Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Ghoul Versus The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Part 1)

Previously on The Twilight Saga: New Moon...

Edward worried that if he kept seeing his beloved Bella it would lead to her death, so he ditched her. Being totally codependent upon a man to even function, Bella went into a coma for three months before remembering there are other men she could totally be using to boost her self esteem so she targeted Jacob Black and started leading him on HARDCORE.

However it turns out Jacob is a werewolf in one of the CLUMSIEST allegories for homosexuality ever tackled in the history of fiction, as... actually nothing. What WAS the point of introducing the werewolves? It's not like it added ANYTHING to the Bella/Jacob dynamic at this point, as Edward was out of the picture. Huh.  Oh, anyway Bella was full on looney tunes at this point and started hallucinating visions of Edward whenever she risked her life... it just struck me how INCREDIBLY stupid these movies are when you break them down like this.

Alright, alright. Due to a misunderstanding ripped out of a 1970s sitcom Edward thinks Bella is dead and is going to kill himself by pissing off the unofficial lords of the vampires. Bella intervenes, the vampires agreeing to spare the Cullens if Bella becomes a vampire. Edward only agrees to make Bella a vampire if she'll marry him.

P.S. Victoria, the vampire from the first movie who vowed revenge on the Cullens, showed up briefly to score some free food from the craft services table. They totally forgot about the whole revenge this, let's hope this time around they follow up on that.  Lord, was New Moon a hot mess. Things seem to be looking up a bit with Eclipse however, as they finally scored a hyper-competent director in the form of David Slade who was responsible for one of my favourite movies of all time, Hard Candy.

The problem is we're still going off the books for the storyline, and Eclipse has one of the worst stories of the entire series. Will Slade be able to salvage anything from what looks to be an epic trainwreck? Get real comfy, this could be a long one as it's time for A Ghoul Versus The Twilight Saga: Eclipse!

We open with a young man running for his life from some shadowy figures. He doesn't get very far however, getting bit on the hand by one of them and slowly turning into a vampire as he screams in pain. What is with that anyway? I don't think we've seen a single vampire actually bite someone on the NECK in any of these movies, it's always the arm or somewhere thereabouts.  We cut back to the forest where Bella narrates us into the story like she has for the last three movies as we find her and Edward sitting in a meadow. This scene is actually interesting as Edward wants to make out but Bella is more interested in getting her homework done.

So wait, Bella suddenly cares about something OTHER than Edward? This is literally the FIRST TIME in the entire series she's actually shown an interest in something that wasn't her much-loved vampire boytoy. I almost don't even know how to react to this, other than the fact that WHY DOES SHE CARE ABOUT SCHOOL? In a few months she's set to become a vampire, nothing at all will matter at that point so this just comes off as a last ditch effort to make Bella feel like a human.

Edward asks her to marry him again, but she won't unless he changes her. She's totally okay with becoming a monster who lives off human blood for all of eternity, but marriage? OH HELL NO! That's much too much of a step to take. She gives up a bunch of weak ass reasons why she doesn't want to, but they all boil down to “I'm too young to get married!”. But not too young to give up your soul and be trapped as an 18 year old her entire life, apparently.  Bella returns home, where Charlie says she should go see Jacob as the teen wolf has taken a page out of Bella's playbook and gone depressed after she “left” him. She gets in her truck but it won't start, Edward suddenly appearing.

Its revealed he sabotaged her truck so she couldn't go see Jacob and WOW that's a new low even for him! The first movie he broke into Bella's bedroom and watched her sleep for two months, the last film he tried to kill himself over her, now he's totally controlling her life. What an AWESOME boyfriend! Edward won't let Bella go because he's worried for her safety, as “the wolves have no control.”. But vampires, vampires TOTALLY have- oh wait, Jasper in the last movie nearly killing Bella. Never mind.

