Monday, November 7, 2011

Twilight - The Craze, The Hype and The Madness

With the upcoming release of Breaking Dawn, the first of two parts of the Twilight Saga’s finale, coming out next week (and yes, I do already have my tickets), I thought now would be a good time to discuss it’s strengths and many weaknesses.  If you’re unaware, Twilight is the story of a girl who falls in love with a guy, no really, that’s pretty much it.  The craze, for me, was the nature in which you could devour the series.  Stephanie Meyer isn’t a great author and won’t be winning any literary awards, but riding on the coattails of the ever-present vampire craze and the need for kids to read (thank you, JK Rowling), Meyer was able to capitalise and write something that was mildly digestible, but only once.

Bella Swann, what can you really say about her?  She is a bumbling idiot, really, and yet, I still find myself watching Twilight, New Moon or Eclipse when they’re on Showtime.  Bella is highly unsympathetic.  When compared to Harry Potter we see a boy who is forced into a difficult situation, not of his choosing, and he ultimately does the right thing.  With Bella Swann, we have a girl who likes some guy and changes herself for him.  Not the stuff of legend, for sure.  Bella Swann has some redeeming qualities, her mother is a complete free spirit, which, is nice, sure, but I imagine Bella being the adult in that family.  Plus, the mother picks up and goes off with her minor league ball player boyfriend and drops the kid of with the dad, who she left out of nowhere.  The story just reeks of selfishness.  This is one of many underlying issues I have with this series.

I posted a review on Amazon for Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality, one of many great pop culture and philosophy books.  While my review was not well received, I believe they call the Twi-hards, do not take kindly to any dissention among the ranks.  If you’re an Edward fan, you’re good, if you’re a Jacob fan, you’re not good.  So I read one of the essays and commented on it in my review.  I won’t go into great detail, and I owe you all a review and commentary from the Ultimate Lost version from this series, but these are great, great reads. 

The essay in question dealt with what Twilight would be like in real life.  Take a moment with me here, in real life, if some girl had some guy obsessing over her, like Edward does to Bella, would it be viewed as okay.  Let’s think about it: he doesn’t like who she talks to, so he keeps her away from Jacob, he takes her engine apart at one point.  He has all the control in the relationship, telling her that she can’t be with him, but then doesn’t leave her alone.  When he does leave her, she goes into some sort of meltdown and isolates her from everyone.

Does this sound familiar?  Not familiar like you’ve been through it, I hope, but it is an abusive relationship.  There is no better way to describe it.  He has stalker tendencies and is controlling.  To be fair, and I love to see Edward and Bella together, she should have chosen Jacob. He doesn’t ask her to change, doesn’t need her to change and likes her just the way she is.  For Bella to be with Edward, she has to forsake everything about her life to be with him.  To give all that up for one person isn’t saving the world, it’s selfish.

Additionally, think of how she treats her friends.  I grant you, none are compelling, but she uses them and tosses them away when convenient. Look at Jacob as a perfect example.  When she needed him, in New Moon, she finds great comfort in their friendship, but as soon as she hears of Edward needing her, after he cast her aside like trash, she drops everything. While romantic, the scene at the end of New Moon, with Bella telling Jacob it will always be Edward, no matter what. But what is she basing that off of?  I could digress into a diatribe about ‘love at first sight,’ but this isn’t a Romeo and Juliet scenario, by any stretch of the imagination.  Every friend Bella values don’t have a pulse.  Is it my imagination, or is this story really about suicide?

This is one of the main issues I have with this series.  Bella is headstrong, and to call her a shell of a person would be unfair, but really, she isn’t a real character.  As fans, we follow her story, go through things as she does, but does it ever resonate?  Maybe a little, in a childish sort of way, but ultimately, the end of the story saps any real value it may have had.  Bella Swann is a horrible role model for any young girl reading the series.  There is no Edward, no Jacob to fight over girls, there are no super powerful beings that you can aspire to be just by the smell of your blood, which is in and of itself completely insane.  The story is just terrible.  And yet…yet we all went to great lengths to read it, to watch the movies, to cyber-stalk the stars, I mean what.

The movies have redeemed the poorly written stories, that’s an absolute truth.  The first movie was poor, mediocre at best, really, but when the studio realised the cash cow they had, they put some money into it, no offence to the Twilight production team.  New Moon brings the story a sense of realism and also the production values go through the roof.  Eclipse builds on it and brings some very memorable scenes.  I’ll save that for another rambling blog.  The moral of this blog is Twilight = not very good books, but addictive.  Bella is not a role model, nor is Edward, I find Jacob to be neutral, once he evolves into his own by the end of the final book.  I have tickets to see the movie Thursday night, before midnight, look for a movie review then.  Stay tuned for more blogs about Twilight and how terrible it is.

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