The Crotchety Old Man Has Spoken: Getting Through Twilight and Breaking Dawn (updated from 2012)
I just saw TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN (PART 1) and I didn’t like it, but instead of ranting on about how bad it was, I’m going to change the pattern. I’m going to admit the reason I didn’t like it, is because I couldn’t like it, because, it wasn’t made for me. I promise, this won’t be entirely negative.
I’m a 40 year old husband and father of two. I’ve been married almost half my life (at this point). I’m a pop culture, genre geek; I’ve seen movies, television shows, read more books, comic books, short stories, and listened to audiobooks more than the average person. On top of that, I’m a genre writer, meaning, I’ve read more about where fictional characters come from than the average fan.
I’m pretty much everything that wasn’t considered when TWILIGHT was written and adapted.
As a husband who was faced with the question of marriage, pregnancy, and the decision of choosing my wife over the life of a fetus, I would always choose my wife. I can always have another baby, biological or not.
As a father, the idea of my daughter having such little esteem and strength to give up her identity for an ordinary boy, let alone a monster of myth and legend, terrifies me. I devote my life to teaching her every day to avoid those emotional trappings that predators and abusers of women rely on. In the case of my wife, as a husband, it is also my duty to make certain her responsibilities as a mother do not consume her. She was her own person before she chose to become a wife and mother, she still is that person, and I respect that, not letting it be forgotten.
As a genre fan, I can’t forgo generations of creative history, and what doesn’t make sense, even in the world of fandom. You can tell me vampires are heroic, but you can’t make me believe they glitter in the sun, are dead, but produce semen to impregnate a human.
Finally, as a writer, I try very hard to make my work(s) believable. I know that a good story is a believable story, one a reader can connect with. One way of doing that is closing plot holes, things that break the flow of story; the reader disconnects, separates themselves, and goes “Huh?” A fictional writer deals with extraordinary circumstances, but the reactions to those circumstances are still rational, for the hero, if no one else. That’s what separates the hero from the others, while they panic and submit, the hero or heroine thinks their way through, makes (obvious) choices, the same you or I would likely make, and we want to see what happens.
A comedy writer does the opposite. The obvious, rationale way out of a problem eludes them, things multiply, and the farce begins until things get so out of hand, there’s no way to stop, but to do the rational thing that could have stopped troubles before they started.
So, it’s hard for me to read or watch TWILIGHT, handling conflict as a comedy, but insisting it’s an action/adventure/drama. And, as I sit, watching, wondering if I’m mistaken, my wife and daughter erupt into laughter during the most dramatic part of the movie, as Bella is allowed to make another insane choice.
TWILIGHT was not made for me, but who was it made for? I mean, do writers really have to try that hard to write smart stories anymore? Has the gimmick become the story? James Cameron’s AVATAR was a technological wonder, but a mediocre story seen a hundred times. Still, people walked away from theaters with tears in their eyes because “it was so real, and did you see those colors?”
I can understand the fandom of HARRY POTTER, because most have read the books, and excuse the dumbed-down movies. I had a bone to pick with the franchise for a while, mostly because I’m a BOOKS OF MAGIC loyalist, and speculated Harry to be a Tim Hunter clone. After listening to the audiobooks, that went away, and I became a fan because the stories and characters are that damn good. The characters are believable, the situations are intelligently orchestrated, and the plot holes are covered.
But, what if the love for HARRY POTTER just comes down to having magic in it? What if TWILIGHT fans just care that it has vampires, werewolves, hybrid babies? What if STAR WARS wouldn’t be around all this time, if not for laser swords? The older I get, the more I see, the fewer genre stories have any weight to them; about nothing but a beautiful woman squeezed to a vinyl bodysuit, given trench coat, two guns, and line like, “I am a death dealer.”
TWILIGHT fans, in answer to dislike of the series, will respond that it’s not for those people, it wasn’t written with them in mind, and that’s why they don’t get it. I will begrudge them that. As one of “them,” I am not a romantic teen girl or a woman who dreams of a prince who sees her beauty despite social convention. But, I’m also not a hobbit. I’m not a young wizard who goes to an exclusive school of magic, I wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider, and I’m not Kryptonian. Yet, I can relate to those characters, believe their stories, and be moved to tears of concern for them, regardless of my age, gender, how real it looks, how beautiful the colors are, how gorgeous the cast is, in 3D, or not.
But, I do like the wolves.