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Twilight - the movie series: a commentary (SPOILERS!!!)

Discussion in 'Other Movies' started by Neil W, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    I must confess - I have seen the Twiglet movies, all of 'em. I could lie and say that I did it so that you don't have to, but the truth is that I have a movie pass, so I saw them because they were on and it didn't cost anything.

    So I'm going to post the reviews that I wrote after I saw each one. I can state, with confidence, that the reviews are more entertaining than the movies.

    Let me also tell you, in this first post, that I am going to spoiler like the dickens and not use spoiler tags. So if you don't want the Twiglet movies spoilered, then READ NO FURTHER.

    I have not read the books and do not intend to do so.
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  2. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    Every now and then a movie comes along which demands that I should spoiler it to death. Twiglet is one such movie.

    Bella Swan lives in Arizona with Mom and stepdad, at least until Mom decides to go on the road with stepdad, at which point Bella is packed off to Forks, a hick town in the middle of a cloud-shrouded pine forest, where dad Charlie is chief of police. I know from TV and the movies that American high school kids are universally unpleasant to each other. Not so in Forks: everybody at her new school is incredibly nice, friendly and welcoming towards her but, despite this, Bella remains resolutely grumpy and sullen - in fact throughout the film the only person she is cheerful towards is the mother who went off and deserted her at the start.

    I say everyone is friendly and welcoming: of course, that doesn't include Edward Sullen, sorry, Cullen - Bella is seated next to him in class, at which point he gets up and leaves the room and doesn't come back for a week. After endless we like each other, we don't like each other, you should stay away from me, I can't stay away from you, Bella finally figures out Edward's big secret, which is that he's a vampire (how she figures this out when he's not even slightly like any conventional vampire is one of the film's big mysteries). Edward has an even bigger secret, though, which is that Bella gives off the aroma of a particularly appetising meal for vampires, which is something of a problem if you want to be her boyfriend and not simply chow down on her.

    Anyway, Edward and Bella embark on a relationship of sorts which cheers up the previously taciturn, intense and sombre Edward no end, although it has no discernible effect on Bella, who remains as po-faced as ever. This ever-awkward relationship reaches crisis point when Edward's vampire family (who hunt animal blood not human blood - they're good vampires, y'see) invite her to a vampire baseball game (held during a thunderstorm for reasons which the vampires think are obvious, though I failed to see them at all) which is crashed by three visiting vampires who have been bumping off assorted locals, and who have been attracted by the aroma of (yum yum) Bella.

    Edward's family springs into action by instantly driving Bella from Washington to Phoenix, as you do, to no avail because the sniffy hunty member of the visiting clan tracks her down no problem at all. However, that proves to be his downfall when Edward's family dismember him and burn the pieces in what would almost certainly have been the most entertaining part of the movie if only it hadn't happened entirely off-camera.

    Everybody adjourns back to Forks, Edward takes Bella to the prom, and the surviving female vampire from the we-want-to-scoff-Bella group occupies the last shot of the movie so that a sequel is lined up.

    Edward is immortal - why on earth does he want to spend eternity with this miserable girl? Edward, incidentally, has the finest pair of eyebrows since Mr Spock, an ace aerodynamic design which are the absolute bee's knees for peering out moodily, broodily, and intently from beneath.

    This film is enough to give adolescent Gothic teenage romantic drama a bad name. It's badly written and the characters are badly drawn. Even the realistic elements are unrealistic. The effects are fairly minimal and OK (but no better). Just about the only bit where I feel justified in being positive is in Robert Pattinson's performance - not my cup of tea, but effective in its own way. Kristen Stewart quite possibly performed Bella as written and directed but, if so, that is her misfortune, because the character was appallingly misconceived from the start.

    A horrible film and not recommended.
    TrueGeneration likes this.
  3. Tim D.

    Tim D. Well-Known Member

    Trust me, I don't think their is anything you can do to spoil them any further.
    Spideyman, FlakeNoir and danie like this.
  4. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    Twiglet 2

    The Twiglet Saga: New Moon

    I freely admit that, despite my having a more than passing acquaintance with vampire and werewolf movies over the years, the fact that I am a 57 year old straight male means that I am probably not part of the target audience for the Twiglet Saga. Not to worry, the cinema was full of female pubescent teenies. And me.

    I also freely admit that, not only have I not read the books, I have no plans to do so. I did, however, see the first movie. Accordingly, I shan't be addressing "this didn't happen in the book" or "they left this bit out" - I shall simply be commenting on the movie.

