Posted on July 7th, 2010 by annakjarzab
I went to see Eclipse this weekend. Because I’m a lady, and that’s what ladies do. Duh! Right? Wrong? Whatever. The point is, I paid $13 to see it in a theater instead of watching it illegally for free on my computer. And it was totally fine, just like the other movies. I felt like it was pretty close to the book, which is, I feel, one of the slight problems with the Twilight Saga movies. They’re so fixated on following the books closely that they don’t entirely fly on their own as creative endeavors. I feel like they’re a challenge, like they’re daring me to go ahead and compare it to the book and try to find fault. Which is annoying. Because first of all, I only read Eclipse once and I still maintain that if you can skip New Moon and Eclipse and still enjoy the basic arc of the Twilight story. So I don’t know that I think there’s anything remarkable or important about Eclipse as a book, and I certainly retained almost no details from it. And secondly, I just want to sit and eat some popcorn and enjoy a film, but also I want to be entertained by something new. It doesn’t all have to be new, it certainly shouldn’t be, but I’d appreciate it if some things were.
And the ways in which the movies do deviate are sort of absurd? Like how Chris Weitz put that scene where Edward gets thrown against the marble floor in the Volturi’s lair and his face cracks a little and at the time I was like, that’s not a thing, but then I was watching New Moon with director’s commentary and Weitz was like, “Yeah, that’s not a thing, but we thought it was cool,” and I thought, “Yes, that is cool, but CAN OF WORMS!” Which is basically why, in Eclipse, it’s like all the vampires have been submerged in liquid nitrogen? And you can just break their hands off? So what’s so hard about killing them, anyway, if you’re also a vampire? I mean, I get that a human wouldn’t have the strength to, say, smash a vampire’s head in, but if you’re also a vampire then you’re all set? You can totally do that? Weird. Wasn’t there a whole song and dance in Twilight about how hard vampires are to kill and it takes the whole Cullen clan to kill James and they have to decapitate and burn him immediately or else he regenerates something something something…I feel like we’re starting to lose our grip on logic, here. All because Weitz thought putting a crack in Edward’s face because he’s described as feeling like he’s made of marble was cool. Which it was! But now we have this:
INSERT GIF OF RILEY LOOKING AT HIS BROKEN-OFF HAND AND SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER HERE. I can’t find one. If you do, email me. For now, you get this:
Okay so ANYWAY. Also, remember how becoming a vampire makes you, like, INSANELY HOT? Then explain to me why Victoria and Riley’s army of vampires looks like an army of homeless people. I get that they are, indeed, homeless people who have been turned into vampires (right?), but they’re supposed to get hot. Why are they all so fugly? Even Bree Tanner, whose name I wouldn’t even know if Stephenie Meyer hadn’t released that book about her a few months ago, was sort of whatever. She’s a little girl. Not exactly someone who would lure me in so that she could feast on me. And she has lines! Hm.
After being a little outraged at the Victoria recast (only on principle), I’ve decided that I think Bryce Dallas Howard, however much I disliked her in Spiderman 3, works well. She’s…sexier, than Rachelle Lefevre? Or sexy in a different way? I just feel like, Rachelle Lefevre’s version of Victoria would not NEED Riley or his band of pirate hooker vampires…she’s pretty good at kicking ass and taking names herself. This new Victoria is weaker, and needier, and thus makes more sense for the story. Character inconsistency? Yes. But I don’t entirely believe that Edward could kill the Lefevre Victoria. She’s just too good at her job.
Is it too obvious to object to the random insertion of the Volturi in this movie? They’re not in the book. I’d say it’s pretty absurd for them to come all the way to freakin’ Forks, WA only to skulk on rooftops and generally not accomplish anything at all until the last scene when they rip a girl’s head off for no good reason, except that’s exactly what they do in Breaking Dawn except in that case you need to substitute “rip a girl’s head off” with “burn a girl at the stake” (spoiler) and replace “for no good reason” with “for being the worst.” But they still come into town and skulk around and use their freaky powers just for fun. I like the idea that the Volturi are just insane after all these years and do ridiculous melodramatic nonsense because the mood catches them. I just think it only works so many times, y’know?
But I get it, they had to include Dakota Fanning in the script because contracts or whatever.
Okay, actually, I just read the Wikipedia description of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and now apparently the Volturi DO show up? Of course, the convo they have with Victoria in Bree doesn’t actually happen in the movie. They just…decide to let her try to wipe out the Cullens? Because: entertainment? Or am I totally misremembering Eclipse? Absolutely possible.
And what was UP with Jasper’s hair and accent? I can’t even choose which one I was offended by the most. If vampires don’t ever change, does their hair really grow? I mean, I get the continuity from the Civil War to now, but what about those intervening two movies when he didn’t have lady hair? Am I wrong? I’m not wrong. Also, Jackson Rathbone, that accent–woof! Though, to be fair, I found this moment pretty damn cute:
You see, I love the Cullens, and I wish we had more moments of them being cute in their cutey-cute couples. You don’t even get any sense of Rosalie and Emmett as a couple in the movies! It’s very annoying to me.
