Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This Vampire Love Story Lacks Credibility

I tried to read "The Hobbit" in the fifth grade, but abandoned it. I've never seen "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. My only Harry Potter exposure has been brief, despite strong interest from friends and more than friends.

Despite this indifference to fantasy, I try to keep abreast of characters and plotlines. (Except for "Lost", because fuck "Lost". Who gives a shit. I hope J.J. Abrams gets eaten by Cloverfield or gets bitten by a Cloverfield parasite and Cloversplodes.) While this kind of dubious knowledge doesn't exactly make you the cocktail party's charming renaissance man, it is required information for those who want to get the Voldemort jokes in "The Office" and Ian McKellen's "Extras" cameo.



In that spirit of quasi-self-improvement, I decided to spoil the "Twilight" series for myself today, reading the Wikipedia plot summaries of the four books.

I couldn't help myself! The movie trailer is so absurd, I had to try and see why this book-turned-film has so captivated our struggling nation's female citizens.

Twilight Trailer in HD


I hoped Wikipedia could answer the following questions:

*Why were those high schoolers wearing old-timey baseball jerseys in the woods?

*Why would an attractive girl be attracted to a boy whose "skin is pale white and ice cold coolcooled." (At 59 seconds into the trailer, you can hear those words, and she definitely doesn't quite say "cold" or "cool".)

*Why is it so hard for this other vampire guy to kill a teenage girl? Willowy sixteen year-olds don't really strike me as the Most Dangerous Game, you know?

*When a vampire is really old, but he looks 17, why does he enroll in high school? "I'm a hundred years old, but I really wanted to brush up on my knowledge of rudimentary algebra and American civics, plus maybe try to score some sweet 'tang." And how does he enroll? What feeder school did he come from? Did he just claim to be home schooled? And why aren't kids constantly beating his ass for looking like an emo douchebag?

Wikipedia didn't explain these plot holes, but the plot summaries were absurdly entertaining. When vampire goings-on are described in an objective, matter-of-fact manner, it's comedy gold. I've pasted the Wikipedia summaries below, and highlighted my favorite knee-slapping (not literally) moments...

Oh, and SPOILER ALERT. But if you don't want this series spoiled, you're a female high school freshman and you shouldn't be reading Tornado Slide in the first place.


BOOK ONE - TWILIGHT

Isabella "Bella" Swan moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona, to rainy Forks, Washington, to live with her father, Charlie. She chooses to do this so that her mother, Renée, can travel with her new husband, Phil Dwyer, who is a minor league baseball player. In Phoenix she was a bit of an outcast, so it surprises her that she attracts much attention at her new school, and is quickly befriended by several students. Much to her dismay, several boys in the school compete for shy Bella's attention.

When Bella sits next to Edward Cullen in class on her first day of school, Edward seems utterly repulsed by her. He even attempts to change his schedule to avoid her, leaving Bella completely puzzled about his attitude towards her. After tricking a family friend, Jacob Black, into telling her the local tribal legends, Bella concludes that Edward and his family are vampires. Although she was inexplicably attracted to him even when she thought Edward drank human blood, she is much relieved to learn that the Cullens choose to abstain from drinking human blood, and drink animal blood instead. Over time, Edward and Bella fall in love.

The seemingly perfect state of their relationship is thrown into chaos when another vampire coven sweeps into Forks, and James, a tracker vampire, decides that he wants to hunt Bella for sport. The Cullens plan to distract the tracker by splitting up Bella and Edward, and Bella is sent to hide in a hotel in Phoenix. Bella then gets a phone call from James in which he says that he has her mother, and Bella must give herself up to James at her old dance studio, to save her. She does so, and while at the dance studio, James attacks her. Edward, along with the rest of the Cullen family, rescue Bella before James can kill her. Once they realize that James has bitten Bella's hand, Edward sucks the venom out of her system before it can spread and change her into a vampire. Upon returning to Forks, Bella and Edward attend their prom and Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire, which Edward refuses to let happen.


BOOK TWO - NEW MOON

Isabella "Bella" Swan is thrown an eighteenth birthday party by Edward Cullen, the vampire she loves, and his vampire family. While unwrapping a gift, she receives a paper cut. Jasper, although attempting a non-human diet, is overwhelmed by the scent of blood and tries to attack Bella. In an attempt to keep Bella safe from the world of vampires, Edward leaves the town of Forks. Bella becomes depressed and seeks comfort with Jacob Black, an old family friend who eases her pain over losing Edward.

