Post-Ecliptic Apologetics.

Posted: July 1, 2010 in books
Tags: , ,

I just came from a block screening of Eclipse last night (complete with swag from the organizers, including a Candy magazine with Robert Pattinson on the cover—which I tried reading and got a headache after), and yes, I found the movie more enjoyable than the book. Well, that’s probably one thing about the Twilight series—the movies are so much better than the books.

That being said, I wonder why I’m writing about Twilight. I’ll probably get another round of “low-brow taste in books” jabs or endless gagging noises, but hey, whatever floats our boats, right? I don’t consider myself a Twihard, but I do understand the appeal. I think the books are poorly written, but I have all four books in mint condition, despite reading them multiple times. Consider it one big cognitive dissonance on my part. (Dammit, Stephenie Meyer, stop playing with my head.)

I got hooked on Twilight in late 2008, shortly before the first movie came out. I had a fair amount of intrigue over the movie because it starred Robert Pattinson (for the record, I had those Cedric Diggory: Hogwarts champion badge on my desktop when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released in 2005), so I decided to pick up the book. And like all bad fan fiction, it was like crack—and I was addicted.

There’s no need to come up with a detailed summary of each book, since practically everyone knows the stories. The bottom line is that the author, in her state of daydreaming as Bella, kids herself into believing that a god-like vampire and a hot (literally) wolf are fighting for her. Never mind if the books lambasted centuries’ worth of vampire and werewolf lore and turned all these monsters into pansies.

The formula for success is quite simple (and sneaky). Make the female lead lack characterization, so every girl (and every grown woman) could see themselves as her, and tap into that inner female need of having a hero to save her (regardless of whether he sparkles in the sunlight, or better yet, he’s half-naked every time he appears).

This is embarrassing to admit, but I fell in love with Edward Cullen the first time I read the books (never mind if he’s got stalker tendencies). When I re-read them with a clearer head (yes, I managed to re-read all the books), I found myself annoyed with Bella (I can’t grasp her motivations as a character), annoyed with the nonstop adoration for Edward and his musculature, annoyed with the general lack of plot and movement in the story. It feels like snooping in a teenage girl’s diary. (Do not get me started on the last book, Breaking Dawn—that was downright bad.)

Still, for all its faults, for a significant portion of the female population, it is a series they embraced, and if the box office figures are an indication, the franchise has been solidly growing, earning Stephenie Meyer billions in the process. (Fine, maybe I should start writing down all my fantasies and pass them off as fiction as well, and get all these lonely girls to live vicariously.) It has spawned one of the most loyal (bordering on crazy—then again, there are a lot of girls getting Twilight-related tattoos, so I’m second-guessing “bordering”) fan bases in both literary and movie worlds.

I’d grudgingly admit, I’m part of that. I’ll continue watching the movies, and half a good laugh over Edward’s constipation or Jacob’s pug-face. I guess when you read the books or watch the movies with a clearer head, the fantasy can only go so far. Ah, this is still myself combating with cognitive dissonance. (And crap, they decided to make Breaking Dawn into two movies? Excuse me, Stephenie Meyer, you are no J.K. Rowling. Does this mean the first movie will all just be violent vampire-human sex, culminating in a gory birthing scene and the second movie will just be a bunch of exotic vampires standing around?)

But heck, I wouldn’t mind having a Robert Pattinson look-alike (complete with the soft British accent) for a boyfriend.

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Comments
  1. pkg says:

    Wow, you have really thrashed the goods and bads of twilight series. I really enjoyed reading this review. For me, twilight was about unstated violence between Bella and Edward, the love of hunter and prey.
    http://iandbooks.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/teenage-romance-vampires-in-stephenie-meyers-twilight/

    • Mika says:

      I get the predator-prey relationship between Bella and Edward, but it doesn’t grip me. It just comes off to me as some ridiculous obsession on the part of Stephenie Meyer, translating her sexual frustrations into some YA novel. I think her problem is that she started with a good premise, but couldn’t really substantiate it, so her material just ends up being silly.

      But yeah, it’s so bad that it’s so good.

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