Summit is releasing a Bluray box set containing all five Twilight films, assembled in one super-cool package for the first time. You’d think that by now even the most ardent Twilight fans would be saying “Jesus, enough already…leave us alone.” But Summit wants to milk the 10th anniversary of Twilight-mania for all it’s worth.
It was during the watching of Chris Weitz‘s New Moon, the second Twilight film, when I realized how bone-dumb the Twi-harders were. Or at least how bone-dumb the producers believed them to be.
New Moon contained an ambitious shot that tried to visually convey how completely Kristen Stewart‘s Bella had sunk into depression. Months and months of sitting in a stupor. The camera circled around her three times as she sat in her bedroom in front of a bay window that looked out on her front yard, and either you noticed what was happening or you didn’t.
Anyone with a reasonable number of brain cells would have noticed how the front yard changed from month to month. In the first shot a tree has brown leaves and kids on the street are wearing Halloween costumes. In the second the leaves are gone and somebody’s raking leaves on the front lawn. In the third shot the lawn is covered with snow.
And yet Summit producers decided to place titles — OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER — over each camera pass so viewers wouldn’t be confused about the time-passage aspect. Presumably the fans complained during test screenings that they couldn’t understand why leaves would fall of a tree so quickly or how there would suddenly be snow covering the front yard, etc.
I don’t believe Weitz decided to use the titles on his own. I’ll bet $100 he was forced into it.
The Twi-hard thing launched a decade ago with Catherine Hardwicke’s 2008 original. I remember attending the all-media at the AMC 42nd Street. It felt like quite the event with hordes of teenaged girls sitting on the sidewalk, hoping to get in. I actually respected Hardwicke’s film. I felt the the whole I-love-you-so-much-we-can’t-have-sex thing — a very clever packaging of conservative values.
The abstinence thing wasn’t about Mormonism or conservatism per se, but about how the current between a couple can feel much more powerful and transporting before sex — not just to hesitant younger women but anyone of any age. As Carly Simon noted many years ago, anticipation is almost more erotic than the act itself.
“I think it’s fair to call Twilight the most effective covert-conservative-values movie to be released since Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days,” I wrote on 11.23.08. “Because it makes sexual abstinence seem like a fairly hot, pure-of-spirit state of being. And I say this as something of a lifelong libertine.”
But then Summit and Hardwicke parted ways, of course, and along came Chris Weitz‘s Twilight: New Moon a year later, and quality-wise the whole thing went into the crapper.
On 11.20.09 I wrote that “New Moon will obviously make financial history this weekend but it’s a total zombie franchise now — it walks and morphs and vacuums up revenue and makes teenage girls swoon, but it’s made of dead gray tissue and huge, stupid-looking, dinosaur-size cartoon wolves. It’s been smothered by Rob Friedman and Chris Weitz and all the other Summit bottom-liners who didn’t understand what they had. They’re be rolling in dough Monday morning, but they’ve totally killed the goose.”
Did the Twi-harders care about the franchise being degraded by hacks? Apparently not. Apparently they couldn’t tell the difference between Weitz’s film and Hardwicke’s.