on the Looney Tunes.

So, to recap, the whole crux of the story is that Bella loves Edward and nothing else matters in life, not even her poor dad, who all but disappears after the first film. Father of the Year he is not. Oh, and you’re supposed to actually pretend like there is legitimate uncertainty as to whether or not Bella will choose Edward, as opposed to Jacob.

Are you Team Edward? Or are you Team Jacob? Why is there not a Team Bella? I wonder if Stephenie Meyer, the author of the books on which the films are based, ever considered having Bella reject both of them, choosing instead to be her own woman and not be defined by her relationships, but I suppose that ending would’ve been too feminist. What was I thinking?
To be frank, I just don’t get the appeal. People compare the success of this franchise to “Harry Potter,” but those movies were about confronting fear and standing up and fighting for the greater good, even when the odds seem insurmountable. “Twilight” is about a girl desperate to be with the man she loves, even if that means attempting near suicides and surviving repeated attempts on her life.

Not exactly the role model I’d be championing for the independent woman.

I have seen all four of the first films, and I am now dumber for having watched them. I could almost feel the brain cells dying in my head as I sat through these horrific excuses for movies. I understand the need to go to the movies and escape, but do we really need to sacrifice our intelligence to do so?
You want a love story? There are plenty out there, and I bet 99 percent of them are better than this one.

 

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