To the film's credit, it tries to set up a plot early on though. The killing we saw in the beginning is part of a larger vampire invasion in Seattle, Edward worried that if it gets any bigger the Volturi are going to have to step in. The Cullens have vowed to get involved to prevent this, as no one wants the vampire lords back in the picture. Edward drops Bella off at the police station for her dinner with Charlie, and wait a second here.  It looks REALLY bright out, shouldn't Edward be lit up like the Fourth of July right now? Eh, maybe it's just cloudy enough to not qualify as sunlight. I'm sure they won't make a mistake like that again, not in this notoriously detail orientated franchise.

Bella and Edward go to visit Bella's mother for one last time before Bella vamps out. In JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA. How in the world is Edward not constantly full sparkle at this point? Did they seriously forget he could do that? Back in Forks the Cullens investigate the forest, Alice having a vision of Victoria in the area. They chase her as we discover Victoria has changed actors. Rachelle Lefevre, who originally played Victoria, was replaced by “The Queen Of Replacements” Bryce Dallas Howard for this one. It really doesn't matter as Victoria is such a nothing character, but it's interesting how Bryce has become THE go to woman in Hollywood for recasting.

-She replaced Kirsten Dunst as Ivy Walker in The Village.
-She replaced Nicole Kidman as Grace Mulligan in Manderlay.
-She (possibly) replaced Lindsay Lohan as Fisher Willow in The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond.
-She replaced Claire Danes as Kate Connor in the Terminator saga.

Victoria gets away and I really wonder what the point of that was. Oh, to pad out the movie? I see. Edward and Bella return to Forks and I really wonder what the point of going to Jacksonville was. They arrive back at school, where Jacob is waiting to tell Bella all about Victoria and show up Edward.  See, Alice had a vision Victoria was returning to Forks so Edward cooked up the Jacksonville trip to get Bella out of town while his family hopefully killed the evil redhead. So STORYWISE the Jacksonville trip was justified, but did they have to linger on it so much? NO ONE cares about Bella and her mother- have they even given her a NAME in this series? I don't remember one- yammering on about vacations they took when they were younger.

Naturally Bella gets mad at Edward for lying to her and being overprotective, while Jacob just sits back and is all “Hells yeah! I'm gone break them up and swoop in for the rebound!”. Sure would be a shame if this was the entire movie, Jacob trying to win Bella over. That wouldn't get old as all hell, especially considering that was pretty much ALL WE SAW THE LAST DAMN MOVIE!  Jacob leaves, Bella trying to go after him but Edward stops her. She says he has to learn to trust her, and he gives her the classic “Oh I trust you, but I don't trust HIM!” line which is just fancy speak for “I totally don't trust YOU”. Just like in my last review, I totally get Team Jacob at this point. Edward is getting as dangerously manipulative and selfish as Bella right now.

Jacob takes Bella for a bike ride, um wait, weren't they just at school? Remember earlier when Bella was all about her homework and ignored Edward- aww, fuck it. This movie is starting to teeter off the proverbial rails already. They go to the reservation to hang out with the Shirtless. Oh, but apparently I can't call them that anymore because they have a new member.  Meet Leah Clearwater. Now I've noticed there's only two kinds of non-Bella female types in these movies: ones that TOTES love Bella and adore everything she does, or ones that TOTES hate her and are complete hostile bitches towards her. Guess which one Leah is going to be?

And, because this is Twilight and not just some cheap knock off like I've reviewed in the past we get a SECOND love triangle between Sam, his fiancee Emily, and Leah. Oh, but we haven't even BEGUN to hit Twilight's lowest moments yet as Jacob reveals why Sam left Leah for Emily. You ready? Cos this is like Twilight's DEFINING moment right here. IMPRINTING.

Imprinting on someone is like... like when you see her, everything changes. All of a sudden it's not gravity holding you to the planet, it's her. Nothing else matters. You would do anything, be anything for her.”

