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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (review)

Children of the Night

The sparkly vampire guy and the shirtless werewolf guy, they’re still fighting over perfect, perfect Bella, whose perfection extends to a delicate and supposedly adorable feminine idiocy that is incapable not merely of choosing one of the damn supernatural dudes already and putting us all out of our misery, but even of knowing her own mind and her own desires. She may think she knows what she wants, but she doesn’t really, the boyfolk assure her. The lads know what’s best for her and will decide her future for her.
This is what passes for romance in the early 21st century: a sexless, passionless tug-of-war among children. I can just about understand why very young teenaged girls might find the Twilight nonsense appealing, for even though it is badly written and populated by characters that can barely be called “characters,” never mind “people,” it does touch on female adolescent angst about sex that pop culture rarely broaches (while male adolescent angst about sex appears to be the dominant pop-culture theme of our time). But I’m appalled and mystified by the apparent huge numbers of seemingly adult women who find this romantic. Because Twilight isn’t about romance, it’s about a childish terror of grownup life.

I didn’t realize during the first Twilight film, nor its sequel, New Moon, but suddenly it smacked me in the face in Eclipse: Edward Cullen, the putative modern Heathcliff and Mr. Darcy all in one sparkly vampire package, is as much a child as Bella Swan, the blank-canvas human teenager he falls in love with. He’s a century-old immortal, he’s richer than God, and he’s not even bound by the clichés of vampirism to avoid sunlight: he could be doing anything and everything fabulous with his endless, privileged life. Traveling the world. Living like a rock star. Anything. What does he choose to do? Attend high school in the rural Pacific Northwest. Where he met Bella, back in the first film, and fell in love with her, for some unknowable reason, and she with him.

At least from her perspective, there was at first the understandable allure of the exotic — the really exotic, in his case — though over the course of now three films, he turns out not to have much to recommend him. Bella (Kristen Stewart: The Runaways, Adventureland) and Edward (Robert Pattinson: Remember Me, Little Ashes) here continue their courtship consisting of mostly, it appears, moping around and kissing a bit, followed by high school graduation. Bella wants to make love with him, which seems like a perfect natural thing to do when two people are, we’re told, this deeply in love. But he keeps demuring: it’s “dangerous,” he insists. If there’s any sort of neat-o vampiric danger to this act, something truly inimical to life and limb, we never learn. And I don’t want to hear that Stephenie Meyer’s novel [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.] explains what the danger is: it should be here in the film, if it’s that important. Instead, sex is simply scary in some nebulous, unfathomable way… like when you’re 12 years old and are just starting to grasp what sex is all about.

And anyway, Bella doesn’t really love Edward — she really loves Jacob the Native American werewolf (Taylor Lautner: Valentine’s Day, Cheaper by the Dozen 2). She may insist that Edward is the sexless manchild for her, but Jacob is in love with Bella, Jacob is “exactly right” for Bella, therefore Bella must secretly be in love with Jacob and must actually belong to him. “She’s not sure what she wants,” Jacob insists, and damn if he doesn’t turn out to be right! She’s only a girl anyway, someone to be lied to and controlled by sparkly vampire dudes and shirtless werewolf dudes who only want to “protect” her.

This — plus Jacob’s violent male jealousy, which extends to him wishing Bella dead rather than turned into a vampire — is “romantic.” I find it terrifying.

Far less actually terrifying is the alleged horror content of Eclipse, about a mysterious vampire who is creating an army of newborn vampires in nearby Seattle — newborn vampires being the most vicious, we’re told — in order to wage war on the “peaceful,” non-human-blood-consuming Cullen clan of Forks. (That’s right: Edward won’t even indulge in metaphoric sex with Bella by sucking her blood — he’s even more adamant about that than he is about the nonmetaphoric kind of sex. I truly marvel at the mindset of Stephenie Meyer that she would remove all the subtextual oomph from her fantasy creatures. What good is a vampire who won’t bite you? And what good is a lover who won’t love you?) And then war comes, with the Cullens and the Native werewolves, longtime enemies, teaming up to fight the newborns. All of this, lazily deployed by director David Slade — which is unsurprising after his equally lazy vampire flick 30 Days of Night — seems like an afterthought, way down on the list of Important Things For Eclipse To Cover after voiceovers by Bella to explain what we can plainly see, history lessons about the beef between the vampires and the werewolves, a few Hammer Horror appearances by the vampire aristocrats the Volturi, and one excruciatingly extended sequence that tosses Bella, Edward, and Jacob together on a cold night. This bit is constructed for maximum ridiculousness and maximum male jealousy, and concludes in a long discussion between Edward and Jacob in which they divvy up Bella’s affections.

