Monday, November 02, 2009

Thoughts on Twilight...yes, that Twilight.

We're sick. Husband was gone for the night, the kids were asleep I had no Mad Men to watch and Twilight was free on my movie channel. I haven't read the book - up until this point I hadn't had any inappropriate feeling for Robert Pattinson - but I decided to watch it. As an experiment, you know. To see what the hub bub was about.

And I have to say I totally get the hub bub. Again, haven't read the book - but the movie is FRAUGHT - with everything. Tension. Teen angst. Sex. Kristen Stewert pants her way through the entire movie in a convincing manner. I mean she just pants. Through the whole movie. And Robert Pattinson is like dream casting. He's handsome and creepy looking - all at the same time. And now I'm having inappropriate feelings for him.

I like how everything is set up for future books/movies. It works. It's convincing. Love triangle - bad vampire on a rampage. I like the vampire family and of course the glittering in sunlight is a nice twist.

That said - it's pretty bad. I mean, really she pants through the whole thing. The dialogue is right out of a bad Presents novel - the whole thing is like a YA Presents novel, which makes sense. That's when most of us started reading those Presents novels.

Honestly, we need to do a better job of catering to teenage female fantasy while providing a depiction of equality and compassion in a romantic relationship. Can't we temper the total assholeness of some of these heroes with something other than obsessive jealousy? Is this something that's hardwired into us? That at fifteen, a guy is only sexy or exciting when he's first an utter jerk followed by sentiment like "you're my whole life now, Bella." And it's okay for him to watch her while she sleeps? No it's not. It's weird.

Have you guys experienced the phenomenon? Book? Movie? What did you think?


Stephanie Doyle said...

I've done both. Major hit comes out and I feel like I have to read it. I remember there were a bunch of blogs saying... if this many people like it there has to be a reason. Okay - good point. So I read it. I get the reason. Vampires and romance. Not new to us, but new to YA.

The's worse than a bad HQ Presents. Because an HQ Presents would have had an editor -and she would have pointed out some GLARING plot errors.

The movie is better. It moves the story along faster. And the dialogue... lifted directly from the book so you know what to expect there.

I get why girls love it. And in one respect I'm hopeful that this means romance will be very much alive for future generations to come.

And yes Molly - deep down we all have this wierd wiring for alpha/jerks. We can't help it. It's our inner cavewoman. The good news is we've relegated him to fantasy.

Maureen McGowan said...

I just watched 45 minutes or so of Twiligh again the other night. The good 45 minutes. The bits with lots of panting. And I agree so much with your assessment.

I do get why it was such a hit, but at the same time it sends so many negative messages to teen girls about "dream boyfriends". He's such a jerk. Flipflopping on her all the time.

Then again, that kind of reminds me of my pre-teen and teen real life romances... "I want you." "I could care less." "I want you." "I wouldn't deign to talk to you."

Yes, I had a great love life as a teen. NOT.

Oh, and an aside. I was watching Radio Canada last night (because my niece had to report on a Quebecois music awards show for her French homework) and there were ads for New Moon. In French, they called the book (and movie) Tentation. Which means temptation. And Twilight was called Fascination. Way better titles en français, non?.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I think it also feeds into the "teen" mind set of ... we're in love and we'll always be together... until next month.

The teen years were so intense with love. Falling in love, falling out of love. Each time you thought... this was it.

If you could go back to your teen self now and talk to him/her you would probably mock the crap out of them.

Maybe that's how the series ends. Bella turns into an account excutive at some "office". Meets a nice man at 30 something and settles down. Then in a time warp she goes back to visit 16 year old Bella and tells her... You weren't really serious about the vampire were you? That whole watching you sleep thing... just weird. Besides you drool while you sleep.

Sinead M said...

I found the book and the movie so boring... and wasn't into the drama even in the teen years, so it was completely lost on me. Even in a nostalgic way.
But Stephanie, you're right, watching someone while you sleep is not romantic, it's stalkerish and who wants to see me snore..

Stephanie Doyle said...

And since it still bothers me... can we talk about the gaping plot hole...

To become a vamp you get bitten and infected. Bad vamp at the end bites her, so to save her Boyfriend Vamp sucks her blood...
but he does this without giving her any more of the venom - just taking the other guy's out?

Wow that needed better clarification. And stuff like that kills me - because my editor always finds that and makes me fixes it.

Granted Stephanie Myers and her editor are probably laughing all the way to the bank. But I read that I and wondered why no one said - you've got to clarify the whole venom/blood transfer/bite thing. That's all. Just a few more sentences throughout the book that give the reader a better understanding.

Is that too much to ask of a mega bestselling hit?

Eileen said...

You're bringing up Twilight? Right in front of me? What's next? Eat Pray Love? You really want to watch me hiss and spit?