Whatevs, it was a movie. It was okay. I liked going with my friends to see it, that’s the best part for me. You know, when my roommate and her friend and I were standing in line while our other friends went to Duane Reade to buy toilet paper (multitaskers), we were cracking up because there were a bunch of dudes there with their girlfriends, and it wasn’t like, oh, waah, I have to go see this dumb vampire movie because my girlfriend’s making me, it’s like, “COME ON BABY, WE GOTTA GET GOOD SEATS!” They were totally into it. And the girlfriends are looking at us like, “WTF, we didn’t even invite them.”
Wasn’t this a good review? Totally worth reading? If you made it to the end, I salute you.
Posted on March 12th, 2010 by annakjarzab
Have you seen the new Eclipse teaser trailer? Is it just me, or was it sort of…boring? As my good friend M Dubbs said, “It looks just like Twilight.” It really does. Unless you were familiar with the series, you really wouldn’t be able to tell that it was an entirely different movie with (ostensibly) an entirely different plot. Come on Summit! Somebody’s asleep on the job. It didn’t even make me that excited to see Eclipse, although OF COURSE I WILL because I am not a HEARTLESS TROLL. J/k. I don’t really believe that if you aren’t seeing Eclipse you are heartless troll. You are missing out, though, on the wonder that is R Pattz.
Speaking of R Pattz, still totally excited to see Remember Me this weekend, even though my friend Doug TOTALLY RUINED THE ENDING FOR ME. I didn’t even know there was a twist to spoil, but apparently there was. Even though I’m usually such a spoiler monster when it comes to these things, I’m not going to do you the indignity of forcing you to endure the spoiling that I have endured. The funniest thing was that Doug’s G-chat status a few days ago was an jokey alternate title for the movie, and I furiously wrote to him, “DID YOU JUST SPOIL REMEMBER ME FOR ME?” He was like, “Um…how is it that you even figured that out?” Because I am an R Pattz fiend, my friend. Fiend! (No I’m not. I just like him and his character in Remember Me reminds me of Neily.)
I didn’t really intend this to be an R Pattz-centric post, but speaking of Remember Me: my roommate urgently G-chatted me yesterday saying, “I’m going out of town tonight–PLEASE DON’T SEE REMEMBER ME WITHOUT ME THIS WEEKEND!” We are grown, by the way. We probably need lives. The thing is, I actually DO have a life. I’ve just made room for R Pattz in it. Wait, is that a line from something? Oh, yes, Sex and the City. It’s an illness.
Posted on August 11th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab
I was waiting for this: a Jezebel post on Breaking Dawn. I’m a little bit surprised that the Jezebelles were so unkind to the book, considering that resident Jezebel YA expert Lizzie Skurnick is a fan, but in retrospect I should’ve known this was coming. I mean, Stephenie Meyer has been getting slammed for being anti-feminist from the very beginning of Twilight, so much so that she’s actually responded to these accusations on her website:
I am all about girl power—look at Alice and Jane if you doubt that. I am not anti-female, I am anti-human [Ed: bolding Meyer’s]. I wrote this story from the perspective of a female human because that came most naturally, as you might imagine. But if the narrator had been a male human, it would not have changed the events. When a human being is totally surrounded by creatures with supernatural strength, speed, senses, and various other uncanny powers, he or she is not going to be able to hold his or her own. Sorry. That’s just the way it is. We can’t all be slayers. Bella does pretty well I think, all things considered. She saves Edward, after all.
Okay, so there’s that. And Meyer does have a point–I mean, all of the female vampires are very powerful, with Alice, the smallest and easiest to underestimate, probably being the most powerful of the Cullen coven. In New Moon and Eclipse, the greatest threat to Bella’s safety is from a female vampire–Victoria. Even some of Meyer’s Twilight mythology reflects the way the world is changing for women–while werewolf packs were traditionally all-male, in Eclipse we get the transformation of Leah, a female Quileute, into a werewolf. Even magic is conforming to a new societal ideology. So there’s no lack of powerful, kick-ass females in this series–Bella, the heroine, just happens not to be one, and that’s because she’s at a vast disadvantage by virtue of being so normal and human. There’s nothing strictly anti-feminist about that; in fact, it makes the whole series more relatable.
Also, Bella holds her own. She’s not a quivering coward of a girl–she’s steadfast, loyal, shrewd, discerning, and a master at overcoming fear in pursuit of that which she wants most. The moment we meet Bella, we learn that she’s done a very brave thing: she has agreed to go live with her father, Charlie, in Forks, a man she barely knows in a dark, rainy place she, a desert girl raised, couldn’t possibly feel comfortable in, because she wants her mother, who has recently married a professional baseball player who travels a lot, to be free and happy in her marriage. Maybe that’s grotesquely self-sacrificing, but it’s also incredibly sweet, and it soon becomes clear that Bella is a girl older than her age who has spent her entire adolescence taking care of her flighty mother. When Bella, despite her relative normalcy, starts getting a lot of attention from the boys at her new school, she is made uncomfortable by it because she understands how patently superficial it all is. She would rather just have some good, trustworthy friends who can make her stay in Forks bearable, but instead she gets a bunch of dopey, slavering aspiring boyfriends and a grip of backstabbing mean girls who only deign to hang out with her because the boys like her. Bella is diplomatic but acutely aware of the social pitfalls of this situation and does her best to avoid them.