Slade is bound by Meyer’s novel and Melissa Rosenberg’s slavish screenplay, but he is the same director who gave us the tough and uncompromising look at complex female adolescence that is Hard Candy. You’d think he could have brought something just a little bit wise and a little bit gutsy to Twilight. He doesn’t. Any by the time someone warns that “something terrible is coming,” all I could think was: “Yeah, Breaking Dawn. In two parts.”


Watch The Twilight Saga: Eclipse online using LOVEFiLM’s streaming service.

MPAA: rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality

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

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • DaveTM

    I always wondered. Couldn’t Edward technically be considered a pedophile? He’s a really old guy who likes to hang around a high school and falls in love with underage girls. Just because he looks to be as young as they are it’s ok?

  • MaryAnn

    As this movie makes clear, he really is frozen at 17.

  • Drave

    This is really long, but I HIGHLY recommend reading it. It is absolutely the best deconstruction of Twilight I have ever read.

    http://stoney321.livejournal.com/317176.html

  • JoshDM

    Forwarding this to all the Twimoms I know.

    I don’t know any.

    I am probably a happier person for it.

  • Orangutan

    There’s two schools of thought on that subject that I’ve seen, Dave. The most prevalent is the rationalization that Captain Sparkles is ‘frozen in time’ and has never mentally aged past 17, therefore there is nothing even remotely wrong with it. The other seems to be ‘well, he’s gorgeous, so it’s OK’. Which is the same rationale used to justify the whole stalking/controlling thing.

    Now, I have to put some popcorn on and eagerly await the influx of raging Twifans.

  • Isobel

    In the books (which I would like to make clear I only read all four of because I had two weeks’ bed rest after surgery and a friend had gotten them for me. My fury at them took my mind off the pain, which was quite helpful, actually!) he won’t have sex with her because he’s super strong and will damage her

    SPOILER

    And when they finally do have sex in the final book (after they’re married, of course – there’s the whole Mormon religious subtext, too) he damages her quite a lot. And she loves it. Ugh.

    /SPOILER

    Anyway, one of the many things that infuriated me, and that you’ve picked up on, is her belittlement by Edward and Jacob, as just a silly little woman. When she was angry she was always described as a ‘furious kitten’ or somesuch – her anger wasn’t allowed to be legitimate and Edward was always right.

    That Cleolinda deconstruction on LiveJournal is brilliant!

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    it’s about a childish terror of grownup life.

    The more I think about it, the more I think that captures the zeitgeist of the early 21st century as a whole.

  • Overflight

    Don’t take this question the wrong way, MaryAnn but why do you keep watching these movies? I’m just curious, is it because of loyalty to your readers who wish to know your opinion; because you want to be able to see this phenomenon first hand before trashing it, unlike 90% of this franchise’s haters who base said hatred entirely on hearsay (myself included), or both?

    Whatever your reason may be, well done for taking these bullets for us. On a slightly unrelated topic:

    He’s a century-old immortal, he’s richer than God, and he’s not even bound by the clichés of vampirism to avoid sunlight: he could be doing anything and everything fabulous with his endless, privileged life. Traveling the world. Living like a rock star. Anything. What does he choose to do? Attend high school in the rural Pacific Northwest.

    One thing that bugs me in certain franchises involving immortal characters is when said characters manage to become successful business men or distinguished without any suspicion. Surely at one point SOMEONE would realize these guys have no ID and every other associated problem. So not to defend this piece of crap but maybe that plot point isn’t so far fetched. Don’t they move from town to town so they can keep their masquerade?

    Obligatory TVTropes link:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UndeadTaxExemption

  • MaryAnn

    Don’t take this question the wrong way, MaryAnn but why do you keep watching these movies? I’m just curious, is it because of loyalty to your readers who wish to know your opinion; because you want to be able to see this phenomenon first hand before trashing it, unlike 90% of this franchise’s haters who base said hatred entirely on hearsay (myself included), or both?