    As I recall from the first one, 107-year-old Edward is a member of a family of "good" (ie. they don't feed on humans) vampires. Seated next to new girl and terminal miseryguts Bella at high school, he is so taken with her sullen demeanour that he absconds and treats her very rudely, just to show her how much he instantly loves her. After initially misinterpreting his rudeness as rudeness, she comes to realise that the irritation she thought she felt is also actually love, and thus begins one of the great classic (and highly improbable) romances of our time, Part 2, New Moon (a title which has no significance whatsoever) starts with Edward being beset by guilt. Bella wants him to turn her into a vampire but Edward, not wanting to destroy her immortal soul, dumps her. He goes off to mope around the world while she takes up with the local werewolf. As you do. Meanwhile Edward, under the mistaken impression that Bella has died, seeks permission from the Vampire High Command to end his existence. Bella arrives in time to save his life, the two of them are reconciled, and episode two finishes with a decision to vampirise Bella after she graduates.

    What can I tell you about this load of old tosh? Well, let me start by saying that the only action undertaken by any of the main characters which I found convincing was Edward's decision to selflessly try to set Bella on a life away from vampires. Otherwise, none of these people behaves even slightly credibly at any time.

    There are three or four action sequences which, though short, are decently done. The special effects aren't bad.

    Apart from the action sequences, the film is deadly dull - it's really difficult to stay awake. The material covered could have been told more succinctly (and more interestingly) in 45 minutes less. It's boring.

    Dakota Fanning has a small part. I didn't recognise her. And she wasn't very good.

    Graham Greene has a small part. He looks embarrassed throughout, as well he might.

    Michael Sheen was (as usual) rather good.

    And, as in the first one, the character Bella is so woefully glum that you wonder why Edward wants anything at all to do with her, let alone be with her for eternity. But I had one of those realisations which strikes you like a thunderbolt. Bella is the audience. Because this stuff is wish fulfilment romantic fantasy for impressionable teen girls, Bella is written for maximum audience identification as a teen who gets the hot guy despite being full to overflowing with angst. This was pointed up at the end of the movie, when I had one of the oddest experiences I have ever had in a cinema.

    The extensive teenie girl audience obviously knew what the final line was going to be ("Will you marry me?", in case you were wondering) and, as it approached, something weird happened to the air in the auditorium - it got hot and electric. Then Edward delivered the final line and the entire audience (except me) leaped in the air, whooped, hollered, and burst into spontaneous applause.

    To me, this was more horrifying than any vampire or werewolf activity in the movie!
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  5. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    I always have room for a graceful double meaning!
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  6. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    Twiglet 3

    The Twiglet Saga: Eclipse

    I went into the third Twiglet movie on the assumption that it was half a fingernail - you know, ripping off half a fingernail isn't much fun but, having got to that point, you might as well rip the other half off. You know from bitter experience you aren't going to enjoy it, but at least it finishes things off. The first movie told how sulky Bella got together with stylish vampire Edward, and the second one told how werewolf Jacob became a second contender for the underwhelming affections of this depressing teenager. So in I went, all ready to start tearing the second half of the fingernail off.

    D'you know, I quite enjoyed it. It has a lot of action and a strong sense of developing threat and dread, and several flashback sequences showing how members of the Cullen family became vampires in the first place. All this stuff was well done and very entertaining, and comprised a large part of the movie (compare this with the first two movies which were downright dull). The only time the movie flagged was when it spent time with drippy Bella and her besotted rival paramours.

    What else did I get from Eclipse? Apparently native American werewolves are several times bigger than the humans who turn into them. And apparently vampires are made of wood (at least that's what it looks like when bits get knocked off them. Plus they burn really well). And it turns out that the Volturi (aka Vampire High Command) are needlessly sadistic and unpleasant (plus, from Twiglet 2, they are stupid enough to have their headquarters in a town which holds an annual anti-vampire festival), so my money is on a showdown between the Volturi and the Cullen clan in the final chapter, especially as Bella's nemesis Victoria is now cinders.

    I no longer blame Kristen Stewart for Bella - it is hardly her fault that she is lumbered with performing one of the worst conceived and written characters in the history of Gothic romance.

    So my verdict is: unexpectedly enjoyable.
    Spideyman likes this.
  7. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    Twiglet 4

    The Twiglet Saga: Breaking Wind 1

    I do so want to be fair to the Twiglet films and not condemn them out of hand just because of what they are, but they do make it so easy to be dismissive of them. To put it another way, a film which is not that good gives you plenty of things to make fun of when you are assembling a review, and Breaking Down part 1 is just such a film.

