When Vampires Suck…
I think my Post-Potter depression has made me desperate. Last weekend I arranged my whole day around seeing the latest Twilight movie–and actually looked forward to it. The other films were hardly stellar, but they were campy fun. My girlfriends and I had a great time heckling the bad dialogue (“Hold on spider-monkey!”), dorky makeup, bad acting (Jasper anyone?), but we had a blast. Yet why did I think an agonizing book could avoid being a torturous move? I squirmed in my seat during “lovemaking” and rolled my eyes at the birth scene. And to add insult to injury, our theater didn’t even screen the “Hunger Games” preview.
Let me first admit that I was wholly seduced by the Twilight books. The first three novels had me in what I call “Book Prison,” a state where you are so engrossed in reading that you might as well be behind bars. But Breaking Dawn was book purgatory, where, despite its awfulness, you feel so invested that you keep reading and lie to yourself that if you just keep going it’ll get better. I know they are fluffy fair. Literary Twinkies. My girlfriend Jen sums up the four books as follows: 1) Edward is Beautiful. 2) Bella is sad. 3) Edward and Jacob are jealous. 4) Vampire sex is hot. Pretty accurate. But still, the last book—and movie, are duds.
As a Mormon Feminist, here are a few of the things that made me nuts about “Breaking Dawn:”
-Getting married at 18 is okay if it means you’ll be a virgin. I know there are those who say that’s not why Bella & Edward tie the knot, that they are soul mates etc. But I am uncomfortable with teen marriage as a means of maintaining the law of chastity.
-Edward refusing to have sex with Bella for fear of “hurting” her. I’m soo tired of Edward refusing to put out. When they are dating it’s noble and endearing that he wants to wait. But once they are married, can’t the whining and angst over sex just stop?! And they both looked as uncomfortable as I felt. Go ahead and break a headboard just quite your whining.
-Bella cuddling up with Jacob in the name of “keeping her warm.” They pulled that in the tent scene in “Eclipse,” but this just seemed really over the line. The overt affection between these two made me cringe. If Bella really thinks that Edward is her one true love, then stop the petting Jacob.
-Can we talk about the name Renesmee? I’m going to admit it makes me embarrassed to be a Mormon. It’s a slice of my culture that makes me cringe and for Meyer to flaunt our dorky nomenclature habits to the world, it’d be like Mitt Romney saying he can’t wait to “Hie to Kolob.” Some of our dirty garments need to be kept under wraps. (Apologies to all the Arnolenes, LaDons, and Danelles out there. It’s not your fault. It’s your parents’.)
-That whole imprinting thing is super creepy and also super convenient way to assuage poor unrequited Jacob. The book goes at great lengths to de-sexualize imprinting, giving us some nonsense about the Wolf being whatever the imprintee needs at the time. From Jacob: “The gravity of the earth no longer tied me to the place where I stood. It was the baby girl in the blond vampire’s arms that held me here now. Renesmee.” But no matter how she dances around it, it still felt like pedophilia to me. I feel like Meyer wants everyone to have a happy ending. If she’d written Hunger Games, Gail would have suddenly fallen in love with Primrose. Most readers would prefer a lonely Jacob to an icky one.
-Finally, do we really need to be martyrs to the unborn? It disturbed me to see a fetus literally killing its mom and all Bella does is stroke her belly lovingly. In real life, there are indeed times when the mother’s health (not just life) is in danger and we need to say no more babies. We are meant to procreate, babies are good, but women are more than human incubators. Just sayin’.
My list is by no means exhaustive (I didn’t even touch on the bizarrely disjointed background music) but I had to limit myself as I have my own little Renesmees to take care of.
If you are a Twilight fan and saw the movie, what did you think? Am I being too harsh? Too kind? What worked and didn’t work for you?