    Yes and yes. And also because I am a professional film critic, and my self-appointed mandate is looking at and deconstructing the pop culture as a whole. So I can’t just ignore the most popular movies. That would be like a political journalist just ignoring the White House.

    I’m not even sure why there’s any question about this. I’m not merely a movie fan who likes to write about the movies I like. I’m looking at a much bigger picture than that. I guess if that’s not clear then I must be doing something wrong, and I’ll have to figure out what that is and fix it.

  • E.N.

    I realize this review is based on the film but reading the books may give more insight into the whys of the story and what would make it appeal to women of many ages. You may still feel the same and you may not.

    I am an educated woman who did enjoy the Twilight series in both film and print. I respect that others may not share my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own. In saying this, those of us not opposed to a little old fashioned romance should not be criticized either. As far as the sex goes, a persons choice of when to have it should be respected whether they are male or female. The Edward character wants to wait for 2 reasons. One of which is because he himself is a virgin. There is nothing that tragic about that aspect of the story.

    It may or may not interest you to know that in the end of the series, Bella is the heroine.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I realize this review is based on the film but reading the books may give more insight into the whys of the story and what would make it appeal to women of many ages.

    In re the bolded portion above, it’s generally accepted in film theory that an adaptation needs to be able to convey all of the crucial story and plot elements within itself. In other words, if you have to read the book to understand the movie, you haven’t made a very good movie. Also, the movie should have something interesting to ay about the material, otherwise adapting a book into a movie is little more than a cynical cash grab or a bit of intellectual masturbation. You point about the appeal of the stories is valid, however.

    And she loves it.

    Hey, some people like it rough. Don’t judge me. ;-)

    This is really long, but I HIGHLY recommend reading it. It is absolutely the best deconstruction of Twilight I have ever read.

    http://stoney321.livejournal.com/317176.html

    Full disclosure: I didn’t click the link, ’cause I’m tired of reading these things. Also, I know I’m gonna get eaten alive for this, but meh.

    I’m not sure what fascinates me more: the Twilight phenomenon, or the Twilight backlash. They’re just not worth it. The books aren’t good enough to spend this amount of internet bandwidth “deconstructing” them. They don’t really have anything interesting to say. I defy the notion that they “train” girls about relationships on the same grounds that i defy the notion that video games make boys violence prone. I’m not willing to blame Stephanie Meyers for: unrealistic fantasy; non-standard vampires/werewolves; horror-lite horror; religious subtext; author standins. She didn’t invent these things, nor is she the first writer to become successful employing them. And it’s not Meyer’s fault that there aren’t enough counter examples. And none of these endless “deconstructions” want to address the better question: why do we live in a culture where these books are popular, and how do we fix that?

    I have more to say, but at a certain point, I should just write my own blog. :-)

  • Dymphna

    I actually see a lot of these deconstructions address the question of a) why we live in a culture where these books are popular and b) how we fix that. Two very good questions, indeed. And in that sense I actually think these awful books have very interesting things to say.

    Longstanding cultural anxieties about adult female sexuality, going at least as far back as ancient Greek misogyny and the anti-sex mentality that flooded into early Christian thought in the early centuries, would be my first answer.

    Second would be. Feminism. Better movies based on better books. Twilight as mere gateway to lots of Buffy. More atheists.

    But that’s just me.

    The “oh poor Meyers she didn’t invent this crappy writing she only profits off it” thing seems moot, though. First, who cares, she’s crying all the way to the bank. Second, we can call really bad writing really bad writing all we want and it isn’t a personal attack. It’s a criticism of a professionally compensated-for, publicly marketed product.

    There’s something to be said for striking a blow against mediocrity in all its forms, especially in a world where there are powerful political and economic spheres that would like to convince people to live crappy little quiet lives doing nothing much and thinking nothing much and feeling nothing much, just consuming consuming consuming whatever drek they hand out.

  • Knightgee

    Bella can’t have sex for the same reason he won’t turn her into a vampire: Because her purity would be tarnished if it occurred before marriage. Considering that Edward is over 100 years old, this outdated view of sex and chastity makes sense. The fact that the series only seeks to reinforce this view rather than critique it is what’s annoying.

    I’m also surprised MaryAnn wasn’t more incensed by some of Edward’s more unsavory behaviors in this installment, but maybe the movie omitted or downplayed just how crazy his stalker behavior gets in this one.