I'll take this one step farther. I think it's dangerous to market these books (okay, I only read the first one) to teenage girls as romances. Having been through an abusive relationship, I can tell you that Edward is an abuser. Let's start with the way he attempts to isolate her from friends and family. Then there's the constant put-downs and telling her that he doesn't know how she survived without him. Then there's the fact that he can touch her and stroke her, but if she expresses one shred of her sexual feelings he might lose control and kill her and IT WILL BE HER FAULT.

I was horrified when I read it and I honestly went into it expecting to like it.

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, Eileen! I love angry Eileen!

Almost enough to egg her on, except I think you are so, so right. So, so right.

Karen Whiddn said...

I get what you all said and agree. Everyone acts like I'm weird because I liked the werewolves.

I too was married to an abusive person (though not nearly as weird as Edward). I found him creepy and I made it all the way to book four. Books 2 and 3 were a struggle, let me tell you. Oy vey!

Book 4, I'm reading along, gritting my teeth. Gonna finish, gonna finish, then BAM - up against a major too stupid to live, come on Bella. Put the book down. Never finished, despite several people (many of them authors) that the author justifies this stupidity. Don't care. Too many other books to read.

Stephenie Meyers adult book The Host isn't bad. Not great either, but not bad. But not a romance.

Anonymous said...

Today seems to be the day I say "I don't like vampires" on blogs. LOL! I tried reading "Twilight," and while I totally could relate to the creepy northwest setting, having lived there a couple of times myself, and enjoyed the writing, I just can't get past the vampire thing. Didn't like "Dark Shadows" when I was a kid - still don't like vampires. When will it go away? :)

M. said...

here in a nanowrimo procrastination moment so haven't read other comments -

haven't seen the movie, read the first book with both writer and parent hats on.

writer me thought 'it takes her 500 pages to say it rains a lot in washington'

mommy me thought 'I cannot BELIEVE that he drags her along sidewalks by her clothing so quickly she's stumbling sideways and she interprets it as luurve!'

refused to have anything to do with the rest of the books, on both counts.

Maureen McGowan said...

Now, I really get the vampire thing. I've been kinda hot for vamps ever since Anne Rice and LOVE the J.R. Ward books and True Blood... But I think Eileen hit the nail on the head about the similarities between Edward and an abuser.

Before, I just thought of him as a little obsessive and fickle... playing head games with her. But everything Eileen says is true. He definitely tries to convince her she'd never survive without him, and everything sexual between them is her fault.

I still did enjoy the movie... didn't strongly dislike it anyway. I read the book after and skimmed the first half in about a half hour, but read the second half and was moderately amused.

Like Stephanie, I figured I can't call myself a writer of popular fiction and not read a book that's so, um, popular. ;-)

Karla said...

Guess you'll want to stake me, but I enjoyed them! The movie and the books.
(Though I don't think they should have been marketed as YA, regardless of the age of the characters.)

Eileen said...

Hysterically enough, my book group read it. Several of them have pre-teen girls who were Twilight-crazy and I wanted to read it since I was starting my paranormal series. It was one of the best book group meetings we've ever had. It was a pitched battle. Lines were drawn and the fight was as dirty as it has ever been (at least since the Eat Pray Love meeting and the Time Traveler's Wife meeting).

We keep trying to find another book that will get us that hot under the collar. It was so fun!

Apparently they like Angry Eileen, too. :-)

Eileen said...

Oh, two more things. Say what you will about Twilight, it certainly got a passionate reaction from me. I was definitely not indifferent and don't know anyone else that is.

And M, thank you! It would be nice to have you in my book group corner lobbing hors d'oeuvres at my opponents (you know who you are, Ellen!). :-)

Stephanie Doyle said...

See I guess I never thought about the creepy abuse aspect. I'm so used to reading Alphas (and loving them). The difference of course being I'm a grown woman who knows better. It's all fantasy for me.

A teenage girl might have a harder time putting Edward into context. Never thought of that.

Eileen said...

I see a difference between Alphas and *ssholes, and Edward crosses that line for me.

Alyssa Day, for instance, writes kick-ass Alphas, but they are not abusive.

You're definitely right to differentiate between what's intended for grown women and what's intended for teenage girls, though. Part of what bugged me about the Twilight thing is that it felt a little manipulative.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Wow - look at the heat! The passion! Eileen I had no idea!!! What's this about Eat Pray Love?

I"m Joking! (though you should probably get all that stuff off your chest!)

Iwas trying to think of anything that might be slightly equivalnt in terms of broad reach to that age group when I was that age - and there isn't anything. Dirty Dancing? But that wasn't YA specific. My mom loved Johnny Castle as much as I did.

I agree wtih Eileen - and I hope that in future books part of the love triangle boils down to Edward is an ass. Sparkly but a total ass.

And I agree with Stephanie - the plot hole...come on! Take a few minutes away from the long slow shots of them lying in the fetal position in the grass to explain the specifics about the venom.

And huzzah for Stephanie Meyer - didn't love that movie. Can't stop thinking about it.

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