Okay. Don’t hate me. I know I’ve professed an unnatural hate for the ‘Twilight’ series. I’m still holding to the fact that ‘Twilight’ is one of the worst films to be released in the last ten years. I’m still not won over, but the newest film in the series is not awful. It’s not amazing either. Edward still has the intellectual and emotional range of a 17 year-old boy, Bella is still whiny with no personality and no gumption, and Jacob is still a cardboard cut-out with a six pack as his only unique characteristic. But, the filmmakers have discovered some new things, finally: humor, sexual tension, and dramatic intensity.
So, the story is lame. Bella loves Edward … blah blah blah … Bella also loves Jacob … blah blah blah … some evil vampire wants to kill Bella … pretty much the exact same story as the first two with some minor variations in situations. There’re some pretty huge problems in the plot. Victoria, our villain, is given very little screen time or dialogue which is funny, considering she’s the wheel that keeps the thin thin thin plot line in motion. (Spoiler) I am left with a dissatisfied feeling with her death. It came without any particular excitement because she’s ignored for most the film. Think of the great memorable movie villains: Darth Vader, The Joker, Alex DeLarge, Hal 9000, etc. These characters are memorable because of the dramatic levels and mischievousness they possess. They’re exciting, they’ve got conflict, they’ve got a spooky, mysterious quality about them. They always look like they’re keeping secrets. Victoria seems only motivated by revenge and yet her first bit of dialogue comes two-thirds of the way into the film. How two-dimensional can she get? She doesn’t want anything else? Maybe a hidden lust for Edward, or a want to understand what Bella and Edward have together (if anybody can understand it). A hero is only as good as his villain. That’s the biggest error in writing here.
And then there are the main characters. Bella is agonizingly boring. I find it difficult to think that these two boys are fighting so desperately for attention when she’s not interesting in any way. She never has anything humorous or impulsive to say and she is completely unable to think for herself. When Edward says, “Come with me,” she says, “Okay.” When Jacob says, “Come with me,” she says, “Okay.” Here’s the thing: She’s not even a two-dimensional character. At least a two-dimensional character has some trait we can associate them with: Evil, good, crazy, intelligent, whatever. No, Bella is a one dimensional character who doesn’t seem to have any hobbies, or goals, or interests, or aspirations, etc. Oh, except to marry Edward in order to allow him to pop her cherry.
Edward. Oh boy. Why would you set him up as a scientific genius who has lived for over a hundred years and not have him searching for a cure for cancer? He’s graduating for the umpteenth time. The only fulfillment he finds in life is going to high school year after year after year. He’s also, apparently, become a master at forging birth certificates, social security cards, citizenship records, and the likes if we’re to believe that he’d even be able to enroll in school.
I don’t even want to talk about Jacob. What a waste of a character.
Okay, here are the good things. For the first time this entire series, I actually believed that Bella and Edward were attracted to one another. They even get close to having sex. But, then again the books were written by a mormon (who lives not too far from Salt Lake City) and we can’t have any of that (not that the deed is necessary, but it’s great to see some human sexuality in play). Another thing: Humor! Imagine a movie with humor to keep the characters from being completely unbelievable. Bella has “the talk” with her dad, which is pretty fun. Bella also punches Jacob in the face, resulting in a broken hand. Also, the film includes two scenes that win me over: flashback sequences of two of the characters that actually show – dear God, I can’t believe it – Gothic, freakish vampires! At last! What I’ve been waiting for this whole time! Unfortunately, it lasts for about 5 minutes of screen time, or less.
In one theater in Salt Lake City alone, the midnight was played for a thousand or more people. Mostly girls. Here’s my thing – if you’re a preteen girl, I can understand your wanting to watch this. But, I’ve seen a lot of middle-aged women walking around SLC with Team Jacob T-Shirts. These people concern me. Movies are becoming more about what’s on the surface than anything else, and ‘Twilight’ is the frontrunner in this catastrophe. Perhaps the fourth film will go one step further than this one. Maybe by that time, a comparison will let people realize how truly awful the first film is.