Bella asks if Jacob's imprinted on her, but he replies she'd know if he had. She wisely changes the subject because this is getting awkward, but then stupidly starts talking about she'll become a vampire in a month. Jacob throws a fit, saying he wishes she were dead rather than become a bloodsucker. Bella's all “Fuck you too Jacob!” and storms out, forgetting all about this asshole and spending the rest of her life with the other asshole Edward.

I wish. He quickly apologizes, as he realizes that might have crossed a line. We then cut to Bella's bedroom, where the bitten man from the very beginning is going through her things. This is something that's always bothered me, why didn't Alice see this? How exactly do her visions work? It's not like she has to focus on a person, they just come to her unwarranted. Shouldn't she have gotten a vision of a vampire just waltzing right into Bella's house? Also, at this point Bella's house should be under 24/7 protection from the vampires AND the wolves, but no... guess everyone was too busy with their own drama. Although it is just Bella, I can totally understand if they had something more important to do.

The second Bella comes up, Stalker Edward is at her house to berate her for talking to Jacob but he immediately senses the new vampire had paid a visit. They head to the Cullens to discuss this, Carlisle ordering that 24/7 protection of Bella's house they should have had DAYS AGO. Rosalie bitches about this and GODDAMN do I love her.  Bella agrees though, saying the Cullens have enough on their plate so she enlists the wolves. This leads to another Edward/Jacob testosterone pissing contest, Bella already as sick of these scenes as I am and declares herself “Switzerland” from now on. So what, she's now a federal parliamentary republic with a temperate climate and a population of 8 million people?

This leads to an uneasy alliance between the Cullens and the wolves, as they work in shifts guarding Bella. Edward does get in a great line one day as he goes to drop Bella off with Jacob, who is apparently right in the middle of filming an American Apparel ad. Edward, in one of his few positive moments in the entire franchise, quips “Doesn't he own a shirt?”.  This is so funny even BELLA cracks a smile. Edward is sure to make out with her in a super exaggerated fashion which would also be funny if I didn't remember he's over a century old and should be above this high school bullshit. Jacob takes Bella to a tribal meeting so she can learn some of the history of his tribe and I already want to break out the pillow and blanket with anticipation.

The story is about the first meeting of the Quileutes and the vampires, how a vampire killed some of their own and they killed him in retaliation. This incurred the wrath of his mate, who started slaughtered her way through the village. She was battling the village chief, about to kill him when his wife... killed herself so her blood would distract the vampire? This bloodletting was enough to draw the vampire's attention, the chief finishing her off.

Why... why couldn't she just have CUT HER ARM OPEN or something to accomplish the exact same thing? And why would the vampire be distracted by that when there's like half a dozen fresh bodies all around her?  Hmm, I just realized that story actually had some parallels to what's going on in the movie right now! Gosh, I sure hope Bella doesn't get it into her head she's going to have to sacrifice herself to stop Victoria because that'd be fucking STUPID! Nah, I'm sure Twilight wouldn't resort to that. After all, this franchise is the last bastion of intelligent storytelling.

In an attempt to maintain the plot the film goes back to Seattle, where we see Riley (the new vampire) is making his own army of newborns. He talks with one of them, a young girl named Bree Tanner who is played by the incredibly talented Jodelle Ferland, best known for playing Sharon and Alessa from the film Silent Hill. This also contains one of the most bizarre WTF scenes in the series, as two of the newborns fight over a human. One punches the other in the head and SHATTERS IT LIKE GLASS, complete with a stock glass breaking sound effect.

Uhh... they have established that vampire's skin is hard like marble but it's not LITERALLY stone. I really get the impression they didn't fill David Slade in on the Twilight universe all that much, or it's possible he also didn't care to find out. I can't say I'd blame him if that were the case, a paycheck is a paycheck right?  The Cullens watch a news broadcast about the murders in Seattle, Carlisle declaring it's time they did something about it. They discuss the army of newborns, Edward positing the theory that the Volturi are letting this go on so the Cullens will get killed since they're rivals or something.