    Sulky teenager Bella has finally got her man (or, rather, vampire), dishy (if moody and, on the basis of this film, incredibly stupid) 100-odd year old pasty-faced Edward. The entire first half of this film comprises wedding, honeymoon, and Bella's immediate (and problematic) pregnancy. If you have seen the trailer, then you needn't bother turning up for the first 45 minutes, because you don't find anything out during that period that you didn't learn from the trailer. This part of the film is terminally soppy - I mean, deeply, deeply drippy. So much so that it might even be off-putting to the drippy Twiglet teens who dote on this stuff (I don't mean to be rude, girls, but come on - this really is the soppiest drivel ever committed to celluloid).

    The problem is that Bella and Edward have not only gone for no sex before marriage, they've also gone for no vampirising before marriage either so, when Bella falls pregnant with a half-vampire baby, she is still human. This means that the super-strong foetus proceeds to kick 7 bells out of her from inside, which wipes the smile off her face - oh, wait, Bella never has a smile on her face, does she? (actually, there are times during the wedding-y bits where she does - Kristen Stewart was so unrecognisable that I thought they had cast another actress for a moment).

    The entire second half of the film is given over to Bella's pregnancy which looks increasingly likely to end with her death, the werewolf pack which seems to have its nose out of joint over something or other which completely escaped me, and Bella's werewolf friend and would-be second-string boyfriend Jacob keeping the two factions at bay and being angry at hubbie Edward for causing all this . Blahdie blahdie blah, it all arrives at an ending which is ripe for the start of what (oh please let it be so) should be the final part.

    The first film was grim - desperately bad. The second film was terminally tedious. The third one I found myself enjoying, to my surprise. This one - it is laughable. For instance, on seeing that Bella is very noticeably pregnant (and looking a bit manky), lovelorn werewolf Jacob launches himself angrily at husband Edward with the words, "You did this to her!" I burst out laughing. Yes, mate - her husband got her pregnant: it is the sort of thing which sometimes happens on honeymoon, do you werewolves know nothing? Some of the Twiglets in the audience didn't find it as funny as I did, mind you.

    The werewolves did angry telepathing among themselves while they were in doggy form, which was comical (I don't think it was meant to be). In human form, they started talking about imprinting. This is the first time the term has raised its head in the Twiglet movies. Previously I had understood it to mean that Canada Geese thought that a motorised hang-glider was their mother, but I didn't have a clue what it meant in this film. My only thought was that it would probably turn out to have some plot relevance, and so it does. Indeed, it turns out to be something of such importance that the fact that it was introduced just before the plot needs it, struck me as extraordinarily bad writing - we should have known about it a couple of films ago.

    I could go on, but there seems little point. This, in my view, was a poor effort in a generally poor series, possibly - probably - because the source material is also poor.
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  8. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    Twiglet 5

    The Twiglet Saga: Breaking Wind 2

    In view of the fact that the last Twiglet book has been split into two films, my review of the last Twiglet film is also going to be split in two. I was minded to do this after coming out of the cinema yesterday, and seeing all the little Twigleteers enduring the 4 movie retrospective marathon leading up to the midnight showing of Twiglet: Breaking Wind part 2. The first part of my review therefore chronicles my expectations before actually seeing it: I will add part 2 once I have seen it. I am hoping it will answer the many questions which are churning round, unanswered from the previous movie.

    Will Edward Sullen's eyebrows revert to normal or will they remain Spocklike to the very end?

    Will Kirsten Sulk smile at any point?

    Will Taylor Lautner become less wooden than a storefront wooden Indian?

    Will Renesmee grow to adulthood quickly enough to make her own decisions and decide to change that ridiculous name?

    Will any sense of reason ever appear behind the Vampire High Command's arbitrary set of rules?

    Will Michael Sheen continue to be the only watchable actor in this woeful series, due to his glee at camping it up?

    Will Dakota Fanning rescue the part of her reputation she lost by being so poor in the last one?

    Will the "vampires" become proper vampires or remain glittery daylight bloodsuckers?

    Will there ever be any substance at all to any of this, or will it remain drippy trivial wish fulfilment fantasy for impressionable teenage girls to the bitter end?

    Will Stephenie Meyer continue laughing all the way to the bank?

    Will these questions be answered in the second part of my review of: Twiglet: Breaking Wind part 2!!!

