As Twihards everywhere gear up for the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, Anghus Houvouras buries the Twilight franchise...
And that's fine. Not everything has to be. The soap opera style antics of vampires and werewolves has been plaguing theaters for some time and raking in the cash in spite of being truly awful. The films are total trash. Again, that's fine. There are a lot of people who love trash. Hell, Quentin Tarantino has made an entire career out dumpster diving.
This week sees the release of the latest and last Twilight movie: Breaking Dawn - Part 2. I have suffered through every Twilight movie, a by-product of my chosen hobby, and I have to say that every single one of them was a chore. Mediocre movies based on flawed fiction that has infected pop culture for far too long. You would think as the final film is being released that critics and online film sites would take the opportunity to say 'good riddance'.
And yet, something else is happening. People seem to be stepping up and giving praise to the final Twilight film. The same critics who bashed the previous entries. The same online personalities who called the fan base a pox of teen hormonal angst and raged against sparkling vampires are giving Breaking Dawn - Part 2 a pass. Instead of coming together en masse drawing knives and stabbing the film with the rage of Brutus, they are raising a glass in honor and toasting the series as if it is something to celebrate. And I think I know why. Allow me to present the theory of Critical Relent...
The theory that film critics will eventually come around to a popular series of films, no matter how terrible, out of not wanting to feel culturally irrelevant or out of some misguided theory that anything popular must have some merit.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Fast Five is basically a best of/mash up of the previous films with The Rock thrown in for some added fun. The previous Fast & Furious films were harmless fun but critically brutalized while Fast Five was somehow 'a breath of fresh air'.
Revenge of the Sith was the same mediocre, poorly plotted soulless mess with terrible acting as the first two prequels. And yet, this one got a pass. To be fair, most of the Star Wars prequels got a pass because of the original trilogy.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon was the same plot, almost note for note, as the first two films. And yet critics treated the third one like it was somehow better than the previous two when in fact it was the same basic movie as the first two with the same nonsensical plot and same ending.
I've seen all of the Twilight films. They are not good on a number of levels. They struggle to get to adequate. Sub-par movies based on sub-par fiction. The kind of films that creates a fan base of crazy tweens and teens who get murderously angry because K-Stew boned the director of Snow White and the Huntsman. This is not an intelligent fan base or people familiar with quality. These is the demo that made things like New Kids on the Block, NSync, and the Backstreet Boys multi-millionaires. The demo that made Disney think there was a movie career for Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Very few things of quality are ever birthed from this demo. Do you really see a stunning film legacy for good looking blocks of wood like Taylor Lautner or Robert Pattinson?
You could make an argument that Leonardo Dicaprio is the lone diamond produced from the hormonal overflow of this demographic with the massive success of Titanic. Thank God he was smart enough to pick challenging roles. He could have ended up relegated to the inside of lockers and neglected trapper keepers. Sure, movies like Celebrity and The Beach are hardly worth mentioning. But you had an actor who sought out Woody Allen and Danny Boyle instead of starring in big budget studio trash.
Twilight is finally over. Let's take a minute, reflect on its mediocrity, and await the next big young adult series to infect our lives for five or six years. Don't waste words trying to justify its existence. Trash is trash. Some trash is very successful. It doesn't mean it deserves our praise. Don't be fooled. These middle aged writers giving Breaking Dawn - Part 2 a pass are doing so out of a misguided sense of relevance. Make no mistake, as this heinous series comes to a close...
I come to bury Twilight, not to praise it....