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Twilight (review)

OMG! Best Movie Evar!


(for dreamy 12-year-old girls)

(for everyone else)

Wow, I feel like I so have to Twitter everyone in the world and tell them to See. This. Movie. And not just because Robert Pattinson is the best Edward there could ever be. (I never even heard of him before, it’s not like he’s superfamous like Zac Efron or anyone, but I hope he wins an Oscar now, he’s that cute!) Because it’s not like this is only for people who read Stephanie Meyer’s book of Twilight — although who didn’t! It’s like an actual grownup movie, all serious and important. Like you can tell how beautiful the vampires are supposed to be because everything gets slow and sparkly when they walk by — and I mean even when they’re not in sunlight LOL! (Edward looks amazing when he sparkles in the sunlight! I always thought that was very clever of the book writer to invent a whole new thing about vampires and why they don’t go in the sun.) Or sometimes when other important things are happening, everything gets slow and the music gets real loud and Edward looks like he’s gonna cry. Those are the best moments ever, because then it’s like the director can’t even move the camera from him, he’s that gorgeous. But the director is named Catherine Hardwicke, which is a girl’s name, and what else would you expect!
I’m so excited that it sounds like I’m talking real fast even though I’m writing, which is what happens when I’m really excited. I’ll try to slow down and explain things better.

Twilight is all about Bella, who is a junior in high school, so she’s pretty grownup already LOL! She’s smart and beautiful and super nice and everybody loves her at her new school in Forks, which is in Seattle-Washington, not White-House-Washington. She’s also really deep and thoughtful, which you can tell because she talks to us through the movie, like a voiceover, and tells us her feelings and explains things that are happening, which is really nice of her so we can keep up. It’s like you want to be her best friend, and you wish she was your best friend, because she’s so cool and perfect. She’s not even stuck up about being so pretty! (Bella is played by Kristin Stewart, who is also very pretty and I bet super nice too.) Her school is even better than the High School Musical school because even though in both schools it’s like a total fantasy that everybody is so nice to each other and everyone is everyone’s best friend, here it’s a serious grownup story and not just a bunch of nice kids singing and dancing, which is okay for little kids but not for more mature kids.

You can tell this is more grownup because of things like this. It’s clever, like how when Bella sees Edward in science class for the first time and discovers she has to be his lab partner, her hair blows around all dramatically and importantly, but there’s a fan behind her, so there’s like two things going on, like it’s not just a fancy thing the director did but it’s also, you know, really there in the room. And when Bella says in her voiceover, “Edward was a vampire,” it totally sounds like something from a Jane Austen book. That’s literature. Or when Bella says, “I planned to confront him and demand to know that his problem is,” you can see that she’s strong and complicated. And when Edward — who is the totally cute vampire teenager she meets at school, I forgot to say that — tells Bella, “We shouldn’t be friends,” it’s like it’s because they’re in different groups at school, the vampires and the regular kids. It’s like, with everyone else being so nice to each other, the vampires, who are not nice to all the regular kids, are like the mean kids in a real school. I can’t remember the word when something stands in for something else, but that a literature thing too.

Ooo, this word I remember: ironic. That’s when things are different than you expect, and it’s surprising and also makes a theme. Like how one regular kid who doesn’t know that Edward is a vampire says to Bella, “He looks at you like you’re something to eat.” But Edward doesn’t look at her like that, Edward would never do that because he’s like a vegetarian vampire who only drinks animal blood, not people blood. It’s ironic because Edward is supposed to be dangerous — he thinks he’s the “bad guy”! — but he isn’t at all! He says all romantic things to Bella like “Your scent, it’s like a drug to me. You’re like my own personal brand of heroin.” *sigh!* But Edward is not scary like other boys are who want to, you know, do stuff. I don’t mean in the movie — everyone is super nice to Bella! — but like, in RL. Edward can control himself like nice boys do, not like other boys with their “vile repulsive thoughts.” That is in the movie! But don’t worry, Edward rescues Bella from boys like that. He’s like a knight in shining armor. Maybe he’s a knight in sparkly armor LOL! Even though he’s a vampire. That’s deep.

It’s like so totally romantic and perfect! Edward is even the best lab partner ever — he knows all the answers to stupid biology questions so you can totally just let him do all the work. But it’s not like Bella is dumb. She uses Google to figure out all the stuff about Edward being a vampire. (Though I think everyone else in town and at the school might be a little stupid, because how could they not have figured out that all those weird but beautiful and very pale people are vampires LOL!) And it’s exotic, too, because Bella’s Indian friend Jacob is here too. He has Indian wisdom for her about vampires and stuff, and it’s so cool. Of course we all know what happens with Jacob in the next book and OMG the next movie please!


MPAA: rated PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sensuality

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
  • http://darkthirty.livejournal.com Dan

    I lol’d.

  • Cally

    I have to say that even though I’m a 16 year old Twilight fan(and though the reviews are bad, I’m still going to see and enjoy the movie no matter what people say) this was hilarious. You do sometimes have to laugh at the silly cheesiness of it all. Twilight will appeal to it’s target audience but just a random movie goer…most likely it won’t. I can definitely admit to that.

  • http://www.flipsidemovies.com Rob Vaux

    Marry me. But not in, like, a stalker Edward way. In the snarky grown up way where we sit around and smoke cigarettes in holders and down martinis by the quart and casually demolish the romantic fantasies of an entire generation with a few well-placed quips by reminding them that their super-special-one-true-love vampire story has actually a grab-bag of hackneyed cliches already expressed a thousand times better by oodles of stinky grown-ups who actually know how to write.