  • serious student

    If you want to truly understand this series, you have to understand that it is nothing more than an allegory for repressed Mormon desires. Stephenie Meyer is Mormon and this story is very, very Mormon. Mormons do not talk about sex very openly. In fact, they find it terrifying. Adolescent sexual desire is hidden beneath the surface and repressed. They are taught that it is evil. To admit that one actually has lust is dangerous and terrifying. Even married Mormon couples are weird about sex and not open about it. Another interesting point is that Mormon women are taught that Mormon men have special (ie magical) powers and only men can hold the “priesthood.” Thus, Mormon men (called elders) know what’s best for Mormon women more than the women themselves. Look into Mormon culture a little bit and you will see the incredibly obvious parallels.

  • Alli

    Serious Student, I remember reading a similar blog dissecting the books and fundamental Mormonism, especially in Breaking Dawn. MAJ pointed out the difference between the vampire metaphorical sex (being bitten) and the actual sex. In breaking dawn, she does this again with Marriage vs. becoming a vampire. I guess if you’re a Mormon you have two weddings: one outside the church where all your non-mormon friends can attend, and the second inside the temple. In doing so you are married for Eternity. I remember reading a critical review of the series in a Literary Magazine and the author tried to suggest that Meyer didn’t include her Mormon background into the story. I wanted to reach through the pages and demand that author turn in her Liberal Arts Degree.

  • MaryAnn

    Mormons do not talk about sex very openly. In fact, they find it terrifying. Adolescent sexual desire is hidden beneath the surface and repressed. They are taught that it is evil. To admit that one actually has lust is dangerous and terrifying.

    I would argue that this is true of American society as a whole. As it must be, or else this story would not be so popular. People would be laughing at it instead of eating it up.

  • Knightgee

    I would argue that this is true of American society as a whole.

    I think that’s a slight oversimplification. Sure, in white American society, sexual desire and lust is seen as something to repress in women, because their natural and “proper” state is one of assumed innocence and purity. However Blacks, Latin@s and other people of color in America are hypersexualized by the mainstream perception and their innate (over)sexuality is not only a given, but expected, which is why so many women of color were and are the targets of sexual violence. The women of color are always portrayed as naturally lusty jezebels that are meant to contrast with the supposedly innate chaste purity of white women and the men of color are so “oversexed” that white women need to be protected from their “dangerous” ways by white men. We can actually see this play out in Twilight. One of the only Native American main characters is also the one who is portrayed as being very physically intimate and intense, is always naked and is sexualized through that nudity. His werewolf nature renders him more “primal” and thus less able to control his desires. The nice white Bella’s sexuality must be repressed not only because it’s frightening, but because it makes her a target for the lecherous desires of a person of color. This series is trafficking in some very old and sadly persistent stereotypes.

  • http://mistermunshun.blogspot.com/ Hasimir Fenring

    It is absolutely the best deconstruction of Twilight I have ever read.

    Ah-ha! I make up for my lack of quality with quantity. If you think this one’s long, mine goes through the first book Slacktivist-style.

    Dymphna beat me to the punch of suggesting how the best of these deconstructions can be helpful. At the risk of stating something that her(?)comments already implied, a central purpose of deconstruction is to explore the environment that gave rise to a given artistic work more than to look at the work for its own sake. (‘The books aren’t good enough…’)

    I think the better criticism of Twilight does not claim that it “trains” girls about relationships. Rather, good criticism asks why girls would identify with, indeed fantasise about, relationships like those portrayed in the work and what the answers tell us about our culture.

  • Chris

    As a freshman in college I borrowed Twilight the book from a roommate (I was desperate for reading material). This was a few years before the movies came out and I remember thinking how bad the book was. Everything was wrong with it.

    The characters were awful, the writing style was childish but not in an intelligent way to cater to children but rather just someone who has a limited vocabulary and little writing skills. The book is too poorly written to be considered in the same realm as well written light-hearted fluff. I hated Bella as character she is so one dimensional that I can’t even see her as a side character.

    I think the backlash against Twilight is so large because the series is so wrong in so many ways and yet so many people think it’s amazing. I am upset that this writing can be considered good, that these characters can not only be considered well developed but also role models, and that this story not only interests so many but is a life they desire. What is wrong that people can’t see the truth in this series?

