I’m putting aside all this discussion of constitutional issues and the Second Amendment today and getting to something really important: the new cinematic installment of the Twilight Saga – Eclipse.
And I’ll stop right here. I can’t, with a straight face, call it really important. With a straight face, all I can call it is really terrible.
The most fun part, in fact. was standing in line in the theater with two twenty-somethings who kept talking about how much they hoped that they would not run into anyone they knew, and which particular person they would least want to run into.
At the end of the movie, we all three walked away very very fast.
The problem, aside from idiotic dialogue, and visuals that, on individual shots, make the actors look incapacitated by angst or glum boredom, and group shots, as if they are on a fashion photo shoot, is that its makers disdain the basic material. Yes, the books are goofy; yes, the writer is a Mormon; yes, a big feature in the plot is the maintenance of chastity before marriage; and yes, Edward is just too “good” to be true—yes, these factors are all pretty dumb and very uncool (as is a lot of the Twilight crowd), but they are the givens; a big part of what made the books popular.
One can feel the director, David Slade, the script writer, Melissa Rosenberg, strain against these very uncool, unhip, givens; they seem embarrassed to be connected to a movie promoting them (just as we, hip New Yorkers, were embarrassed to see it.) (Although Slade and Rosenberg are, I’m sure, eager enough to make money from it.)
The exceptions here are perhaps Taylor Lautner who seems, sorry, clueless enough, not to mind the story, and still too thrilled by the fact that they kept him in to be disdainful of anything, and Billie Burke, who is just a good professional actor. Okay, okay—I’m not going to blame Pattinson (who is given truly awful lines, and very little leeway to smile charmingly) or Stewart either. It’s the Director and Screenwriter, who seem like the true teenagers here, mortified by their parent, i.e. their base storyline.
But a movie that doesn’t like itself is just not likeable. To make a stupid, uncool, story work, you have to just go with the stupid, uncool flow, not try for a stupid cool flow. (Otherwise, it just doesn’t make internal sense.)
Bringing this around to something that may be of more interest to followers of this blog: it really is important, in pursuing any kind of artistic endeavor, to make a kind of peace with it, to let go of that edge of embarrassment that sometimes clouds one’s work and commitment. If you find your work truly embarrassing (not because of modesty, but because of something deeper—because the work is it is too personal, too openly reflective of your goofy side, or the opposite, too blatantly commercial and not reflective of your goofy side), it will be very difficult for you to really push it to any kind of happy fruition.