  • Ryan

    bwahaha! Love the review, it’s like OMG, totally the awesomest! It should come with sparkles!

  • http://www.screwylightbulb.com/jaco/ Jaco

    I’m afraid us “grown-ups” will have to put up with the fact that completely uninspiring (well, quite awful, really) authors like Chrostopher Paolini will have huge success and a rabid following of screaming teenage fans.

    I have not read any of Twilight, but I imagine the same phenomenon is at work there.

  • Ryan

    Yeah, it’s basically the same thing Jaco…although I will say that Meyer is ‘merely’ guilty of lazy, cliched, misogynistic writing…whereas Paolini managed to publish three books without having a single original thought.

  • http://michaelgmunz.blogspot.com Michael

    Maybe that’s what I’m doing wrong. I need to write for a younger audience. :D

  • MaSch

    Oh my, MaryAnn, you knew the probable consequences for writing this review …

    Now a bunch of male readers will post here just to tell that they want to marry you or want to have little snarky children with you.

    I’m one of them.

  • Alexa

    I, unfortunately, ran out of work to see Twilight at the midnight showing, and frankly I am not impressed. I have read the entire series, purchased an Edward shirt, and even bought my friends the books to pass on the story. The movie was just as I suspected–AWFUL. I do not care for titan-sized close ups of Kristen Stewart OR Robert Pattinson, no matter how cute he is. His portrayal of Edward was somewhat marred by the way he was holding his British accent back and the result was a sometimes Bronx-y, fresh-from-overseas foreign exchange student stammer. Lovely. Bella, Kristen Stewart’s character, is supposed to be an over-emotional girly-girl; whereas Kristen just acted pretty blank, dull, and mannish–in other words, just being herself most of the time.

    I refuse to give Stephenie Meyer any more of my money. DO NOT see this movie. It is horrible. Think black plague horrible. Thanks.

  • jewel

    to alexa:

    didn’t see the movie (probably won’t), but from what you’ve written, i think kristen acted EXACTLY the way bella was portrayed in the book. dull and boring. the only thing that was said to excite her was edward.

    as a matter of fact, i thought it was annoying that she was taking teen angst so literally. many times i found myself muttering GET OVER IT while reading the first few chapters. it wasn’t like her mom died, which FYI, would’ve been a MUCH more plausible reason for why bella went to live with charlie and why she was so depressed.

  • Melissa

    Wow, MaryAnn. I seriously thought some 15 yr old girl had written this and I was about to hire some assassins to hunt her ass down for comparing this tripe known as Twilight to Jane Austen.

    I applaud you for your snarky efforts.

  • Johan, South Africa

    Genius! Adult male replying, which is, again, demographic defying, of course. Interesting how the review inspired this group to respond. Strange though – The review sort of made me want to see the movie despite all the negative reviews. It just suddenly sounded so delightfully camp.

  • MaryAnn

    I wish it was delightfully campy. There are a few moments that made me laugh (moments that were not meant to be funny), but not enough to make this worth spending money on in a movie theater. Rent it on DVD one night next spring and make fun of it with a group of friends — that’d be the best way to “enjoy” this if you’re not 12 and/or not still afraid of sex.

  • Johan, South Africa

    Coming from you, MaryAnn, how can I resist the suggestion to skip this one. Sad, though: Having been caught up in the hype (even from the dark continent), I suppose I was hoping for the best. Suppose if I was really honest I’d have to admit I was looking for a justified reason to go and see Robert Pattinson. And I really liked Kristen Stewart in “Into the Wild”… Damn it!

  • Barb

    I normally as a vampire book buff but this movie and the book series never interested me at the least.

  • Tara

    I hate the books, and Bella’s just about the worst heroine Meyer could have possibly invented. It really worries me that millions of girls love this stuff! That they’re going to grow up thinking that Edward is the perfect male. So scary!

  • Alli

    Maryann, that was awesome. Loved it. I was actually expecting you to touch on some of the anti-feminist, abusive relationship issues, though. I just can’t figure out why young women (and Stephanie Meyer obviously) find codependency so sexy.

  • MaSch

    @ Ryan, Alli: Considering this movie being the product of women and “The Women” being the product of women, maybe one could ask if there is at least as much misogyny in women filmmakers as there is in male filmmakers, albeit a slightly different kind of misogyny:

    Male Misogynist: Women are neurotic, irrational creatures.

    Female Misogynist: Women are neurotic, irrational creatures, and that’s what makes them so wonderful and charming!

  • Claudia

    You HAVE heard of Robert Pattinson. Every twelve year old girl has. He was handsome Cedric Diggory, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

  • Morgan

    To Alexa:

    This is EXACTLY how I feel. Except, I never wanted to see it. I still don’t. I wouldn’t see it even if somebody PAID me to.

    Now.
    Kristen Stewart… WAKE UP. I swear, even in the previews she looks and sounds like she’s asleep. The way talks reminds me of that old guy in the Clear Eyes commercials.
    You’re an actor! Have some emotion! Geez.

    According to the book, all the vampires, and especially Edward and Rosalie, were supposed to be these drop dead GORGEOUS vampires.

    Nikki Reed and Robert Pattison?
    Are you KIDDING ME?! Gross! *Puke* I don’t consider these people attractive in the least.
    And Robert’s hair, what did he do?! Put his finger in an electrical socket to get his hair like that?!

    Making this book into a movie an awful idea.
    And from what I can tell, the movie is even worse.