  • Isobel

    Did they do the horrible imprinting thing in the film?

  • Andrew

    Did they do the horrible imprinting thing in the film?

    That’s in the last one, wherein I am given to understand that after the sparkle vampire has sex with the girl and gets her pregnant, the baby kicks her so hard it breaks her spine, so she gets made into a vampire too and the sparkle vampire has to literally chew the fetus out of her, and then it’s a happy ending because the werewolf takes one look at the newborn and declares he really really wants to fuck that kid.

  • MaryAnn

    The women of color are always portrayed as naturally lusty jezebels that are meant to contrast with the supposedly innate chaste purity of white women and the men of color are so “oversexed” that white women need to be protected from their “dangerous” ways by white men

    That’s still all about sex being seen as something terrifying. And it certainly does not represent any kind of mature attitude toward sex. What passes for talk about sex in the American mainstream is nothing open or honest or grownup: it’s all about terror, even if it manifests itself in different ways.

  • Kate

    I’ve read the first three books, and I saw the first two movies (well, I saw the first half of the second one; couldn’t get myself to finish it). In a sense I can understand the attraction women have for the “romance” in these stories. It reminds me an awful lot of the 1980′s TV series “Beauty and the Beast” (Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton). In that series, lovely Catherine falls in love with a subterranean lion-man who quotes Shakespeare but has fangs and sharp claws. He won’t have sex with Catherine (even though he loves her and she really, really wants to) because he’s afraid he’ll hurt her during lovemaking. There’s a haunting nobility to their relationship — he is so insightful, so protective, so self-sacrificing (and he quotes poetry and wears Edwardian clothing!). It’s sexy and romantic, in spite of the fact that the two characters can’t have sex (or maybe because of it!). Women loved the series, just like many love these novels and films. These are stories of impossible love, but a love that’s greater than reality.

    The problem with the Twilight story is that Stephanie Meyer takes it to it’s ugly conclusion — her characters DO end up having sex (and it’s not at all pretty!). Bella throws away her very humanity to become an immortal vampire so she can play with Edward for the rest of eternity. There’s something very disturbing about that. What makes “Beauty and the Beast” work is its acknowledgment that Catherine’s world is valuable and a necessary part of her life. She can’t just abandon who she is and run away with her fantasy lover. Bella has no sense of self, so there’s nothing at all to keep her from choosing Edward’s world over her own.

    The suggestion in Meyer’s work is that a woman’s world is of little importance — she will be defined (and, in this case, CREATED) by the man she loves. That’s the lesson I hope young readers will not take with them beyond these books. At least “Beauty and the Beast’s” Catherine was an educated woman with an active career and a vital life beyond her “beast.” Bella is a teenage girl with a high school degree (just barely) who will be forever 18 with her forever-17-year-old vampire husband. There’s not much there for mature women to relate to.

  • CB

    I would argue that this is true of American society as a whole. As it must be, or else this story would not be so popular. People would be laughing at it instead of eating it up.

    I saw the first movie at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, and there was a ton of laughter, and several off-color remarks heard at the prom scene at the end when Bella so obviously wants Edward and he won’t give it up. The general atmosphere as the lights came on was that we’d just watched an unintentional comedy.

    Still, I do think you’re right that this fear of sex is a general feature of our culture, but it gets amped up and warped by the Mormon aspect that I think it’s actually the opposite in some ways.

    In mainstream sex-averse American culture, it’s young women who are supposed to not feel lust, and it is on their shoulders to resist the advances of men and maintain sexual morality.

    In Twilight, Bella has fully functional hormones and is lusting after Edward. Being a mere woman, she doesn’t realize that this is bad and it takes Edward to prevent her from sinning. He takes over the role of resisting temptation even though he (supposedly) feels it even more.

    So maybe the popularity is a result of our society having to come to grips with (adolescent) female sexuality, by embracing an atavistic viewpoint where the man is in charge and responsible for the woman’s purity. It’s okay to feel lust, young woman, because your dream man won’t give in to your wantoness!

    That sounds weird, but then again the whole attitude (mainstream and Mormon) are weird. On the other hand, I do feel like we’ve made progress over many decades, and maybe this is just a temporary regression before we fully adapt to the new reality?

