Thursday, January 15, 2009

I don't wanna grow up...

I have a confession to make. I went to see Twilight. Before I get flayed by the mob, I need to also add, I hated it. I hated it and I felt like I had wasted two very precious hours of my life and two very precious hours of Me time. Packrat who repentantly suggested he start making up for the Boy Movies he's made me watch by watching this, also cringed. Both of us also felt that as educators (he more than I, at this point) of teens, we needed to know see what the fuss was about so that we had the credibility to mock it mercilessly and in Packrat's case, use as a yardstick to turn away students from his course. Last year, anyone who wrote his/her favourite author was Jodi Picoult was rumoured to have made only the "Maybe" pile. This year, his hit list allegedly includes Twilight author- Stephanie Meyer.

So why did we hate it? The Cliff Notes version?
1. We are not teens. And hopefully, even if we were teens, we'd have better sense than that.
2. It wasn't Buffy.

For us, Buffy had cornered the Human in love with vampire- vampire has a soul and is tortured and full of angst- Relationship is doomed from the beginning market. And Angel, Buffy's vampire squeeze was in my opinion, way cooler than Edward-peroxide-glow in the sun-I'm Vegetarian because I only drink animal blood-Cullen. But that bit is just personal opinion. There was so much wrong with Twilight that seemed to also reflect the angst of the current generation of teens. Although, the series seems to have been lauded for being relatively chaste; there is to be no sex till marriage though not for the usual reasons, it is not a great role model for teens who are not part of the A-list in school. In Buffy, Buffy was weird because she kept beating up people and she had a secret life that she couldn't tell many people about. But she had a bunch of friends, all B/C listers who got her back and she was fiercely loyal to them.

In Twilight, the protaganist, like Buffy was the new girl in town, is a little bit the awkward, clumsy n00b who arrives in the middle of term but is pretty well liked for a n00b. She has herself a Scooby gang fast enough but she drops them like a hot brick the minute Perioxide Boy gives her time of day. Not cool. How can dumping your friends to move up the social ladder with your A-list boyfriend ever be a cool thing to do? Where's the loyalty? Where's the heart?

And mothers who condone their daughters reading the book because there's no real sex and drugs, shouldn't they be concerned with the fact that this was a protaganist who didn't mind being bit and dying? And once again, with vampires and those who yearn to be vampires, there was always a reason for it, there was always some sort of discontentment with life, some sort of malaise that they felt being a vampire would cure. But where was that here? The girl had a suicide wish for no reason. The only reason was possibly because it was glam. So, shouldn't moms be concerned about that? Shouldn't moms be concerned with any sort of death wish however it is to be carried out and for whatever reason?

On top of that, this is a girl in an obviously abusive relationship. Guy treats her like crap, drives her away, hurts her in the process and she comes crawling back to him, telling anyone who listens that it was she who drove him to insanity and it was his love that drove him to that point. Yes, that is healthy, to think that relationships are supposed to be that way and making it a selfless thing. In an era where so much has been done and achieved in the name of empowering women and teaching girls that it is not cool and they don't have to take shit from guys, here comes a movie and an entire fad that reverses all that has been done. And I hear, that in later books, she wants to be bit. She wants to live forever so that she can be with Glow Boy forever and ever, beyond the usual death do us part. If my daughter thought that way, it would time to take out my Dad's patented brand of punishment- hanging one upside down and walloping sense into the person.

Salon's mocking take on it made my day as much as reading I don't know where about how rabid fans had swarmed the local high school of Forks and stalked their Sheriff annoyed the heck out of me. And all in all, it made me compare it to the movie that has been known the mother of time suckage - Titanic and has made Titanic come out looking like Oscar material (although I think it was in its day but we rolled our eyes then at it).

It made me go out and borrow Titanic, not so that I could waste another 3 hours of my life but so that I could revel in what was the Queen of chick flicks of my generation and come up with reasons why it still trumped Twilight. And after 3 hours, even though I walked away at certain bits because cheese is still cheese 12 years on, I was vindicated. My generation had comparatively better taste. It's not saying much but it's still saying a lot. At least Titanic was epic. It had James Cameron at its helm and there was great tragedy- always a good setting for a romance. There was little tragedy in Twilight unless you count a storm and a baseball game. The protagnist, played by the very British Kate Winslet, was really a strong independent woman who took no kind of crap, didn't give up for love, stood by her beliefs and didn't let her lover's death (or his dead state) be a reason to be dead herself.

And for those who didn't want to bother about the romance, Titanic also made one think, however superficially about class and rank, about social injustice and about well, in my case, post traumatic stress disorder. What food for thought did Twilight even pretend to give its fans? The possible class war was never explored, the possible misunderstood plight of the vampires was murky and hidden under the glamour of it all, the angst of the teen years giving reason for self-mutilation and suicide was also given a cool factor. So, really, just a pretty movie that led Packrat to remark, " All those broody goth boys are going to get lucky this year".


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:03

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