    Way to go Hollywood.
    Another winner! Not.

  • Bill

    “It really worries me that millions of girls love this stuff! That they’re going to grow up thinking that Edward is the perfect male. So scary!” – Tara

    Most of the women I interact with regularly are between the ages of 25 and 35. A solid 75% of them are Twilight fans. They walk among us.

  • Jessica

    Very clever! I spit out my coffee with those last three sentences.

    I’ll go see the movie when all the fervor dies down. I’m a librarian, and I’ve been surrounded by the rabid fans probably much longer than others have been aware of their existence.

    The only great thing about these books is that they get these girls (and boys – a lot more boys than you’d think) interested in reading. It’s a personal triumph when I can put Dracula into their hands.

    The movie, however, doesn’t have that upside.

  • Karen R

    OMG ROFL LOL

    afaic,ur bst evr.

    amof, am c-p now. c/t

    aatf

    uh, alt

    alt?

  • Din

    OMG U GUIZ.

    Thats not nice Edward is ttly teh sex. U shuldn’t make fun of him b/c hes so hot!!!!11!!1

    and bella is sooooo lucky 2 get a guy like him srsly. shes perfect b/c she has edward and can do nething w/him!! TEAM EDWARD!!

    …seriously that’s every Twilight fan I know. You got them all spot on. Congrats.

  • Sarah

    Love your reviews, normally agree with you, won’t be seeing Twilight, BUT

    you’re an awful lot easier on movies that appeal primarily to the twelve year old boy (in all of us).

    Just sayin’.

  • MaryAnn

    Well, I’m probably closer to the mindset of a 12-year-old boy than I am closer to that of a 12-year-old girl. Always have been. I think that’s true of more of us women than people suspect.

    I was actually expecting you to touch on some of the anti-feminist, abusive relationship issues

    OMG! No! Edward loves Bella! He would never hurt her! Abusive! No! He’s *protective*! Can he help it if he knows better what’s good for her than she does? It’s just natural, she being a girl and him being a boy (and a vampire LOL!).

    You HAVE heard of Robert Pattinson. Every twelve year old girl has. He was handsome Cedric Diggory, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

    No!! Cedric was, like scary and dangerous and like a bad boy who wants to, you know, do stuff. Edward would never be like that!!!

  • Karen R

    Seriously, I should add the latest issue of “Creative Screenwriting” magazine has an interview with this film’s scripter, Melissa Rosenberg, and it sounded doomed from the start. They fast-tracked her because of the writer’s strike and she cranked an outline in 2 weeks 25 days and the script in 5 weeks. They were casting the film the same time she was writing and the director was giving her immediate feedback on each act as she wrote it.shooting the same time she was writing and passing comments back and forth. That just courts disaster. Usually.

    I do agree with “MaSch” above in terms of what women writers/directors/producers are producing. After this and the travesty of “Mama Mia,” we ain’t givin’ ourselves such a good name.

  • JT

    you’re an awful lot easier on movies that appeal primarily to the twelve year old boy (in all of us)

    Seriously. Transformers, anyone?

  • Karen R

    Oops. In above post I missed deleting two words … “she cranked an outline in 2 weeks” (drop the “25 days”).

  • blake

    “Rent it on DVD one night next spring and make fun of it with a group of friends — that’d be the best way to “enjoy” this if you’re not 12 and/or not still afraid of sex.”

    Man, I’m 21 and I still find sex pretty scary…
    Maybe I’m just not doing it right ?

    I’m a straight bloke and even I saw the funny side of Mamma Mia but Twilight just seems a step too far. It doesn’t even have Pierce Bronson’s rubbish singing to laugh at.

  • http://www.popjustice.com/ Danglar

    I liked the books, but they ARE cheesy. Therefore, the movie seems to be a faithfull adaptation. Twilight (the book) was paperback chick-lit taken too seriously, and the author sucked much of the fun out of the sequels by making too self-important.

    I kinda like the fact that the movie (apparently) sucks, because the book kinda sucked too, but it was fun in a guilty pleasure way. The other books aren’t as good (except Eclipse, which was fast-paced and fun), so I hope they screw-up the sequels LOL.

    (sorry for any english mistakes.)

  • Mel

    Now a bunch of male readers will post here just to tell that they want to marry you or want to have little snarky children with you.

    I’m one of them.

    Hey, I’m female and I want to have hypothetical snarky children with MaryAnn.

    Also, definitely more like a 12-year-old boy now than a 12-year-old girl (although at least I had FEMINIST vampire fantasies at that age). I laughed my ass off at Zack and Miri Make a Porno last night and hoped none of the glitter would waft onto me from the Twilight theatre.

    I am saddened that Twilight is not more hilarious. I guess I will wait for DVD to mock.

  • Yen

    Not all Twilight fans are squealy whiny girls who scream at the site of Robert Pattinson.

    I loved the books. I really did.
    Sure, Meyers’ writing is not the best in the world, but I enjoyed the story (although I did think the whole sparkle-sun thing was the worst idea known to vampires).

    But, I don’t expect much from the movie. Movie adaptations are always terrible. And I do believe that the whole cast for Twilight were wrong picks.

    As much as I loved the books, I loved your review, and I’d love to be sitting in the dark theatre guffawing at acting and cheesiness.

  • Gia

    Lord, between you and Cleolinda Jones, I’m finding this week’s Twilight coverage highly entertaining.

