Saturday, November 21, 2009


This week saw the release of Twilight New Moon to the delight of millions of teenage girls around the world. The film is sweeping all before it and is predicted to make a gajillion dollars over the next couple of weeks. The Twilight empire is a commercial juggernaut of a size to make Harry Potter quiver in his Quidditch boots.

I have studiously ignored the Twilight films so far, but as I was doing my ironing one evening this week (yes, you read that right, ironing) I found myself watching the first one. It is truly astonishing, but not in a good way. If you are one of the three individuals unaware of the story enjoy this parody with bunnies.

Now, I am well aware that these films are not aimed at me, but I was amazed at how technically dreadful the first one is. On every level, the film is a catastrophe...

1) Directing/photography:
The direction is shabby and lazy, the pacing is completely botched, the action sequences (when they finally arrive) are badly arranged and executed. Watching the awful CG/stunt/wired up vampires bounce around trees trying to appear dangerous is simply laughable. The dull grey lighting motif that permeates the whole film is clearly meant to be stylish, but just makes everything appear like a grotty day in Preston.

2) Writing:
Even taking into account the target audience, the writing is woeful. The most publicised zinger is Robert Pattinson's comment to Kristen Stewart where he says that she is his "own personal heroin". However, the dialogue is uniformly idiotic and puerile and the plot holes could swallow entire towns.

3) Acting: Every single 'teenage' actor seems to be trying far far too hard. Pattinson in particular relies on one expression to show every single emotion from miserable to happy to lustful to enraged. The interplay between the two main characters is supposed to be charged with repressed sexual tension. However, it manifests itself in stupid staring and lying next to each other in grass.

4) Mythology: Vampires are undead. The fascination with the vampire legend is the combination of beauty and corruption. When exposed to sunlight, they should burst into flame. They should not appear to be glittering like diamonds. DIAMONDS!! for goodness sake...

My biggest problem with this film is that it treats its audience like idiots. It assumes that because Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books are so popular, they can put handsome clothes horses in front of the camera to churn out this drivel and the masses will lap it up. Sadly, they were right...

Just because a movie is aimed at teens or kids, it doesn't mean that it has to be a film for idiots. Pixar have taught us that. Just because you have budget constraints it doesn't mean you can ignore the basics of making a good film. Anyway, if you want a vampire film that shows a vaguely sweet yet very unsettling relationship between a human and a vampire watch the utterly bewitching and genuinely creepy Let the Right One In.

Have some movie reviews
Silent Hill **
Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince ***
Madagascar 2 *
Resdient Evil Apocalypse ***
Enchanted **
Evan Almighty ***
Lake Placid **
The Hurt Locker ****
Prince Caspian ***
District 9 ****
Let the Right One In *****
Twilight *
The Escapist ****
The Kingdom ***
In Bruges ****
Outlander **


Valerie said...

Yay, great to see your movie reviews again. I am RIGHT there with you on "Let the Right One In." (I don't think you could pay me to watch Twilight, actually.)

I love those bunny spoofs. You've seen the one for The Shining, right?

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

Thanks Valerie, I'm glad they're back too!!

Because of its sheer awfulness, Twilight is somewhat hypnotic. The shining spoof is genius.

Fat Roland said...

Kevin Smith would beg to disagree with you about Twilight... for typically Kevin Smith reasons.


Targaff said...

And I would beg to disagree with your assertion in point 4, which is categorically and demonstrably wrong in the real mythology of vampires and commonly held only in the modern, Westernised variation (the bit about bursting into flame in sunlight, I mean, or indeed doing anything. Sparklies do remain something of a nonsense, mind).

That said, I haven't seen the film outside of the trailers I was exposed to, and I can't say I'm tempted to make a pilgrimage out to the relatively local Forks, which by all reports is overladen with terrible tourist tat.