BREAKING DOWN the Twilight Primer for Abusive Boyfriends

Since Tax Day isn’t for another 5 months, I needed a new way to waste my money with nothing to show for it.  So I went to see Breaking Dawn with the Voluntary Life Partner of the People’s Revolutionary Critic.

(Spoilers to follow, stop now if your enjoyment of the film requires that you know nothing of the plot)

Bella (aka “The Great White Void”) and Edward (“The Other Great White Void”) are getting married.  Edward graciously gives Bella permission to dance with hunky, slow-learner Jacob, who is afflicted with the worst case of puppy love in the Great Northwest.  Jacob pouts, grows fur, growls, pouts some more, and departs in a great sulk.  Bella and the Other Great White Void depart for a romantic honeymoon in the wilds of Brazil.

Then it’s time to consummate this long smoldering and chaste love.  Edward is a powerful lover…bedposts are broken in the frenzy of passion.  Bella awakens to Edward’s concern.  He asks “How sore are you?”  She’s bruised and didn’t even know it, because, you know…she’s so in love.

And that’s when the real “ewwwww” factor began to creep up on me.

It’s bad enough that Bella is a NOTHING (as far as the movies go).  She’s never been seen reading a book, cooking a meal, or strumming a guitar.  She has the personality of a new 3 x 5 index card and sense of humor a tree sloth would admire.  Her existence, her being, is about waiting for Edward to decide if he loves her, cause he’s so, you know, perfect.

But Edward…he’s the perfect textbook abusive boyfriend: gives her permission to see her friends, and regularly rejects her for her “own good.”  After the first sex, he withholds himself (and the other Other Great White, if you know what I mean).  She has to plead with him for the Glorious Gift.  He gives in and then, 30 seconds later, she’s pregnant.  Bella wants to keep the baby, but Edward doesn’t, so off he goes into a prolonged period of disapproving, smoldering gazes at her.

Oddly enough, a vampire fetus is bad for a human mom (go figure).  But Bella is going to have this baby, because she loves it and Edward.  See, he’s so perfect, she’s willing to die for him.  And the really cool thing is, she’ll waste down to concentration camp size (when the movie really remembers it has some horror roots), and she’ll die for love, but you know what?  She’ll be brought back to life by his love, but she’ll be as beautiful and perfect as him.  She just has to die in his arms.

The pathology of this relationship is sick sick sick.  I’m surprised there aren’t “Twi-cide” sites, where women (young and old) with no self-esteem pledge to die for men who have ignored and rejected them, just to prove how true their love is.

It’s going to be my new litmus test film:  anyone who thinks it’s “romantic” will never be left alone with my children.

Bottom Line:  Serious Pop Culture Punji Stick.  Pray to the gods to send ravens to pluck out your eyes so you don’t have to look upon such an abomination.

Worth:  Nothing!  Two precious hours of your life that will never return.  Watch “Taken” instead.  The father is  tough on his daughter, but he loves her and goes to the end of the earth to save her with none of the emo-moro (emotional moron) nonsense thrown in.

The Twilight of Girl Porn

Full disclosure:  this is written without having seen/endured the most recent Twilight film.

At the urging of my wife, I did try to read the first novel in the “Twilight” series, but cast it away gibbering after 100 pages of “Does he like me?  Maybe he likes me.  I wonder if he likes me…” narrative.

So, I may not be the most objective critic about the actual novel.  But I have seen three of the films, and all I can take away from them is that they are girl porn.

Porn is about fantasy.  Some fantasies are acceptable, or at least understandable, while others are largely repellent.  But they’re all, on some level, about an imagined world and the fantastist’s place in that world.

Based strictly on the Twilight films I’ve seen so far, the fantasy world they peddle is this:  A young woman can have no discernible accomplishment, character, or even a personality, and she can have hunky guys ready to kill for her.

If that ain’t porn, I don’t know what is.

“Immortals” will not live forever

Single-name director Tarsem’s foray into Greek Mythology  won’t linger in your memory longer than it take to walk to your car.  At least, you won’t remember for any good reasons.

The plot steals some from classic mythology, mostly in the matter of names you probably would recognize (either from school or more recent films like “Clash of the Titans” and even “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”).  Thesus (a strangely uncharismatic Henry Cavill), illegitimate son of somebody, is forced to fight against King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke, doing his heavily muscled thoughtful psychopath schtick).  Hyperion is mad at the gods, so he’s burning and plundering the land looking for a magic bow that has the power to unleash the old enemies of the gods, the Titans.   The Titans are trapped in a box with weird bars forced in their mouths to immobilize them.  The look more like the Gimp from Pulp Fiction than beings who hurled mountains at each other in battle.  There’s something else about virgin oracles and Zeus telling the rest of the gods to stay out of Theseus’ bidness because “Man has to find his own way.”

Okay, that about sums up the plot and deeper themes  of the film.

On the purely visual side, Tarsem knows his way around a CGI application.  There are huge city vistas, oceans, deserts, even Mount Olympus.  But as far as creating a coherent world and moving us around inside it, he’s no more skilled that a kid playing Cowboys and Indians with Legos and Lincoln logs.

We have scenes with handy identifying captions “Isle of Kolpos,” “Hyperion’s Hip-Hop Hack Palace,” “Pit of Despair,” and so on, but we have no idea where they are, and where they are in relation to anywhere else.  They just exist as places where stuff happens, and where the characters show up from time to time.

The man is good with huge sets of things:  a giantic wall between two mountains, a city carved into a cliff over the sea; but he’s lousy with human actors.  While the gods appear in a flash of gold light (the old Grecian version of the Star Trek transporter, apparently) and the Titans have a complexion of dried concrete and widely staring eyes, both are considerably less than titanic.   For a story about The Gods and the Titans, one might expect them to be, shall we say, a little more than human.   In fact…they  are the exact height of the average man in the film.  The way we know they are gods n’ titans is they can do cool stuff in slow motion that’s still faster than a human can perceive.

That being said, the most gripping part of the film of the battle between the Titans and the Gods, but one is left asking “If the Titans are that easy to kill…why didn’t the Olympians just stomp them out like an old cigarette butt years ago and be done with it?”

Bottom Line:  A stumbling, uncompelling movie that makes “Clash of the Titans” look accomplished.

Worth:  A rental.  Don’t even bother with a matinee.