  • Alexa

    To Jewel & Morgan–I’m glad some sane people agree with me!! Some Twilight fans are in complete denial that the movie sucked and they won’t say so because they love their series. I think Stephenie Meyer sold out and gave this movie to whoever would do it (because, really, do you think anyone would want to make this the right way?) because she’s money hungry.

    I just want to shake Kristen Stewart out of whatever coma she filmed Twilight in.

    And I especially feel bad for Robert Pattinson, for being the leading male in the movie that is going to ruin his career. :(

    I guess the movie wasn’t good because–and I finally see this now–the books aren’t that good either.

  • Aleksander Mosingiewicz

    The only thing I’d like to say is that I love your negative reviews.
    Ah yes, the next time I’d like to get a girl I’m going to tell her I’M A VAMPIRE. It seems like the ultimate aphrodisiac these days.

  • http://www.sleepisfortheweak.org Lianne

    Honestly, I think that the large population segment of teenage girls with budding sexuality who are interested in sex but are still really intimidated by it deserve their own escapist fantasies, too. A boy saves the heroine from sexually aggressive boys who are pushing themselves on her, proving that he’s not going to have sex with her on his terms alone, and then waits until she’s ready and the two of them are ready to enter commitment, right? (Haven’t read the books or seen the movie, but I’ve heard the book is pro wait-until-you’re-married and written by a devout Mormon.) That’s pretty much the teenage girl equivalent of a teenage male fantasy, where the female love interest will have sex with him once he’s had his epiphone or reached whatever goal he set out to accomplish (which usually has little or nothing to do with her).

    I remember the critic confusion MaryAnn linked to recently. I find it pretty sad that when younger girls are sent an escapist fantasy, and its sexuality isn’t the typical Hollywood “hot people want to have sex with all the other hot people all the time,” many critics/viewers are totally confused and don’t know what to make of it. Anyone who’s ever been or been near a 14-year-old girl and thinks about the movie for more than 30 seconds should understand why it was written/made, even if s/he doesn’t personally relate.

    That said, this book and movie sound completely terrible, and even my 14-year-old sister thought it was lame as hell. I just think teenage girls deserve “safe” sexual fantasies like everyone else. I like how MaryAnn actually seems to get that point of Twilight, based on her apt and hilarious pair of green and red lights.

  • MBI

    Saw it. Hated it. Vampires who can’t go out in the sun because they SPARKLE? I want to stress that I’m all for same-sex marriage and equal rights for homosexuals, but seriously, that’s fucking gay.

    Speaking of, I realize this is not my call to make, but I don’t see what is so attractive about this Edward guy. He looks like, at best, a young Joaquin Phoenix wearing chalk makeup and a ridiculous haircut.

  • http://www.paulasgallery.com Still love DT

    I didn’t read the book, and will do immediately, so some of my concerns may have been answered there.

    I thought vampires couldn’t reflect in mirrors. So, the dance studio? And photographs? Why risk having the prom photo taken. If they are “good” vampires who choose to feed on animals, they explain that they need human blood in order to keep their health. Where do they get it? The father is a doctor. Does he have an agreement with the coroner, like Mick St.John in Moonlight?

    I was surprised that my husband liked this movie more than I did.

    Wasn’t Edward’s make-up sort of iffy? He looked to me like a regular guy with white make-up. The white didn’t even reach his neck.

    Speaking of white, Bella’s paleness was much more convincing, and as my husband pointed out: she was pale, Edward couldn’t read her mind…was she, maybe, already some kind of something?

  • http://www.paulasgallery.com Still love DT

    Oh, I forgot. Tell Kristin to shut her slack-jawed mouth before a bug flies into it.

  • MaryAnn

    I think that the large population segment of teenage girls with budding sexuality who are interested in sex but are still really intimidated by it deserve their own escapist fantasies, too.

    So do I. But the problem with *Twilight* is that it doesn’t seem to realize that’s that’s what it’s about. I’d like a little more self-awareness of teen sexuality than this movie evinces. The thing about Edward isn’t that he’s willing to wait till Bella is ready for… whatever. She’s clearly already pretty aggressive in going after what she wants. It’s that *Edward* is *never* going to give her what she wants. If vampirisim is the metaphor for sex here, then Edward can *never* be a “proper” vampire with Bella, because he’s sworn off it. It’s as if Edward is a monk who is willing to jerk off but will never agree to actually make love to Bella, but he will keep teasing her with the prospect of it.

    It’s not *Bella* who’s afraid of sex. It’s the movie. And that *is* a problem.

  • Katie Green

    “Well, I’m probably closer to the mindset of a 12-year-old boy than I am closer to that of a 12-year-old girl. Always have been. I think that’s true of more of us women than people suspect.”

    Amen to that!

    What kills me is that it took putting the book on the big screen to make some people realize how horrifically awful the source material was. Even aside from the rampant misogyny and romanticized poor-decision-making– the fact that a book with that kind of writing even got published depresses me out of my mind.

    You’d think that, book-publishing being this competitive arena and all, only the quality stuff would make it out. Instead we have Eragon and Twilight. Too long by more than half, written like a piece of crappy internet fanfic, and snapped up by teens like candy because they don’t even have a sense for what good writing is. No one is stepping up to remind them what the good stuff tastes like.

  • http://www.sleepisfortheweak.org Lianne

    From MaryAnn:

    “…the problem with *Twilight* is that it doesn’t seem to realize that’s that’s what it’s about. I’d like a little more self-awareness of teen sexuality than this movie evinces…. It’s not *Bella* who’s afraid of sex. It’s the movie. And that *is* a problem.”

