In my last post, I mentioned Twilight. Would you believe that a teen vampire romance could be so controversial? My thoughts? I’m so glad you asked.
One thing you should note is that most of the people who trash the Twilight saga have never read the books. I’m telling you right now that I have read all of them and seen all the movies, excepting the one yet to be released, the finale. And Imma tell you something right now. The movies SHAMED the books. On so many levels.
The choice of actors was DISMAL. Main character: Bella/ Kristan Stewart. Kristen is perpetually dissed and even has a meme of her because of her apparent complete lack of facial expressions.
Now, I’m not saying she’s a bad actress. She’d be great for specific parts. Like… a zombie. Or a dazed and estranged aunt. Or someone suffering from insomnia. Or a pothead. She did, however, make a great teenage sister in that movie with the board game and space. But she is NOT right for Bella. Bella was, if anything, OVER emotional, as any teenage heroine in a romance novel is. Edward obsessed over the fact that you could read her face like a BOOK (not emphasized in the movie. Wonder why).
Love interest: Edward/Robert Pattinson. The actor chosen for the love interest is actually MORE important than the main character, because the main character will spend an endless amount of time describing them, and the reader must see them the same way as the lovestruck fool (a bit redundant, I guess). Rob disappointed. I’m sorry bro, but you are not as handsome as Edward. I mean, according to the book, no human can be, but… you weren’t handsome in the right way. Many people, myself excluded, think Rob is to DIE for, which his rough, chiselled good looks. I think he could play a werewolf or something. But Edward was not a werewolf. He was a vampire. Vampires do NOT look like they need a shave. He was supposed to look chiselled, yes, but like a statue of a Greek god carved by a master. (Quote from the book, actually.)
He’s a teenage heartthrob, or he’s supposed to be, but he looked more like a 30 some heartthrop. Unlike our next contestant…
Secondary love interest: Jacob/Taylor Lautner. This guy is everything he’s supposed to be, save for one thing. He’s not actually Native. He doesn’t look to far off, but I’m sure anyone more familiar with them can spot him a mile off. Plus, there aren’t that many parts for Natives, so we should be giving them all the parts that call for them. Taylor’s only other problem was that he was TOO good. He was better than Rob, and I mean mostly by appearance. Taylor is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. I’m going to go out on a limb (much like a spider monkey) and say that more people would be Team Edward (which I am) if Taylor wasn’t soooo hunky. And he’s supposed to be! But when you put them together, Edward’s sheer handsomeness was supposed to blow his out of the water. And it didn’t. Taylor, if you’re reading this, try not to smirk too hard the next time you see Rob, ‘kay?
There were many other issues as well, for smaller characters, but it’s the major ones that fell short.
And, like any book turned movie, the choice of scenes was depressing, but this movie was probably the worst. I believe that, when charged to turn a book into a movie, the script should be the novel. Too long? Undoubtedly. Split the movie up. And they ARE doing that with Breaking Dawn, and they STILL left out important parts. Example:
Bella is pregnant, but Edward is freaking out over his belief that the baby is going to kill her. He just can’t convince her to change her mind and get rid of it. He approached Jacob with an offer. He offers to let him “supply” Bella with all the babies she could ever want, so long as he convinces her to get rid of this one. “She can have puppies for all I care!” <-Not a direct quote; I was too lazy to look up the exact one, but the word puppies is there.
Anyway, WHAT?! This is an INTENSE scene. Look at what is says about the relationship between Eddy and Jake, and how it does or could change. It shows perfectly the state of Edward’s mind and his protectiveness of Bella. It also leads to an emotionally charged, relationship altering conversation between Jacob and Bella. COME ON. This is a DRAMA. Do not leave out the drama. Later, there is also another scene where Edward allows Jacob to borrow his car, fully knowing that he’ll most likely smash it, and Jacob drives around, desperately looking for someone to imprint with, just so he’ll get over Bella. It gives more significance to a certain later event, as well.
All these things are absent from the movie. However, they KEPT the scene where Bella shaves her legs. I am displeased.
But yes, the book itself gets haters too. I’d like to point out that a VAST majority of the haters are NOT in the target audience. Think about this for a sec. This is a teenage romance vampire novel. No heavy sex scenes, very high school appropriate. This is CLEARLY for teenage girls, just like the main character. I am the target audience. Not the 10-25 year old guys who whine about how gay Twilight and Edward are. I mean, why are you even exposing yourself to something that you KNOW is not for people like you? Not saying that you can’t read outside your genre, but if you do stick to your age and gender standards of literature, don’t whine because an entirely different age and gender group has different tastes than you. Now, some of this is not their fault. My mom pointed out that the Twilight franchise was WAY over marketed, and I have to agree. I mean, you can get Edward Cullen panties. Think about that for a sec. Now stop thinking about it. Even I, a lonely teenage girl longing for a romantic vampire, find it a tad tedious. Now, these guys take out this annoyance by whining about how “this isn’t how vampires are supposed to be. They are supposed to be reanimated corpses, bloodsucking killing machines. These vampires sparkle and are therefore
Now hold on there. I am, believe it or not, a vampire EXPERT. I read this huge freakin’ encyclopedia about vampires which I referenced in my own vampire novel (yet unfinished). I can tell you about vampires in all different cultures in all different centuries. And they all have one thing in common. The vampire has ALWAYS been a sexual being. First, they were males who preyed solely on young women. They were accosted in their beds and from then on were considered “defiled”. They were the “bad boys” of the day, seducing virgin maidens. Some theorize this comes from the fact that, often, when exhuming the body of an accused vampire, they often had an erection. Today, science considers that a natural part of the decomposition process but at the time… well, the body was OBVIOUSLY raping all night long. Then, there became stories of vampires returning to loved ones, usually a fiance never consummated with, and laying with them to the point of sexual exhaustion, after which they promptly died. That’s about where female vampires came into existence (in English folklore, anyway.) Even the famous Dracula was basically the porn of the day, the Fifty Shades of its time. Ridiculously conservative at the time, but there was an undeniable sexually predatory aspect of the deadly count. Just ask Mina and Lucy.