As someone who feels like an outsider, it makes sense that she would be drawn towards another outsider, the shadowy, mysterious Edward Cullen (yes, he is beautiful, but Bella, after he treats her in an infamously and inexplicably rude manner, while puzzled, is fine with being disliked by him; she just wishes he’d stop glaring at her and then saving her ass all the time, because consistency is all the girl’s looking for in this brand new strange world). Edward is weird, duh, because he’s a vampire, and so he does act like a creepy stalker at first, but this is where the premise is really important–he is just as surprised by his behavior as she is, that he is both drawn to her and repulsed by her, and the fact that his mind-reading power doesn’t work on her puts them on equal footing because he has no intellectual advantage over her. Also, he recognizes right quick another thing that’s special about Bella–she attracts trouble. This is not because she is a ditz who blithely walks into potentially dangerous scenarios, although she is startling cavalier with her own safety, it just never occurs to her that anyone would want to hurt her. She thinks of herself as scenery in a world full of actors, not because she’s a mopey self-hater but just because that’s how she sees herself. Edward, because he has the ability to, tends to intervene in these situations–he stops a car from running her over, he rescues her from a pack of guys that are trying to assault her, etc. Yes, he is overprotective, but that’s because, especially as time goes on, he sees that he is making her world less and less safe simply by being in it.
Edward is not possessive. Actually, it’s the opposite–he knows that he’s bringing danger into her life and struggles daily between sticking around to prevent it from hurting her or leaving her to prevent it from coming at all, but she clings to him, willing to brave the risks and the fear in order to love him. That’s either incredibly romantic or incredibly stupid, probs both, but either way it’s Edward who tries to push her away in New Moon. To Bella’s credit, she does not rend her clothes and gnash her teeth and sob her guts out when he tells her that he’s leaving–she just accepts it, and then the lights go out for three months while she grieves and adjusts. Please don’t anybody ever tell me that when they were broken up with by someone they really loved the same thing did not happen because I will not believe you. And then Bella tries to move on with her life, albeit painfully and slowly. THIS IS NOT ANTI-FEMINIST. Bella alternately puts herself back together and falls apart because she’s a young girl with a sense of commitment and love more mature than her years and experience. This may not appeal to some people’s particularly sensibilities, but it’s not hatefully misogynistic.
Even when Edward comes back, he keeps encouraging her to consider her options–human (or half-human, anyway) Jacob who she can grow old with and have babies with, or eternal, potentially soulless death with a vampire who cannot give her children (WE THINK SPOILER!!1!). Or, you know, neither, although once Jacob comes on the scene full-force that doesn’t seem to be considered, which IS potentially anti-feminist, I’ll give you that. If Natalie Babbitt was writing this book, we know what the answer would be (hint: immortality is not a good idea and while cool for a couple of decades gets old, FAST, with or without a soul mate). Bella makes her own choice, and I know there are angry fans out there who think that Jacob’s imprinting on Renesmee in Breaking Dawn invalidates Bella’s choosing Edward in Eclipse, that’s silly, it just doesn’t. It was hard, she really considered what it would do to the three of them, she made her choice, she gets points for that. If Jacob had just fell in love with, like, Leah or something, would that invalidate Bella’s choice, too? Of course not. Was Stephenie Meyer supposed to make Jacob miserable and spurned in love forever for Bella’s choice to have power? No! And Edward is still trying to get Bella to change her mind about him and choose to remain mortal while she is pregnant in the hopes that she’ll save her own life, despite how much it would hurt to lose her. That’s not possessive, that’s passionate. That’s love. Idealized love, perhaps, but love all the same.
I guess what this comes down to is that I don’t think a woman is anti-feminist just because she knows what she wants and what she wants happens to be a life with a man she loves. On a related note, her decision to keep Renesmee (or, whatever, the baby who ends up being Renesmee) is just that: HER CHOICE. HERS. Bella says she never even thought about being a mother, but the truth is that she’s been mothering her own mother for as long as she can remember, and when she moves in with her father she mothers him; nurturing comes naturally to her, and it makes sense that those instincts would kick in once she was carrying a baby of her own. And Bella’s choice to become a vampire is not something she does on the fly–she considers it, decides to do it, and then waits three books to really sort it out in her mind before she commits to it, in the face of monumental opposition from the one person who would benefit from her becoming a vampire the most–Edward.
*I swear to God, at some point I will stop talking about Twilight and start talking about my own books again. But that can be summed up in one run-on non-sentence: revisions revisions revisions revisions wrote a single sentence in MB this weekend revisions revisions look I’m halfway done!