    I’m sorry, I still haven’t seen the movie, so I can only argue this point from a general media criticism standpoint…

    While I see your point, I think creating a world where sexuality exists (or stand-in sexuality, such as vampiric biting) but the female character will never have it isn’t necessarily a bad kind of escapist female fantasy, particularly for a young audience. Plenty of teenage girls who become sexually active aren’t necessarily doing it for the sex–they’re doing it because they’re curious, they’re doing it for male attention, they’re doing it because they want to KNOW, in no uncertain terms, that they’re desirable. I think the fantasy of a boy wanting a girl really badly but never actually having sex with her could be very appealing to many girls, especially in the 12 to 16 range.

    The concept of a sexual fantasy for girls where no girl is actually receiving sex isn’t new–Japan’s been making boatloads of money off of boyxboy porn by and for women (known as yaoi or BL (Boys Love) over here) for more than 20 years, and in a comics market with a much, much more developed “porn for girls” industry than we have in the West. You can read about it on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaoi. A known Japanese media critic recently described the genre with “When you read BL, you dream of True Love…but not for yourself.” Considering the popularity of yaoi/BL in Japan and how it’s exploded in the comics industry over here over the past 5 years…

    Just sayin’.

  • JoshB

    @Lianne: You put a period at the end of that hyperlink, it’s an empty wikipedia page.

    Huh, that’s interesting. I’ve often wondered if women are as interested in male homosexuality as men are in lesbianism. Are the men in Yaoi generally depicted as traditionally masculine or more stereotypically effeminate?

  • http://www.sleepisfortheweak.org Lianne

    Whoops! Sorry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaoi

    Josh, I don’t want to get too off-topic here, so I’ll just say that “traditionally masculine” characteristics like lots of body hair and big muscles are often associated with gay comics made by and for gay men in Japan. In yaoi, which is by and for women, effeminacy was very much in style in the earlier years of the genre but has since faded a bit in favor of a thin, clean, but decidedly more male type of man. See http://bp2.blogger.com/_Qck4d7nzB1Q/Rc27_lv9xnI/AAAAAAAAAGw/OfNj-5pL4qs/s1600-h/harudaki+12+cover.jpg for a more modern yaoi look (picture is safe for work) and http://static2.animepaper.net/upload/thumbs/scans/Okane-Ga-Nai/%5Blarge%5D%5BAnimePaper%5Dscans_Okane-Ga-Nai_MadoshiKurefu(1.31)__THISRES__186694.jpg for a modern yaoi that uses an older style (picture is also safe for work).

    And that’s all I’ll say about that, since this thread is for Twilight and how bad it is. :)

  • Wings

    My word! This is beyond excellent. Initially, I was worried that you had liked the movie (this worried me as I enjoy reading your reviews and seem to share a similar taste in films), but this fear was dispelled after the first few sentences.

    I thank you profusely for this delectable dish of chilled satire.

  • MaryAnn

    Plenty of teenage girls who become sexually active aren’t necessarily doing it for the sex–they’re doing it because they’re curious, they’re doing it for male attention, they’re doing it because they want to KNOW, in no uncertain terms, that they’re desirable.

    I understand that. But giving them a fantasy boy who won’t ever, ever push them for sex — or to be bitten — no matter how much those girls push is hardly a step in a positive direction.

  • http://cascadegentian.blogspot.com/ Jody

    I read the first book this week to see what the fuss is about, and it read to me like most of the fanfiction out there – all emotion and dialogue, hardly any description of anyone (besides Edward, who gets described again on every other page). I read the author’s blog and what do you know, this is her first book and it was based on a dream she had about a “sparkly” vampire. Which explained the fanfiction feel of the book – she fell in love with the character just as people do with movie or book characters, and wrote a Mary Sue story about him.

    I’ll skip the movie . . . but I must say, it was worth them making the movie so Mary Ann could write this review.

  • Katie Dvorak

    HAHAHA. Awesome review as alwasy. As someone who’s read all the books and went from bemused but liking to incredibly annoyed/pissed/frustrated/etc. I had a feeling this was going to be the nonfans response to the movie.

    Based on the trailers I couldn’t decide if it was going to be so bad it’s good or just plain bad. Guess it’s the later.

  • Lyna

    The problem I have with Edward as a fantasy boy for girls isn’t that we ladies don’t deserve escapist fantasies, but in Edward’s character – he isn’t some ideal man, he’s an abusive stalker. I find it really disturbing that these girls – and women – are idolizing a guy who sneaks into Bella’s room at night and watches her sleep, and later takes the engine out of her car so she can’t go visit a male friend. That is my issue with females fantasizing about him.

  • JoshDM

    I miss these types of reviews.

  • KLW

    Great review, Mary Ann; exactly the kind that has made me a dedicated reader for the past 4-5 years.

    I saw this yesterday because I acquiesced to a friend’s choice of the movie to see. Complaining about this movie is about like all the Barney-the-dinosaur-bashing that was quite fashionable back in the 90s; to which I always replied, if you don’t like Barney and you’re over 5 years old, it’s okay -no one expects you to. I didn’t care for the movie much, but it was watchable enough – decently filmed and editted, clips along at an energetic pace. No better or worse really than just about anything you’d find on the WB, a fare I pretty much avoid. The whole vampire genre is pretty ridiculous in it’s entirety, made worse by the fact that everyone who spins another story bends and creates the ‘rules’ however they wish. This movie is just a popcorn muncher you may or may not like, but it’s made $70 million it’s opening weekend, so the audience it was made for is obviously going out to see it.

