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Twilight (2008)

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This is totally a bandwagon endeavor.  But with all of the Breaking Dawn hype, I’ve decided that I need to get a move on the Twilight series.  Yeah, I read all of the books, I thought Twilight was super gripping and stuff until it blew up America.  And by America I mean the world.  Man, Stephanie Meyer is the worst best thing to have come out of my hood.

With that, I’m only just getting to watching the movies.  Word on the street is they still suck, but I don’t want to be that girl that never watches something only because it’s popular.  Even though I actually abhor everything to do with the Vampire/Werewolf/Human love triangle.  But hey, I’m a cinephile so I gots to watch ’em all.

Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight takes place in the dark, dreary town of Forks, Washington.  Our leading lady is the clumsy, supposed-to-be-not-that-pretty-but-is-actually-pretty-hot Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).  Well, she would be hot if her face did something other than grimace or pout.  She’s the new girl in town straight out of Phoenix, Arizona (sans tan) here to live with her pops Charlie Swan, the local sheriff (Billy Burke).  Charlie is the only solid character of the bunch, he’s got a sound mind and is trying his hardest to be a good dad to his estranged daughter.

Bella starts at her new school mid-year.  What would predictably be a rocky beginning as the typical “new girl in town outcast” turns out to be a refreshingly smooth transition.  Bella eases her way into a group of nice (and normal) kids who gossip and joke and accept her as their friend.  Her long face is inexplicable, but apparently something isn’t right.  She’s eyes the strange and beautiful Cullen family with piqued interest as her friend Jessica (Anna Kendrick) gawks over Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), but encourages Bella to steer clear.  No one really talks to the Cullens.  They keep to themselves.

But apparently Bella can’t be content with a normal life.  She is mesmerized with the not so beautiful Edward Cullen.  She has never met anyone like him before.  The way he stares at her is so penetrating, as though he sees directly into her soul.  Lucky for both of them, she finds this more attractive than creepy.  Her fight to be different is grossly rewarded when her person of interest turns out to be a vampire, and she’s totally into it.

As I was watching this, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Did I really like this book?”  Because I did.  It’s like literary cocaine, I read ’till all hours of the night and couldn’t curb my addiction.  But seriously, there was actually something appealing to this ridiculous vampire stuff?  Because sorry twi-hards, I am not digging it.

First of all, if you take out all the vampire/mystical stuff, it is nothing more than a formulaic teenage lust love story  and a guy who has abstinence issues.  And WHAT is up with Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson?  They seem to have a really good time staring at each other, though Stewart always looks like she’s suffering from manic depression and Pattinson that he’s going to throw up.  Neither can act.  And Pattinson seemed to lose every feature that I found attractive when he played Cedric Diggory in the fourth Harry Potter film.

The dialogue is atrocious.  “You better hold on tight, spider monkey.”  A fourth grader could write a better screenplay.  The special effects are mediocre at best, though the film was produced on a very low budget.  And these vampires are nothing like the vampires of yesteryear.  Contrary to popular belief, daylight does not disintegrate our fanged friends, it only causes them to SPARKLE (another testament of high-school effects).

The relationship between Edward & Bella is, well, crazy.  Their romance blooms because Edward WANTS TO DRINK HER BLOOD.  He thinks she SMELLS good, much like my lunch meat smells good.  Who dates (and by date, I mean stare at) a dude that is attracted to her based on how good he thinks she would taste if he were to kill her?  But she’s cool with it, because he’s one of the good guys, a vampire vegetarian if you will.

I think what is really missing from the book is the depth to Bella’s character.  Kristen Stewart does not portray the complexities nor the inner turmoil that Bella suffers with in the book.  Though my opinion quickly changes in the Twilight sequels, Bella was a great character in the first book.  She wasn’t perfect, and the average girl could relate to her and dream about having a similar fantastic romance.

Twilight will no doubt satisfy its rabid fans, and teenage girls across the world will always drool over Edward.  And if you’re one of those peeps, go knock yourself out.  But, if you appreciate something deeper, Twilight is missable.  4/10

Written by laurenthejukebox17

November 25, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

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I should probably just start watching this BEFORE I watch Prisoner of Azkaban.  Then I’ll like that one every time.

Things are shakin’ up in the Potter-verse.  Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his usual groupies (Ron – Rupert Grint, and Hermione – Emma Watson) are partyin’ it up with the rest of the wizard population at the Quidditch World Cup.  Kinda like the normal World Cup, but things get a LOT crazier when magic folk get drunk.  But the partyin’ gets a little too rowdy when Death Eater Voldy-supporters start torturing Muggles and You-Know-Who’s weird snake insignia is cast into the sky by a shady unknown character.