That night Edward and Bella lie in bed, fully clothed of course, talking about her becoming a vampire some more and yes that's EVERY bit as boring as you imagine it is. Fast forwarding... Bella and Jacob are out walking and he confesses that he loves her. The music swells like this is some kind of big revelation when WE ALREADY KNEW THIS. This is the equivalent of him telling her that he's a werewolf, when she's already seen him transform multiple times. Bella replies she doesn't feel that way out him, and WHOA do things go south from here.

“You feel something else for me. You just won't admit it, so I'm not giving up. I'm going to fight for you until your heart stops beating.”

RAPEY PSYCHO MUCH?! That line is how 98% of all restraining orders end up getting filed! But Jacob brings out his A-game as he FORCIBLY kisses Bella against her will. So there's that, Jacob is now a complete scumbag and date rapist! Has there EVER been a movie where every lead is just absolutely and irredeemably this contemptible? I actually don't think so.

Bella shoves Jacob off her and he just smiles. She punches him in a TERRIBLE special effect as she breaks her hand on his face, Jacob driving her back home. Edward is there in a flash, BEYOND enraged and threatening to kill Jacob for touching Bella against her will. Bella, naturally, STICKS UP for Jacob even as he tells Edward “she's not sure what she wants”. HOLY FUCK! Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me?! “She's not sure what she wants”. That was just uttered, and it can never be unuttered.

Edward takes Bella to see his father, but her hand is just sprained and not broken. She ends up talking to Rosalie, finally confronting her over the vampire's TOTALLY JUSTIFIED hatred of her. This launches into a flashback of Rosalie's human life, where we learn she was happily engaged to the town's most eligible bachelor. However he was also a complete scumbag like Jacob as well as a drunk, one night he and four of his friends beat her, gang raped her, and left her for dead on the street.

Fuck you Twilight, just... fuck you so hard. This is honestly Stephenie Meyer's idea of entertainment for young adults? I literally can't imagine being one of the millions of pre-teens who read these books and were heavily into them, what in the hell is their world perspective like at this point? I truly don't want to know, the answer would like be too horrifying for even me to handle.  Thankfully the movie doesn't show any of this part, but it still implies it with words so FUCK THIS MOVIE. Rosalie says Carlisle found her and “saved” her, though we never learn why. Who is he to sentence someone to that life instead of just letting them die? Ha hah, like Twilight is anywhere actualized enough to deal with issues like this.

Rosalie says she got revenge on all of the one by one, leaving her fiance for last. We get a brief scene of his holed up in his apartment with guards everywhere as she comes bursting through the door clad in her wedding gown and WHY THE BLOODY HELL COULDN'T HER REVENGE HAVE BEEN THE ENTIRE MOVIE? Vampire Bride slaughtering her way through the complete monsters who violated her, I'd be camping out for that one!  Any of these Rosalie scenes are just the best, they expose EVERYTHING that's stupid about this horrible franchise. Rosalie talks about how she's frozen as a vampire and will never have the possibilities that a human does: sitting on the front with a gray-haired Emmett while surrounded by the laughter of their grandchildren. Bella tries to justify her decision with this:

I understand that's what you want. But there's nothing I'm ever gonna want more than Edward.”. This comes after Rosalie just got done saying when she was Bella's age all that she wanted in life was to be the perfect little housewife in the perfect little house with the perfect little husband. But Rosalie's nearly a century older than the 18 year old Bella, with decades upon decades to reflect upon her life. WHAT THE FUCK DOES SHE KNOW? It's amazing how much this one scene completely exposes Bella for the immature and self-absorbed child that Bella is.

And we're supposed to be on Bella's side during all of this! That's what kills me the most, Bella is presented to us as the noble heroine that we all want to see succeed in her goals. People like Rosalie and Leah, who called out Bella for playing with Jacob's heart, are portrayed as bitches and obstacles in Bella's way. Twilight really is a fascinating, albeit terrifying, journey into the mind of Stephenie Meyer that I can't wait to be free of forever.