  • mehrnaz

    I liked the books. They were good reads. Just to distract you from your normal everyday life. I don’t mind the fact that Stephenie meyer has created a whole new generation of vampires and i believe it’s one of the factors that makes the books interesting. How long do we have to read and see vampires who are always thirsty to human blood,sleep in coffins and die because of the sunlight? Why do they have to be enemies to human beings when they can stay friends with them? Although, I agree that the movie isn’t as good as the books. (never has been, never will be) I haven’t seen it yet and I’ll probably borrow from someone when the dvd comes out.
    The books are just for entertainment and they shouldn’t be taken that seriously.
    Besides, 12-16 year olds will grow out of it. It’s just a phase we all went through.

  • Jurgan

    “How long do we have to read and see vampires who are always thirsty to human blood,sleep in coffins and die because of the sunlight? Why do they have to be enemies to human beings when they can stay friends with them?”

    I’m fine with there being different rules for different stories, but if you take away all that, are they even still vampires? It seems like the Twilight vampires are barely different than humans. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    How long do we have to read and see vampires who are always thirsty to human blood,sleep in coffins and die because of the sunlight?

    Since the 1970s, author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has been writing about benign vampires that don’t sleep in coffins, don’t necessarily die because of the sunlight, and have more things on their mind than mere blood-sucking.

    And she writes for adults.

    The fact that Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer get more publicity than Yarbro says a lot more about what we like to make a fuss over than about what’s actually available out there.

  • MaryAnn

    Heh. Yeah, vampires need to be vampirish, and vampirism is a metaphor for sexuality. It’s not the coffins and the avoidance of sunlight that’s necessary, it’s the predatory aspect and the sensuality, especially in a vampire romance. Take *those* away — which is what Meyers does — and I’m not sure that what we’re left with is vampires, or vampire romance.

    I mean, what, specificially, is meant to be particularly vampirely appealing about Whats’isface here? If he’s not gonna suck yer blood, then he’s not gonna, you know, get off on getting you off via his aggression and his willingness to take from you what he wants. That may not be PC, and it may not be what women actually want from an actual relationship, but there are aspects of this whole shebang that *are* appealing, as fantasy, in our era of shifting gender roles. But Meyers strips that all away, and I, as an adult woman but also as the sexually immature girl I remember being, don’t understand what’s left.

  • John

    Just out of curiosity, MaryAnn, have you read any spoilers/reviews of the later books?

  • M

    When I went to see Twilight, I didn’t go to the theater expecting something extremely amazing with overwhelmingly good cinematic effects or really famous actors. I went because I liked to the books, which is a pretty good reason, I’d think.

    The movie portrayed the book well, and unlike most other adaptations of books, it didn’t add things that never happened or completely take out crucial scenes.

    I’m not anywhere close to being 12-years-old. I’m in college, and I still enjoyed the books and the movie. The books weren’t written to please Anne Rice crowds, so I don’t think there should be an expectation to have those kinds of vampires in it.

    The movie was cheesy, really cheesy, I’ll admit, but so were the books, so it makes sense that the movie sorta makes you want to vomit with all the love and drama. The books aren’t fast-paced and bloody, so the movie wasn’t. Now, if this movie turned out in any way like Queen of the Damned, that would have just looked stupid. So, I think the crew for this movie did a pretty good job. They took an cheesy, emotional book laced with extremely unorthodox vampires and too much love and turned into a cheesy, emotional movie laced with extremely unorthodox vampires and too much love.

    I do, however, think that this movie/book has a better chance of being enjoyed if the viewer/reader is female. Which could very well be why I enjoyed both.

  • http://www.sleepisfortheweak.org Lianne

    “I mean, what, specificially, is meant to be particularly vampirely appealing about Whats’isface here? If he’s not gonna suck yer blood, then he’s not gonna, you know, get off on getting you off via his aggression and his willingness to take from you what he wants. That may not be PC, and it may not be what women actually want from an actual relationship, but there are aspects of this whole shebang that *are* appealing, as fantasy, in our era of shifting gender roles. But Meyers strips that all away, and I, as an adult woman but also as the sexually immature girl I remember being, don’t understand what’s left.”

    Wow…very good point.

    I’m kinda torn on the “dominating man” type of escapist fantasy for girls (and the extension of that – the rape fantasy/bodice ripper). I totally think that’s fine for adult women, because as you mentioned, what people want in their media and what people want in their real lives are definitely NOT the same thing much of the time, and an edgy, decidedly not-feminist piece of fantasy can be feminist in its own way, simply because it’s allowing women a variety of sexual exploration scenarios, and it can possibly be cathartic, and even, possibly, a deterrent from chasing dangerous men in real life because your life is somehow missing drama. The more variety of smut for women, the better, I say – more women need to take their sex and their sexuality into their own hands.

    However, I think one has to be really, really careful when giving that sort of escapist fantasy to a younger girl, since a younger reader/viewer is usually learning about sex from media and locker room talk rather than experience and adult education, so there’s a better chance that a book about OMG letting the bad boy dominate you is going to be taken more as a life lesson than had the girl read that book at, say, 22. Not to say that every teenage girl is that easily influenced by what she reads/watches, but I definitely think that younger people have a harder time separating their own values from the values of what the media/peers tell them.

