Friday, July 30, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Heart

My theme for today is simple. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse movie is ridiculously bad. Discuss.

Let’s start with the basics. I could have trained some dogs, scavenged McKinley High’s prop department, and hired a local children’s theater company as my actors – and I could have done no worse than the director of this movie. Summit Entertainment spent $70 million on what? Wigs RuPaul wouldn’t wear, dialogue written by a fifth grader, and day-for-night shooting FX so bad that basic cable wept for it. You could see the freaking contacts in the actor’s eyes for Christ’s sake. I mean come on!

There is no internal logic to this movie. A scene in which a man climbs a hill in daylight suddenly shifts to him cresting it in full darkness. Ed Wood would have been proud. A woman camping on the top of a mountain is so cold that she is in danger of both hypothermia and frostbite can walk out of the tent the next morning wearing nothing but a pair of jeans and a rolled up flannel? The ground is still covered in snow, so it is obviously still cold and, by the way, she’s at the top of a goddamn mountain in the Pacific Northwest, so you know its not balmy by any stretch of the imagination. Yet nary a shiver or a long sleeve in sight. Better yet, two scenes later, she is hanging out in a field of wildflowers. Glad they weren’t killed off by that sudden biting snowstorm or anything. (And by the way, while a shot of the moon might be appropriate when a werewolf is present, if it is SNOWING OUTSIDE, then it is CLOUDY and hence, no moon. Jesus.)

In another scene, we are very clearly shown that any vampire can smell any other vampire, even after the first vamp has left the premises. Got it? Like a dog pissing on a tree. This point is reinforced several times. So, much later in the movie when a vampire just wanders out from behind a rock without any other of the other vampires standing ten feet away noticing, I honestly thought for a split second that it must be a zombie. I lost complete control of my senses and assumed that the teenage vampire/werewolf movie took a left turn at Albuquerque and suddenly turned into World War Z.

I have mentioned that I never took physics. My concept of it is sketchy at best. (I once almost caused a grown man to cry while discussing aerodynamics.) Yet, I’m pretty sure that a 125 lb man should only be able to turn into a 125 lb wolf. Right? So why do the men in this movie turn into wolves of Hippogriff-like proportions? Seriously, these wolves wouldn’t need to huff and puff a house down, they would merely have to sit on it. It is absolutely ludicrous to see a tiny hairless boy turn into a giant beast. (His fur doesn’t even match his hair color! Like what is that? Do the drapes not match the carpet or something?) Along these lines, I am sorry to say that my lust for underage abs has ended. I’ve seen what a real wolf can look like (Alcide Herveaux, I am slobbering in your general direction) and hence, Jacob is nothing but a puppy to me now.

What I know about filmmaking could fit on a Chinese food menu, but I do know that if every single solitary shot is in close-up, you have defeated the purpose of the close-up. Also, if you are going to shoot the pores of your actors, then your makeup shouldn’t (a) look like it was put on by a drunk clown and/or (b) look like it wore off when the actor last showered days ago. There was no happy medium. Everyone either looked coated in pancake or greasy. They also looked like they bought all their clothes at the SalVal the day before shooting started and no one had time to get them altered.

I’ve read the books, I know they are crap. I’ve seen the other movies, I know they are crap. But still, I was unprepared by how, well, crappy, everything was. A bracelet created by a character (who yes, is supposedly to be mechanically inclined, but was never supposed to be a damn jeweler) looks like it came right off the rack of Claire’s. When an “expensive” diamond is added to it, it looks exactly like what it is – a mass-produced CZ that I can get in multi-packs for the princess party of my dreams. Now, I know the marketing department needs to keep manufacturing costs down when it sells these bracelets in bulk at a retailer near you, but the original should still look like it is, you know, real. Not made of spit and bailing wire.

I don’t expect a lot from these movies. See above about them being crap. But I’ve seen better production values on a Lifetime Original. I am not expecting Oscar-caliber performances (thought these people should definitely be up for a Razzie), or an epic score (which would randomly cut in and out, including at the end of one scene before the dialogue was even complete), or hell, even fantastic locations (if the epic battle didn’t take place on a soundstage, I’ll eat your lunch). But when a bad, evil vampire is about to kill an innocent, she shouldn’t be backlit like she “is never going to go hungry again.” That may well be the case her being a vampire and all, but the red eyes are a dead giveaway that she is not Scarlett O’Hara, so how ‘bout not shooting her like she is?

So, in summary: this movie was awful and I am actually really sad I didn’t wind up going with my fellow fanbangers to MST3K it while at the theater. But I do look forward to watching it with them when the DVD comes out. Will I go see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (parts I and II) in the theater? Hell yeah. Despite the ridiculously lond and overly pretentious title I’m like a dog with a bad master. I just keep coming back for more hoping that this time, he'll love me instead of hurt me.

By the way, if you want to read a really complex and fantastic review of why this movie is awful in terms of social relations between men and women then check out this link. Never has anyone better explained why this epic story of romance is anything but romantic.

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