Spoiler alert: If you are a Twilight fan, this may spoil your day.
A curious urge to watch crap television comes over me when I’m sick. At least, I’m claiming illness as the cause and hoping nothing more deep and troubling led me to watch Dancing on Ice, several episodes of Are You Being Served, followed by the second Twilight movie, New Moon.
I’d seen the first Twilight film, so I knew what I was letting myself in for: a high-school melodrama, distinguishable from other high-school melodramas for it’s lack of humour, and a few vampires. But I preferred the second film, primarily because Edward, the dyspeptic vampire love interest was ‘off-stage’ for most of the movie. In his blessedly few appearances, he looked less like a star-crossed lover than an emergency patient in urgent need of Imodium.
It was difficult to empathise with the heroine’s self-indulgent sulking over the loss of her vapid, humourless ham. Bella Swan, who bears the sloppiest, clichéd name ever to smear the pages of fiction, is completely devoid of wit or charm. Actress Kristen Stewart saves her from being utterly loathsome on screen, but it’s not enough to make her interesting. Is this really a character 21st Century women relate to?
Jacob the werewolf has a bit of sparkle. He’s a sort of back-up love interest for Bella, who seemingly can’t cope without a regular dose of male-monster attention. He’s far more appealing, but Bella falls into the classic trap of mistaking brooding introversion with depth of feeling and character. A fatal error. Edward is a 100 year old adolescent who will never get any more interesting. Imagine how she’ll feel about him after 100 years of marriage. Yes, they get married, I’ve looked it up.
Vampires and werewolves are a minor, but welcome diversion from broody teenagers in love, and the film makers have used every trick in the book to make them appear interesting. The vampires look stunning and ooze class, like something from a St Etienne film clip, but it’s essentially a smoke-and-mirrors ploy to disguise a fairly ordinary romance between a couple of dull teenagers, obsessed with their own importance.
My mortal life is too precious to be spent reading these books, so I can’t speak with authority about their literary worth. I’m also cynical about the current fashion among authors to drag stories out into a series for monetary gain. I’m confident the Twilight ‘saga’ could have been condensed, with good writing, into one novel. The argument that there is a market for multiple books holds no weight with me. There would be a market for public hangings if we allowed them.