    It sounds to me like Meyers was trying to make a bad boy escapist fantasy still “safe,” in terms of most Christian values, for the younger set – although the vampire bad boy does sneak into the heroine’s room and steal her engine and stuff, it’s made clear that his motivations are pure, so that’s less creepy? I guess? And he’s a vampire, so that supernatural bent is automatically going to separate the younger readers/viewers from the work a bit more so they won’t go looking for the same qualities in their decidedly not supernatural male peers. That’s the same reasoning behind the historical and/or fantastical settings of bodice rippers.

    I think I see what Meyers was trying to do, but it sounds like she didn’t do it well. It’s a shame, considering teenage girls could use a solid female-aimed fantasy that doesn’t involve being a pop star/ice skater like all the other tweeny stuff out there. There’s a real vacuum in the US/Canada for female-aimed media for the 15-25 age range, aka too old for the tweeny stuff and too young for the (admittedly terrible) romantic comedies.

    P.S.–Sorry for the lengthy post.

  • MaryAnn

    Just out of curiosity, MaryAnn, have you read any spoilers/reviews of the later books?

    Yes, I know a bit of what’s to come.

    It sounds to me like Meyers was trying to make a bad boy escapist fantasy still “safe,”

    That’s a real contradiction, though: the whole point of a “bad boy” is that he’s *not* safe. So we end up with a “bad boy” who’s not bad!

  • Camille

    In a nutshell, this series would have been a lot sexier, edgier and self-aware had they NOT been written by a Mormon housewife. Face it, guys. I’m not saying a hard-core goth chick should have taken the matter into her own hands, but Ms. Meyers clearly imposed a very conservative set of values on her fantasy series, and took on a subject matter–i.e, vampires–that we love BECAUSE the vampire shares none of our values. The conflict between Edward and Bella–his lust/love for her compromised by his baser vampire thirst–isn’t a bad idea at all, but Meyers abandons it pretty early on and goes for cheesy, middle American romance with really pale people and some hairy folks thrown in for balance.
    I suggest anyone looking for a good “young adult” fantasy series that actually treats its readers like mature, intelligent adults read Libba Bray’s “A Great and Terrible Beauty” series. They’re wonderful and far more original than the plight of Bella Swan. (Great name, btw…no hidden meaning in that.)

  • m

    You’ve heard of Pattinson, even if you think you haven’t.
    He played Cedric Diggory in HP: GOF.
    (Did someone mention this already?)

  • MaryAnn

    Yeah, *I* know that. The imaginary 12-year-old who wrote this review doesn’t.

  • Spencer

    Seriously, this book is teenage girl porn. Even if no sexual acts accompany the enjoyment of it, it’s still eerily close to porn. Impossibly “perfect”/”ideal” characters? Check. Crappy dialogue and contrived situations? Check. Fullfilling fantasies that would be unhealthy and/or impossible in real life? Check. Obsessive focus on body parts? Check. Repetitive actions? Check.

    And then, of course, there’s the impossibility to overstate how lusciously Meyers describes Edward. I’ll read the next books because I kind of have to, working with middle/high schoolers in a professional capacity, but if I see the words “smolder” or “dizzy” or “hyperventilate” or “flutter” or “heady scent” one more time, I may just have to scream. Poor Bella– she has to develop arhythmia, all the times her heart either stops or sputters.

    I’ll see the movie tonight, but friends of mine whose opinions I value and trust have stated that what works for them in the books (i.e. smoldering passion described in minute internal detail) doesn’t really translate on screen (i.e. let’s have the 3,000th shot of Edward and Bella looking into each other’s eyes).

  • Chloe

    “I appreciate your positive review. One of my favorite parts of the Twilight movie was when Edward sparkled in the sunlight (like you mentioned above).”

    –you poor thing. You fell for MJ’s first-class snark. You really are a Meyer alum.
    0-:

  • Anne-Kari

    Chloe – actually, I think ’boutique shopper’ is just a spammer trying to sell Twilight crap.

  • MaryAnn

    Indeed. And so I deleted that “comment.”

  • Chloe

    Aaah…thanks for the heads-up!
    (Damn. I kinda wanted to look at those “pendants…” (-:

  • mmmy

    Ok, TWILIGHT SUCKS. I know you love it–of course you do,you’re a gushing teenage girl that’s never read a different trashy romance in your life! Oh, I suppose noe your gonna say all the “great” points–”Edward is, like, so hawt, and, um, its SOOO romantic…..” “‘One can’t survive without the other?’ That’s so original and romantic! *gush* Even if basically the same theme as EVERY OTHER TRASHY ROMANCE….” “The characters are NOT cardboard cutouts! your just JEALOUS couse you’re not able to get into Edward’s pants like Bella! oh, I wish I could get into Edward’s pants….”

    Seriously, it sucks, and deep down, in your inner critic, you know it. But I bet you’ll delete this comment anyway, won’t you? Most offended, one-track-minded teeny-boppers would, wouldn’t they?

  • Ryan

    not very good at catching sarcasm, are we, mmmy.

  • amanohyo

    mmmy… there’s some Poe’s law-ish stuff going on here; are you pretending to be an angry teen and intentionally aping the writing style of the review? Or, are you actually a teen who is angry about a review clearly written by someone pretending to be a teen?

    I’m very confused, but I agree with your first sentence. I picked up a copy of the book while waiting in line at CVS yesterday and it is un-freakin-readable. The writer describes how beautiful and statuesque the male vampires are on every. single. page.

    I would have been ashamed to turn in a story written at that level in my eigth grade English class. Sixth grade… maybe. Anyone over the age of 13 who can make it through an entire page without laughing is made of stronger stuff than me.