At Hogwarts things aren’t any more normal (are they ever?)  This year Hogwarts will congregate with all two other Wizard High Schools to compete in a (friendly) inter-school tournament.  And by friendly, I mean that contestants could die.  There will be one victor to represent each school.  Three guesses on who the Hogwarts champion is?  Despite Harry’s young age (you must be 17 or older to compete), he is wildly chosen as a SECOND rep for the Hogs – along with hunk Cedric Edward Cullen Diggory (Robert Pattinson).  Harry didn’t put his name in, so who did?  Ron’s pissed that Harry, who didn’t want any of this, gets all the glory and stuff… like usual, so they’re not speaking.  Harry’s got bigger things to worry about than dragons, like asking girls out and figuring out his strange dreams.  And word on the street is the Voldemort might reappear sooner than later…

Okay. Hands down my least favorite Potter film.  It isn’t a bad movie, there are definitely things I like.  But Mike Newell tried too hard to single it out from the others.  The Goblet of Fire is another piece in the big picture, and I feel like it’s trying to be its own movie too much.  The big reveal is hardly a big reveal because of all the stupid hints.  Granted, this is a 734 page book.  But Order of the Phoenix is 896 pages and David Yates does a much better job of condensing.  I don’t care that SPEW was left out (although it would have been nice to give Dobby an additional movie…) I don’t care that Ludo Bagman was nixed, I don’t mind THAT much that Rita Skeeter’s main plot was left out.  But did we really need to make the DRAGON challenge fifteen minutes too long?  I mean seriously, Harry was supposed to have WON that task.  They did not need to go traipsing about Hogwarts in a stupid game of cat and mouse.  That energy and time would have been better spent on the end.  Or anywhere else for that matter.

A few other gripes: The third challenge was kind of a joke.  Harry fought a freaking basilisk when he was twelve.  A maze where the walls close in on you is hardly intimidating compared to what that kid’s been through.  Second, do we ALWAYS need to skip over the explanation scenes?  Granted we didn’t need to hear all of the back story, but we kinda skipped over the part where a WAR WAS STARTING.  There was a reason that Fudge didn’t believe Harry in OotP.  Third, I’m not hating on Rob Pattinson at all, but I didn’t like the interpretation of Cedric Diggory.  I thought he looked good and performed well for the most part but he wasn’t… nice enough.  Cedric was a symbol of goodness.  Everyone loved him, everyone admired him.  They didn’t quite… capture that.  Lastly, …where was Sirius (Gary Oldman)?!  His head in some coals does NOT count.  Again, you gotta start looking at the book picture, Newell.

Sorry, I’ll try to stop acting like an immature fan girl.  It’s just so hard…

New additions to the cast… again… most notably is Brendan Gleeson as Professor Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody, the new (you guessed it) Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher.  Despite his weird machine eye and a few script issues he was pretty dang excellent as this crazy character.  The scene with the unforgivable curses was well played, even though Emma Watson was freaking out a little too much.  I also enjoyed him turning Malfoy into a dancing ferret…  Miranda Richardson plays Rita Skeeter, the sly reporter, interested in nothing but the dirty deets on Harry.  Great book character, wish we had more of her story but alas.  Two hours is very short.  Last but not least, the excellent Ralph Fiennes joins us, albeit nose-less, as none other than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself.  Lord Voldemort.  His sinister whisper is so icy, his piercing eyes so menacing.  He’s definitely secured himself as one of the greatest movie villains.  I couldn’t have asked for more. Good on yeh, Ralph.

Goblet of Fire reminded me of high school more than anything else, and that’s the good part.  I mean sure, Ron’s freaking annoying with his angsty whine, but don’t we know ten people just like him?  In fact, your best friend probably shunned you once for something similar.  Or maybe you shunned your best friend.  Just sayin’, it happens.  But seriously, all of the gossip, all the crying, all the name-calling.  It’s freshman year at wizard high.  And I did enjoy that part.  I love the awkward teen romances, I especially laughed at the scene introducing the Yule Ball.  “Mr. Weasley, put your hand on my waist.” “Where?”  And oh Ron’s dress robes… I also feel like every young actor is growing into their roles.  Neville (Matthew Lewis) got to  shine a little bit here.  Fred and George (James and Oliver Phelps) provided great laughs as the school clowns.  Unfortunately Malfoy (Tom Felton) is still painted as a bit of a fool, but whatever.

The adult cast is exemplary as usual [unfortunatelackofSeverusSnapeAlanRickmanthough].  Michael Gambon hasn’t quite reached his stride (forcefully pushing a student?  Not Dumbledore). The kids are definitely growing into their roles, though this is probably Emma Watson’s worst of the 8.  She freaks out too much, she’s sooo over dramatic and shouts and cries a lot.  Not Hermione.  I also admit that the Voldemort scene was fantastic.  Eerie, and filled with fiery emotions.  The music is also stunning, however much we might miss the J. Williams.  The special effects and cinematography are also commendable.

Alas, I cannot ever be fully satisfied.  Harry Potter is far too dear to my heart.  And this book is so fantastic.  It is what it is, though and it’s still got Harry’s name on it.  So that’s gotta be worth something, right?  6/10