(To my Church friend: yeah, I said some of those words. The Bible has worse, does it not? This is educational.)
And it was without prevention that the vampire should emerge as a romantic figure as the world grew less afraid of things that go bump in the night. What lady could tame the feral beast that was this mysterious creature of the night? Scores upon scores of vampire romances have existed, and are still being written, It’s a genre of its own. Vampires could be lovers, even heroes, if you look at post 1800s literature. There are vampires that drank only the life “essence” of their victims, or lived on artificial blood substitutes, or even tomato juice. Vampires drinking animal blood and falling in love with human girls has existed for a LONG time. Twilight isn’t breaking ground here. The only reason I think these haters take issue is because it’s the only novel of this type to receive such stunning and sudden popularity. They may never have heard of these non-Draculon vampires.
The undeniably biggest complaint however, is sparkling. Apparently, to a 17 year old male, this is unforgivable. And here, Twilight WAS breaking ground. In all the history of vampires, they have never sparkled. Do I think they should? No. No I do not. However, Stephanie Meyer did something different. An unforeseen explanation for the myths. You gotta giver her credit for THAT, and, in a way, it makes sense. If you paid attention, Twilight vampires have skin like rock and break apart like porcelain. Do some rocks not glisten in the sun?
If you think about it, the rock hard skin is way more screwed up than sparkly flesh. Jacob uses the phrase “kissing a stone.” Why do you think Bella was so bruised during her honeymoon? That’s… not hot. However, the weirdest thing to think about was something I didn’t think about until I read the “bonus” book, “The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner.” In it, Bree overhears two vampires having sex. She describes the sound like, “a cascade of rocks rubbing and bumping and clicking against each other.” <-Again, just the general idea of the quote, but still. I find that mildly hilarious. Stone flesh is a great idea for a monster, but for a lover? No.
But what of the actual writing? On of the most common criticisms is as follows:
“Still a better lovestory than Twilight.”
I mean, Google image that. I’m not attaching a picture; there are just so many memes. So, that’s operating under the assumption that Twilight is a bad love story. Is it?
Well, remember, most of these memes are created by guys who never read the book and think it’s not a romance if it can’t be summed up in a 20 minute video on Motherless. Don’t ask me how I know about a specific porn site. Anyway.
I already justified vampire romances in general, but what of this one specifically? (Spoilers, but, come on, you know this.) A 200 year old vampire falls in love with a high school girl who has a scent that is as dangerous as it is enticing. The get together, despite the fact that she will grow old despite his immortality, essentially dooming their love. Events conspire and he is forced to abandon her for what he believes is her own good, leaving her devastated. She expresses a desperate disregard for her own safety, and after a specific event, he attempts suicide under the impression that she had died. He is only stopped by her desperately travelling across the globe, where they encounter a group of powerful vampires who forbid their love, which they continue anyway. There is conflict, as well as the growing emergence of another love interest, very different, but wonderful in his own way, a choice safer and more desirable by her family and friends. Despite this, vampire and high schooler get married, have a beautiful child who is the perfect soul mate for the rejected but still loved secondary love interest, then must defend their way of life from a sect of powerful vampires, the same who had forbade their love.
Hmmm. It’s not exactly simple or juvenile, is it? I mean, it’s not fancy, high grade adult literature, but that wasn’t the intention. The love story shows clear parallels to what is considered “good” literature, ex. “Romeo and Juliet” and “New Moon”. Yet, it maintains a certain individuality that sets it apart.
I however, HATE the ending. I honestly do, with all my heart. So much, it may be the reason why I wrote my own vampire romance, so I can prove I can do it better. Throughout the whole book, the whole series, the running theme, the reason the whole thing was written, is that this vampire falls in love with this human and vice versa. Everything is built around that. If it were vampire and vampire, it wouldn’t even have been written or memorable, because in the Twilight world, vampires fall in love all the time. If Bella was a vampire, we may as well have followed Jasper and Alice. Edward loved Bella BECAUSE she was a human. Everything about her was so deliciously (pun totally intended) human. And then she was turned into a vampire. That just… makes me want to punch a wall. I mean, yeah, it was the only choice and everybody won, and it made for an entertaining plot and blah blah blah. I found a way around it. And Edward totally had a point in his arguments against it! I don’t wanna explain; ask him; read the book; decide for yourself.
Back to the legitimacy of the romance, I suppose some find fault with the characters, but I think the whole “dead pedophile” thing is just grasping at straws. Like, really? Bella is post-pubescent, therefore utterly boring to a legitimate pedophile, and Edward isn’t exactly a rotting corpse. His heart doesn’t beat, but then, they’d have complained it it did, because vampires are supposed to be dead and gay gay gay gayyyyyyy.
Edward is a proper gentleman who loves her with all his soul, but has an intriguing dark side. He’s just what you want and expect from a love interest of this genre. Bella is a conflicted teenager who has fallen head over heels for a love her parents won’t approve of. She’s someone every girl can empathize with, necessary for this genre. And the writing wasn’t bad, no matter what anyone tells you. Clear, with every description leaving you with a strong mental image.
Most importantly, many, many people love this series. The Twilight Saga has an active and dedicated fanbase. THAT, more than anything else, is a sign that the author did a good job. As my mom says when I express pity regarding all the hate that Stephanie Meyer received, “She’s crying all the way to the bank.”