    That’s in the last one, wherein I am given to understand that after the sparkle vampire has sex with the girl and gets her pregnant, the baby kicks her so hard it breaks her spine, so she gets made into a vampire too and the sparkle vampire has to literally chew the fetus out of her, and then it’s a happy ending because the werewolf takes one look at the newborn and declares he really really wants to fuck that kid.

    There’s a chance that may be the second Twilight movie I watch, since I have a feeling it may end up being one of the (unintentionally) greatest moments in cinema.

    Definitely going to be watching it at the Drafthouse with a beer in front of me. :)

  • Orangutan

    Seriously. I am actually looking forward to the Rifftrax for that. Also, Andrew, that is possibly the greatest summary of Breaking Dawn I’ve ever read.

  • MaryAnn

    He won’t have sex with Catherine (even though he loves her and she really, really wants to) because he’s afraid he’ll hurt her during lovemaking.

    Just to be clear, there is NOTHING in the movies to suggest that Edward is afraid of physically hurting Bella if they have sex. And in *Eclipse* he explicitly states that he’s old-fashioned, which is why he doesn’t want to make love to her even though he is intensely in love with her, and that he’s worried for her immortal soul if they were to have sex outside of marriage.

  • http://bluejaysway.wordpress.com/ Bluejay

    @Kate: Interesting comparison to Beauty and the Beast. As I recall, Vincent and Catherine did have sex, and Catherine wound up giving birth to a son shortly before dying, in the last season.

    TVTropes cites the show as an example of Death by Childbirth:

    Beauty and the Beast had three horrifying cases of this:

    * Vincent’s foster brother Devin’s mother died in childbirth with Father attending. This leads Father to not acknowledge Devin as his son until adulthood.

    * And of course Catherine herself has a rather heartbreaking (indirect) death by childbirth in that she is held prisoner throughout her pregnancy with Jacob and murdered shortly after without ever even holding her son. She lives just long enough to tell Vincent about their baby. Of course, considering the execs at the time, this could be an instance of Death By Sex

    * Vincent himself killed his natural mother. Father admits this through a very pained confession that the brutal fashion of his birth almost caused Father to kill Vincent at birth, but relented.

    It seems that B&B had more issues around sex/childbirth/death than I remembered! Although I do agree with your assessment of Catherine vs Bella.

  • Dymphna

    That really is a rather interesting and brilliant reversal of post-Victorian sexual anxieties, CB, where the woman was supposed to “lie back and think of the Empire,” and assumed to be essentially without desire And such discourse continues today, both in the religious right, the mainstream, and amongst some supposedly left-leaning thinkers *cough* Paglia *cough*.

    The woman as wanton uncontrolled slut who needs a strong man to guide her to virtue, though, that model of misogyny is nothing new. Ancient, in fact.

    It seems in the nature of contemporary kierarchy to be internally inconsistent. Double binds keep us confused, distracted, occupied with trying to fit in to a set of mutually exclusive demands.

    But when you’ve had a whole lot of one polarity thrown at you (virgin woman / sexually rapacious man) I can see how it would be a temporary release to delve into the other polarity (lustful woman / virtuous dependable man).

    Hmm. Also serves to constantly reinforce the idea of gender as a set of opposites. When we migrate towards one pole, the “opposite sex” must, of necessity in this model, migrate the other way to maintain equilibrium.

  • Isobel

    The imprinting thing was horrific, not only because twice in the books a teenaged man ‘imprinted’ on a toddler, but also because it’s not reciprocal. The man ‘imprints’ on the woman, and she doesn’t on him, but basically has to be with him anyway (in the case of the toddlers, they will have been brought up by the man, too, which is beyond revolting).

    Meyer presents this as impossibly romantic, these girls have men that are completely and utterly focussed on them to the exclusion of all else (one girl loses her boyfriend because he imprints on someone else after becoming a werewolf), and who wouldn’t want that? she says. But it’s ridiculous – we’ve all had people with crushes on us that we didn’t find attractive, or had crushes on other people that didn’t find us attractive. Just because someone crushes on you, or you on them, doesn’t mean it has to be returned. This imprinting idea is basically forced, arranged marriage and it’s as icky as anything else Meyer deems ‘romantic’.

  • Dymphna

    Ugg that sounds awful.

