Sunday, November 22, 2009

The "Twilight" Wars are On!

I've made no secret of the fact that I'm not a big fan of the Twilight Saga, the huuuugely popular series by author Stephanie Meyer. So the release of the movie New Moon was kind of a non event for me. However I have noticed that for large numbers of young girls, and oddly, middle-aged women, "New Moon" is a biiig deal; and they will defend their love of the series to a surprising degree. Even more surprising is how vehement the opinions are of those who don't like the series. Opening night of "New Moon" was so huge that it looked as if it were going to break the record earnings "The Dark Knight" raked in; though ultimately the largely female audience couldn't match the broad appeal of Batman-- though it was a very, very close race. But huge revenue doesn't equal good reviews and the criticisms of the "Twilight Saga" have been harsh. Cracked.com has a article titled 7 Chick Flicks That Secretly Hate Women and "Twilight" comes in at #6 on their list... In Twilight, a boring-a** twitchy girl named Bella falls in love with a shiny vampire named Edward. And for some reason not explained by the movie, he loves her back. So just be your clumsy, mouth-breathing selves ladies. Someday, if you're skinny enough, someone exotic will love you for just being "you." And How Does This Hate Women? Take the vampirism from this movie and all you're left with is Ike and Tina right before Tina refuses to eat the cake. Edward stomps, broods, sneers and snidely tells his love interest to f*** off, but that's just the forbidden fruit angle Bella needs to stand around like a dumba** waiting for her stalker/boyfriend to confess his love/violent lust for her tasty blood. He'll confess a few MURDERS while he's at it. Bella sees his murderous lust and raises him a dead-eyed vacant stare and the flippant assurance that he'd never hurt her. This entire movie is one black-eyed-teen away from being a PSA from 1989. Ouch. "New Moon" doesn't fare any better on Rotten Tomatoes, garnering only a 29% favorable rating. Double ouch. Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes go pretty much as you'd expect criticism of a teen-angst film to run. If the first instalment of The Twilight Saga was a celebration of teenage sulkiness, then this sequel positively drowns in it. ~Digital Spy Pseudo-religious nonsense, with fangs. ~This is London Depending on your gender, age and Twihard-ness, this good-looking angst party is either a solid Meyer adaptation with quiver-worthy moments of hotness; or a wet, ludicrous, unintentionally-funny pile of steaming bathos. ~ Total Film Need I go on? But Twilighters will not be dissuaded. No amount of criticism will convince them that creator Stephanie Meyer is anything other than a genius. The movie is pure romance they say. I know this because voicing my opinion on the subject on other blogs has garnered a far stronger response than I every anticipated. And the most ardent supporters seem to be the older women who seem determined to find deeper meaning in the story. If you haven't seen or heard of this phenomenon, just go to TwilightMOMS and you'll see precisely what I'm talking about (though this particular site isn't exactly "deep" when it comes to content). It's surreal. What really boggles my mind is how polarizing a movie can be. I mean, those who love, really love it, and those who don't like it, hate it. There seems to be a determination on both sides to convince the other that their opinion is the right one. I can't tell you how many posts I've seen on my Facebook page from women who are giddy to see the movie and don't understand why anyone else wouldn't feel the same way. I pretty much stay mum on the subject. No need to lose friends over "Twilight." If I had to guess, I'd say the battle lines are drawn by the older women who are really into the saga. They claim they love the "romance" of the story while scoffing at the criticisms that it dismisses abusive behavior in young men. Younger women don't seem as invested in defending "Twilight" and I think it's because the older women are feeling a little defensive about getting into a teen romance-- teens have no need to defend being their age. Anyway. It's certainly an interesting phenomenon to watch. Since I don't have a stake in the argument, I've been reading the comments across the blogosphere with interest-- both pro and con, and the passion behind the opinions has been startling. So, what say you? Do you think this war will die down with all the bad reviews? Or do you think this is a phenomenon that will continue to defy the critics?

8 comments:

ShadowFalcon said...

They'll certain keep making the films for each installment in the saga so I think at least a few more years to go. Whether it will stand the test of time, I'm inclined to think not...but we'll just have to wait and see.

Leslee said...

I thought the first book was ... okay. If I was about 12 and it was the first vampire book I ever read then I could probably, maybe see why you would go gaga over it. As a thirty-something woman, I find Edward's behavior abusive and a major league STALKER! The movie was meh. It was well done, for its intended audience. The whole TwilightMOMs thing is in MHO women who wish they were teenage girls again. I don't begrudge them that, but it is a tad strange. A friend of mine liked the books (thought they were okay) but I think she enjoys the connection of similar interests with her daughter. Maybe some of the TwilightMOMs are the same. I just hope that all this interest in vampires prods people into looking at all the other vampire books out there (and how much more well written they are than Twilight).

S.M.D. said...

Honestly, the same harsh criticism exists for most of the huge book franchises. Paolini's Inheritance Series, for example, has entire websites dedicated to tearing it apart. I've gone on record to indicate how utterly idiotic such people are; I mean, come on, you're going to devote a good portion of your life to complaining like a little baby about a book you don't like that others do? Seriously?

Twilight is just one of those things. It's not going away. Hell, they probably make $100 million in profit from opening weekend, since the movie can't have cost all that much to make. The book loving won't end. Some of the people who obsess over it are kind of sad, but the same kind of obsessed people exist for Harry Potter, Eragon, et al. It's just a part of the power of popular culture.

Hell, we should be grateful. It's stuff like Twilight that is keeping fantasy and science fiction rightfully planted in the mainstream.

Charles Gramlich said...

both the lovers and the haters are probably doing so on subjective reasons rather than any objective quality or lack thereof in the story/movies. I've been surprised to find how many middle-aged women and older are smitten with the Twilight story. That feels pretty weird to me.

drey said...

I am just going to be happier than heck when they finally release Breaking Dawn, and we can all forget that this hoopla ever existed. I mean, seriously--team Edward or team Jacob? How about team let's-find-something-worth-having-teams-over?

SQT said...

Shadow Falcon-- The reviews have been so bad that I think it's going to fizzle out before long.

Leslee-- My daughter is only 9 and not interested in "Twilight" and too young for that matter. So I don't the mother-daughter thing to fall back on. I have friends who do but I feel like the book is more for them. They're getting something out of it. I'm just not sure what.

S.M.D. -- I had no idea. I've never gotten into Paolini, but I sure as heck don't care about going after the guy. If anything, I admire success at such a young age. "New Moon" mad $140 million the first weekend. No matter what anyone thinks about them, that's impressive.

Charles-- that's what creeps me out a little. The kids who play the parts are very young. One of the boys is only 17. I could be his mother. Ick.

Drey--I had one of the moms on my facebook page put up a comment about "Team Edward." That kind of thew me.

Tracy Falbe said...

I haven't bothered with either the Twilight books or the movies. I don't begrudge anyone's enjoyment of them. I adore a good vampire story myself, but I heard that Twilight did not have any actual sex in it (Correct me if I've heard incorrectly), so that put it in the NO category for me. I can see how teenage girls might like it. The vampire can represent their undying desire for intimacy, but I'm a grown woman (feel free to insert word cougar here) and if I'm going to read a romance, I want some spice.

SQT said...

Tracy-- I'm with you. I like my romances to be adult. I'm not huge into excessive sex (like Laurell K. Hamilton is known for) but teen drama doesn't have any appeal. For the life of me I can't figure out why so many grown women are drawn to this.