    Part 2:

    Being bitten and vampirised at the point of death brings sulky Bella some red contact lenses, eyeshadow and false eyelashes, and the ability to jump off waterfalls. It also brings half human/half vampire creepy CGI-face offspring Renesmee to the attention of the vampire high command, who plan to use her to exterminate the Cullens. While the boss vampires (and who put them in charge anyway?) hurry along to this showdown (on foot, it appears, from Italy to Canada), the Cullens recruit allies from around the world. A showdown ensues.

    Keen readers of my reviews of the Twiglet movies (such readers being almost as numerous, no doubt, as the Twigleteers themselves) will probably have come to the conclusion that my opinion of these films is fairly low. To put it bluntly, I think they are boring, soppy, meretricious rubbish. So it is with considerable surprise that I find myself saying that Breaking Wind part 2 is really good.

    The main reason for this is that it isn't really a Twiglet movie, it's actually a superhero movie with a terrific superhero battle at the end. The tiresome soppiness between the two main characters is more or less over, apart from a couple of tedious but mercifully brief montages: this film concentrates on Bella coming to terms with the powers which come with vampirism (vampire boot camp, if you will), plot development, and action. And the "have your cake and eat it" ending actually works well.

    There are flaws, the worst of which is the tendency for important plot points to arrive just before they are needed. In the same way that Jacob's imprinting with Renesmee in the previous film, the fact that each vampire has a different power really should have been introduced several films ago: the fact that you learn it just before those powers are needed for the final battle reeks of making it up as you go along, and is evidence of poor writing (whether in the original material or the adaptation, I cannot say). And the best line in the film, concerning Jacob's pet name for Renesmee, should have been played for laughs, but is played deadly serious.

    Michael Sheen is, again, by far the most entertaining performer.

    If they were to put the key plot events of the previous 4 movies into an opening "story so far" crawl, Star Wars-style, you could dump the other 4 movies and this would be a fine stand-alone experience.
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  9. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    For the purpose of clarification, Twiglets are Marmite-flavoured crunchy cocktail snacks in the UK.
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  10. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    If you've got this far, I thank you for your indulgence.

    I have one thing to add, as a matter of general interest. A few years ago, I had a couple of plays which I had written staged. They were directed by the late Michael Sheard (probably best know for playing Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back and Hitler in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade). Because they had never been performed, some re-writing was possible, and there were a couple of times when Michael said, "Oh, you have to do something about that - that's a plonk." "What's a plonk?" I asked him. He explained that it is where you drop in something - a prop, a comment, a character, a bit of exposition - but you do it so ham-handedly that they audience says, "Ah, that is clearly going to be of major importance later on." Sometimes you actually want that effect, but usually you want it to arise almost as a surprise (but it's not fair if the audience don't know about it beforehand), in which you should try to introduce it subtly some time before it is needed, rather than simply plonk it down and then use it.

    The Twiglet films are very clumsily plonked.
  11. FlakeNoir

    FlakeNoir Original Kiwi© SKMB® Moderator

    Thanks for this... now I need never (ever) go near a "Twiglet" (lol) fable first-hand. You've done me a solid, my man! :biggrin2:
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  12. Sundrop

    Sundrop Sunny the Great & Wonderful

    Thank you, Neil. I very much enjoyed your review, and am grateful that you saved me the trouble of having to see this series for myself. I was worried a couple of times, that we were losing you to the sparkly side, and I'm happy to know that is not the case.

    It may have just been me.....but I found myself reading your reviews with the soap opera voice of the Carol Burnett show......:biggrin2:
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  13. Out of Order

    Out of Order Need More Time

  14. Spideyman

    Spideyman Uber Member

    Woo Hoo-- hours/ days/ weeks of reading and viewing these movies has been spared. Thankee kindly!
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  15. Sundrop

    Sundrop Sunny the Great & Wonderful

    Yes, twilight is a wonderful time of day.....nice for enjoying a beer or two by the firepit with friends, etc.....

    but if you're talking about the series, I'm disowning you
  16. Out of Order

    Out of Order Need More Time

    Team Edward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  17. TrueGeneration

    TrueGeneration Well-Known Member

    Haha, this was very awesome! =D (And very accurate!) Thanks so much these recaps!

    One word of advise (to anyone): DON'T. If I could go back to time and spare my 14 year old self from reading the first book, I would. o_O
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  18. Sundrop

    Sundrop Sunny the Great & Wonderful

    That's it.....you're dead to me. And come sundown, don't you dare show up at my place, all sparkly and expecting free beer and hot dogs.
  19. Out of Order

    Out of Order Need More Time

    What drama!!!

    Sundrop likes this.
  20. Sundrop

    Sundrop Sunny the Great & Wonderful

    Did y'all hear something?......must have been the wind
    Out of Order likes this.

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