“Twilight” was a bad movie. Everyone knows it. Even people who like the movie acknowledge that it’s a bad movie. In my experience, the defense of its merits fits into one of two categories. The first is that “Twilight,” like many a guilty pleasure before it, pours on the sap so thick that you can’t help but sit back and enjoy as your heart melts. The second is that Robert Pattinson is sexy.
It’s hard to refute the latter; the best I can do at the present moment is to say that Pattinson’s forehead is bigger than Kevin Nealon’s and that his acting is bad enough to rival 50 Cent’s Neanderthalic performance in “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.”
It’s the former part to which I take offense. Don’t get me wrong; I like contrived and poorly acted emotional pablum as much as the next guy. I loved “Air Bud,” and I can even appreciate the merits of something as farcically overblown as “The Notebook.” I will not deprive you of your Kleenex moments, but can we leave the vampires out of it?
The figure of the vampire in cinema is no stranger to permutation. The savage, bloodthirsty beasts in Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn” are definitely a far cry from Bela Lugosi’s classic rendition of Dracula. At the very least, however, they maintained a core set of values that defined the vampire by a set of recognizable characteristics. Vampires are seductive, passionate, bloodthirsty, vicious psychopaths. Contrary to Catherine Hardwicke’s vision of Edward Cullen in “Twilight,” they are not pusillanimous, whiny high school nudniks (The CW take note). That, Ms. Hardwicke, is a dealbreaker. Furthermore, you have to stop.
I would have let it slide had “Twilight” popped and fizzled, but of course it had to become a cultural (and I use the word “culture” loosely here) sensation as millions of teeny boppers flocked to the theaters because MTV told them to. And then, of course, came the tabloids. Are Kristen Stewart and Pattinson together in real life? It would be just like it was IN THE MOVIE! Personally, I couldn’t care less, and I find it nothing less than reprehensible to expose the vampire to this kind of soul-sucking, blockbuster-minded publicity.
And of course “New Moon” is forthcoming and “Eclipse” is in production; the trilogy was probably masterminded by the same team of market geniuses that brought us the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. I’m not naïve enough to consider any aspect of our culture free from the clutches of corporate exploitation, but at least pirates were passé to begin with. When it comes to vampires, it’s disheartening at the very least to think that even they are not safe from such violence.
The obvious question amidst all this is where “True Blood” fits in, and the answer is simple. “True Blood” is still cool, and you should watch it.