    Long ago, when I was younger and dumber about relationships, I fell for the “you must be with me, you’re the only woman I’ll ever love” manipulation. Surprise surprise, this turned out to be the prelude to an emotionally and occasionally physically abusive relationship.

    Oddly, when someone is convinced that you are the only one for them in the whole entire world, they tend to get desperate and jealous and controlling. They also tend to resent the hell out of you. Seriously, the feelings they interpret as love are actually much closer to hate.

  • LaSargenta

    That would be like a political journalist just ignoring the White House.

    I see your point. But, I’d like to remind you that that is essentially what I.F. Stone did and his Weekly was probably the best ever political reporting.

  • Shadowen

    MaryAnn, if the movie retains any of the plot points of the book, I dread reading your review, if only because it might also double as your obituary. It’s that horribad.

  • CB

    The woman as wanton uncontrolled slut who needs a strong man to guide her to virtue, though, that model of misogyny is nothing new. Ancient, in fact.

    That’s what I meant by saying it was atavistic, a desire to return to an old way of doing things that would take away the scary realities of the present.

    Of course in some cultures, like the one this movie comes from, that’s the current way of doing things.

    This imprinting idea is basically forced, arranged marriage and it’s as icky as anything else Meyer deems ‘romantic’.

    Not arranged, predestined. It’s the will of God, and so just like the imprinting is supposed to be “romantic”, so is trying to resist the destiny created by that imprinting supposed to be evil and sinful. I doubt that comes out in the books, but it is why it’s presented as an unmitigated good and romantic thing for the women to be “guided” to their destinies. It’s like the sex thing — they’re just preventing the women from sinning!

    Another think I don’t know about the books is whether or not women from the werewolf clan also imprint. If not, it’d be just another indication of the underlying message that men are the recipients of moral enlightenment and must guide women to it.

    Oh yeah, the depths of creepy subtext just keep going and going.

  • Kate

    Mary Ann: Edward’s fear of hurting Bella is certainly a major element throughout the novels — and it was there in the first movie (I can’t say much about the next two). My guess is they didn’t want to get too much into the “sex and violence” thing in the movies, but the guy is DEAD, after all, and ice cold, and hard as a rock (not in a good way!), he’s Superman-strong, and he has FANGS! Of COURSE it would be dangerous to have sex with him! In the first book (and the first movie), he is even afraid to kiss her for fear he’ll lose control and gobble her right up (remember, he said she smells so good he had to keep himself away from her for the first few weeks just so he could build up a level of resistance).

    Bluejay: Some of what you write about “Beauty & the Beast” is incorrect. Vincent and Catherine never have sex — they have an “experience” (sort of a mystical union that results in an immaculately conceived child). There is no physical intimacy between them (although she does kiss him). Additionally, Vincent did not kill his mother in childbirth — that was a false story told by arch-villain Paracelsus (who was impersonating Father at the time). Vincent was found by Father as a dying infant on the steps of St. Vincent’s Hospital (thus his name) — his birth mother (and the circumstances of his birth) is never revealed in the series.

    I think the comparison between the two stories relates mostly to the idea of forbidden love — in both cases, the love relationship must be a secret from the woman’s friends and family (this is a problem for Catherine; it’s certainly a problem for Bella). But I can imagine how intoxicating it would be to find oneself in a secret romantic relationship with someone who is larger-than-life, dangerous, and so totally wrapped up in his love for you that nothing else seems to matter. In “Beauty & the Beast,” it always seemed that if Vincent and Catherine ever did make love, an entire element of the story would cease to exist. And I think that’s what happened with Meyers’ story — once she allowed her couple to consummate their relationship, the mystery was gone. That fourth book pretty much puts an end to anything “romantic” that ever existed with Bella and Edward.

  • http://bluejaysway.wordpress.com/ Bluejay

    Thanks for the correction, Kate. I guess my memory of that show is pretty foggy. :-)

  • http://bluejaysway.wordpress.com/ Bluejay

    And I guess it means TVTropes isn’t really a reliable resource. :-)

  • AsimovLives

    [deleted by maj]

  • amanohyo

    AsimovLives, your white whale is ironically having a far greater impact on your life than any of your favorite sci fi movies. Am I going to read a news story about a “crazed trekkie” assaulting Abrams at the Vegas convention? Will fans at the scene report hearing the assailant screaming the words, “For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee… in naaame ooooooonleeeeee!!!”