    Someday soon, the flavor-of-the-week New York Times/Oprah’s Book Club best seller is going to be the transcribed and ghostwritten gurgles of an unborn fetus (a celebrity fetus, of course). I can’t wait to watch the movie version. I wonder if they’ll cast Brad and Angelina’s fetus in the lead role? Sounds like a potential onion news ticker joke: “World’s Sexiest Fetus forced to relinquish title after nude photo scandal.”

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/cgi-bin/MT336/mt-comments.cgi VerbalBarbs

    GAH! That was the worst review iv’e EVER read. I was shaking my head in discust the whole time. Was this writtin by a 12 year old or what? And just to clarify this, to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR. So you clueless rabid-fan girls don’t get the wrong message, that Jacob is NOT i repeat, NOT indian. HE IS NATIVE AMERICAN. Okay? Next time get your facts right. And this story could possibly not be grown up. It’s a 17 year olds perspective. I would have to say a YOUNG adult. What the hell was this? “Oh Bella is so cool and pretty and doesn’t brag about it” Firstly, SMeyer. Yeah your hero, makes it out that Bella is a NORMAL girl, but every guy drools over her? Can you explain that? And you probably havn’t read the books as you are dumb? “Indian wisdom?” INDIAN WISDOM?! WTF? It’s Quileute tribe wisdom. If it may be called that. Thank you for your time.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2008/11/112108twilight_review.html VerbalBarbs

    What really makes me sad is that SO many trees died making all these books.

  • Jurgan

    What makes ME sad is so many people seem to be taking Maryann’s review sincerely. But, as amonhoyo suggested, it could all be a put-on. Somehow I doubt it (especially the last one). I’ve long wondered whether a perfect parody would be distinguishable from the target of its mockery to someone with no outside knowledge. That’s a filosophical question that probably has no answer, but I think it’s clear you can fool some of the people all of the time.

  • Spencer

    Never underestimate the tenacity and stupidity of people who have never read a single sentence of MaryAnn’s before they ran across her on RottenTomatoes or Google.

  • MaryAnn

    What’s bizarre is that even if a reader had never come across this site before, it’s quite easy to confirm that I’m not 12 years old. The 11-year history of the site itself could be the first clue to that.

    Assuming these folks aren’t being funny themselves.

  • Pridess

    I really liked this movie and am now reading the books. My awesome brother, however, keeps pointing out that the movie and books have “abusive relationship undertones” in his words. Particularly because Bella withdraws from her friends, lies to her dad, protects Edwards “secret,” and such. Damn, just because I like a movie it has to be poisoning our youth!!!

  • MaryAnn

    On the converse, though, Pridess, just because you *do* like a movie doesn’t mean it *isn’t* posionous.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2008/11/112108twilight_review.html Read the fucking book.

    ““We shouldn’t be friends,” it’s like it’s because they’re in different groups at school, the vampires and the regular kids. It’s like, with everyone else being so nice to each other, the vampires, who are not nice to all the regular kids, are like the mean kids in a real school.”

    Yeahh. Cause Edward doesn’t want to lose face. I DON’T THINK SO. He doesn’t want to be friends with her because hes scared he’ll kill her, and secondly, lose what he’s been trying to do since he became a vampire. That is resisting the temptation in drinking human blood. The Cullens keep to themselfs only so people won’t get too close and discover what they really are. Case closed.

  • MaryAnn

    OMG, Read the fucking book, it’s called like subtext, okay? It’s called like metaphor. It’s a thing writers do, where something can be more than one thing at once.

    Sheesh.

  • Momoirotsubasa

    I hate to say it, but when I found out someone leaked the Midnight Sun book- Twilight from Edward’s perspective- and Meyer posted it on her website, I read it. I have shame. Anyway, it’s a fabulous thing to do before you see Twilight, because then, while you’re watching the wretched movie and the characters are having sparkly, tender moments you can say “Yup. He’s thinking about tearing her throat out now.” or “He doesn’t appear to be listening to her because he really ISN’T; he’s receiving telepathic messages!”

    On a side note, what with all the super-human hearing and sense of smell vampires possess, why would anyone think it was sexy to be hanging out with a guy who is fantastically attuned to your physical being? There are a few bodily functions I’d like to keep to myself, thank you very much.

  • Ryan

    Arguing with people who like Twilight is unhealthy. You can assume that if somebody is stupid enough to derive literary pleasure from these books, than they won’t be clever enough to understand a snarky review.

  • Ryan K

    I thought your review was awesome, loved the comments others made, and simply adore the possibility that anyone who liked the movie will not be able to identify your irony.

  • Ellie W

    Catherine Hardwicke , if you watch the special feautures (as i was forced to by my friends), is basically a 12 year old girl. you can tell she REALLY loves all things twilight.

  • http://tarurdm.blogspot.com Kevin (Ket)

    Where is your warning at the top of the review stating that this review is NSFW? My coworker is wondering why I’m trying so hard to resist laughing.

    It’s a sad state of things though when one of the dividing issues in this world (Republican vs Democrat, Pro Choice vs Pro Life, Gay Marriage vs No Gay Marriage, White Candidate vs Black Candidate) is Team Edward vs Team Jacob. Only the very fan base MaryAnn Johanson is lampooning could be at odds over such an “issue”. I can’t even call the fan base a demographic, knowing that older women take sides too (for whatever reason). It even somehow made it into the news. Sad state of things indeed…

  • Leslie Carr

    I thought you might like to see Twilight (the book) reviewed by the MIT Science Fiction society.