Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Twilight Zone

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Eclipse comes out today. Some of you might have already watched it during the midnight showing. This pop culture phenomenon brings out tons of fans out of their houses into packed cinemas to watch the love triangle between a human, a vampire and a werewolf.

Before we delve deeper into this article, please know that I do not like Twilight and my disdain is not without base because I have read two books(or skimmed through it), and I watched the 1st movie. I will try to be objective of my criticisms on Twilight and keep my unjust opinions out of this article.

First, a quote:
"The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good," -Stephen King

Leave it up to the Horror Master to be direct to the point. He then adds that:
"People are attracted by the stories, by the pace and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it's very clear that she's writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books. It's very exciting and it's thrilling and it's not particularly threatening because they're not overtly sexual."

Stephen Kings says here that Twilight's appeal is not its artistic value but the story itself. The pacing is good, the story is understandable, there are no complicated metaphors and symbolisms, and no intricate plot twists. It is just direct-to-the-point and has no creativity. The writing, as some Twilight fans will attest, is terrible.

Firstly, because of the exaggeration of the vampire-human-werewolf love triangle. I know that this is a romance novel but it brings the genre to extraordinary heights when the story focuses on lengthy descriptions of Edward's features and Bella's insecurities and obsession. Novels, to be considered good, must have depth. Sadly, Twilight does not have depth. Twilight's story can actually be shortened into one book but its story is extended for three more books. It lacks the mythology of Lord of the Rings, the symbolisms and artistry of One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the magic(pun intended) of Harry Potter. The readers are just drawn by its simplicity.

Secondly, the main character is static. Based on the two books and the series' synopsis that I read, Bella does not grow beyond his insecure, confused and weak visage. She remains the same person from beginning to end. Edward, on the other hand, is made to look like, as The Oatmeal puts it:
"Imagine everything women want in a man, then exaggerate it by ten thousand - and you've got Edward Cullen."

And he is right. The effort that Meyer has put into making Edward the best man possible is astounding it borders on obsessive compulsion. I have no doubts when I say that the true selling point of Twilight is Edward's perfect personality. It is not the books artistry, not the story, not the catharsis, but Edward's personality. I know friends who obsess on Edward and wants to marry him and say how handsome and perfect he his even if they have not actually seen or met him. Who can blame them? Meyer may have spent all her writing prowess in describing the glittery Edward. Again, glittery.

In short, static character in which every girl can relate + a girl's perfect man = millions of copies sold and a movie deal.

The movie is not different either. Actually, it gets worse because of the same poor dialog repeated and will be repeated(I am sure) in the four movie adaptations, unremarkable acting from the leads and staleness of the plot. As renowned film critic Roger Ebert(he gives Twilight a two-thumbs down) puts it:

"For most of its languorous running time, it listens to conversations between Bella and Edward, Bella and Jacob, Edward and Jacob, and Edward and Bella and Jacob. This would play better if any of them were clever conversationalists but their ideas are limited to simplistic renderings of their desires."

Also, Twilight gives us a lot of new societal problems like depression (because of the non-existence of Edward's in the world), neglected academic and social life, heightened standards of females in selecting male counterparts, obsession and marital problems. These are serious problems. I even read something that Twilight-related psychiatrist visits became more common after the movie came out.

Just like what I said about K-pop in my last article, Twilight is also a fad that will find a hard time in finding a place beside the greats in fantasy literature like Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia. Just like SuJu will never have a place beside The Beatles and Michael Jackson. However, as everything with fads, the most important thing is that they make their fanbase happy and bring their creators lots of money. If the greats' job is to provide immortal art, the fads' job is to provide fleeting happiness.

PS. A funny comment about male Twihards by, once again, The Oatmeal(full article here):
"If you're male and you like Twilight, you're gay. I don't mean that in the derogatory sense, I mean it in the "you want to put your testicles against another man's testicles while gripping handfuls of chesthair kind of way."

Also, I really hate the name Renesmee.


  1. sa trailer na lang.
    crappiest script i have ever heard but cinematic and "gliterry" shots. to think na trailer na yun at dapat ilagay ang mga pamatay na scenes and lines. i'd rather watch pulp fiction all over again.

  2. oh yes. pulp fiction. what a classic.

  3. Twilight is a perfect reference for the repackaging of psychosexual perversion, sadomasochistic subculture and paraphilias into capital-driven teen fads. Indeed, there's danger to how the entire mania preys upon midadolescents whose brains are still undergoing dramatic developments in reasoning, decision-making capacity, emotional regulation and impulse control.

  4. i never liked this movie / book. i have never seen the movie and i'm not planning to see one. the only vampire movie i liked is "interview with the vampire".

    i also read that because of this paksyet sensation, BOC started to implement tax on imported books. that is bullcrap because books are non-taxable.

    read this article:

    nice post! \m/

  5. fab ko yung comment nung film critic! as in. kakaskim ko lang nung eclipse; and i mean, crap lang talaga! wala na bang ibang ginawa si bella kund i mag pantasya ka edward at magpaka-cool? sure, i do that too! pero para namang wala na siyang ibang trabaho sa buhay kundi yun, and the most fascinating thing is masaya naman siya sa ginagawa niya, or lack thereof.

    it's such a sad existence para sa isang tao that his/her happiness revolves around one thing. tapos eto pa ang hinihikayat ng twilight.. kawawa ang mga bata!! nkakahiya sa future generation; i could just imagine my kid asking if i had a crush on that "perfect guy" too, siyempre todo deny akong i ever had friends who liked him *winks, winks*..

  6. true. it's a literary crap. although I admit that I got hooked on the four books out of curiosity, pero e-copy lang. wala yung kagustuhan na magkaroon ng totoong libro. the last 2 books' plot were really disturbing. hindi nga ako makapaniwala na totoong libro talaga yung binabasa ko.

    nakakalungkot lang na nagiging popular na ang mga, as you put it, fad sa mundo.

  7. magbasa nalang kaya tayo ng makabuluhang mga libro para madami tayong matutunan...hehehe

  8. Ah,Twilight-bashing. One of life's simple pleasures.

  9. A guy (vampire?) like Edward Cullen would be lucky to have a girl like me. Hah! But then I'll never be attracted to a guy like that. I prefer me a Jacob *drool* sans the poor acting.
    But anyway, when it comes to selling, everything's about the money. As Robert Kiyosaki mentioned in his book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", he wasn't that good a writer, but he was good at selling stuff. Leave it to Meyer to bank on the insecurities of teenage girls these days.
    What's even more amusing is that I've heard of stories of girls breaking up with their current boyfriends because they're not like Edward. Say wut?

  10. I agree with everything stated here. I also hate the name Renesmee. A lot.