Bella and Jacob begin spending a lot of time together, and Bella soon discovers that the rush of adrenaline present when she places herself in dangerous situations stimulates a hallucination of Edward's voice. Bella begins seeking out dangerous behavior, such as motorcycle riding, to keep Edward's voice with her. Meanwhile, Jacob finds out that he is a werewolf. Initially, he tries to keep this secret from Bella, but he eventually reveals as much as he can without betraying his pack. After Bella attempts cliff-diving, she gets caught in a riptide and is rescued by Jacob.

At the same time, Alice Cullen, Edward's vampire sister who has visions of the future, has a vision of Bella jumping off the cliff. Presuming Bella is dead, Alice rushes to Forks to check on Charlie, Bella's father, while Edward calls Bella's home. Jacob answers and informs Edward that Charlie is "at the funeral", referring to that of a man in town who had a heart attack, but Edward draws the conclusion that he means Bella's funeral. Desperate after Bella's supposed death, Edward flees to Italy to see the Volturi, peace-keeping vampires who would be able to kill Edward, granting him leave of a world without Bella.

Bella and Alice rush to Italy to stop Edward, and save him before it is too late. Before they leave Italy, the Volturi tell them that Bella, a human who knows of the existence of vampires, must either be killed or changed into a vampire herself. After they return to Forks, Edward explains to Bella that he only left in order to protect her, and she forgives him. The book ends with the Cullens voting in favor of Bella being changed into a vampire, much to Edward's dismay.


BOOK THREE - ECLIPSE

The story begins with the revelation that Seattle is being plagued by a string of unsolved murders, which Edward suspects are being caused by a newborn vampire that is unable to control its thirst. Edward and Bella fill out college applications, while Bella explains to Edward her desire to see Jacob, her werewolf friend, again. Meanwhile, Alice Cullen has a vision that Victoria, a vampire who is hunting Bella, is back in town. Although Edward fears for her safety, Bella insists that Jacob and the rest of the werewolf pack would never harm her, and he eventually allows her to visit Jacob once in a while.

A few days later, Bella expresses her desire to have Edward make love to her before turning her into a vampire. Edward initially refuses, explaining to Bella that he could very easily kill her. Eventually, upon realizing how much it means to Bella, he agrees to try in the future as long as they are married first. Despite having an aversion to marriage, Bella realizes that spending eternity with Edward is more important to her than anything else and accepts his proposal.

Bella and the Cullens realize that the murders in Seattle are being committed by Victoria and an "army" of newborn vampires. The Cullen family joins forces with the werewolf pack in order to combat this threat. As everyone else prepares for battle, Edward and Bella camp up in the mountains, where they are later joined by Jacob and Seth Clearwater, a young member of the werewolf pack, to wait out the fight.

In the morning, Jacob overhears Edward and Bella discussing their engagement and becomes very upset. He threatens to join the fight and get himself killed because Bella doesn't love him. To stop him, Bella kisses Jacob and realizes that she loves him, too. After Victoria and her army are successfully destroyed, Bella explains to Jacob that while she loves him, her love for Edward is greater and she cannot live without him. Jacob, angry at Bella's decision to become a vampire, runs away in his wolf form to escape the pain he feels.


BOOK FOUR - BREAKING DAWN

Breaking Dawn is split into three separate "books", or parts. The first part details Bella's marriage and honeymoon with Edward, which they spend on a private island off the coast of Brazil. Edward grants Bella's wish and makes love to her. Soon after, Bella finds a box of unused tampons and realizes that she is pregnant. After contacting Carlisle, who confirms her belief, she and Edward plan to return home. Edward, concerned for her wellbeing, urges her to get an abortion. However, Bella wants to keep the child and decides to contact Rosalie for support, knowing that Rosalie has always wanted children.

The second part of the novel is written from Jacob Black's point of view, and lasts throughout Bella's pregnancy and childbirth. The pack of werewolves, not knowing what danger the unborn child may pose, make plans to destroy it, even though they must kill Bella to do so. Jacob, however, disagrees and revolts, leaving the pack and creating his own with Seth and Leah Clearwater. Bella soon gives birth, approximately a month after becoming pregnant. The birth breaks many of her bones and she loses massive amounts of blood, and in order to save her life, Edward changes her into a vampire. Jacob, who was present for the birth, immediately finds his soul mate in Bella's newborn daughter, Renesmee.

The final section of Breaking Dawn shifts back to Bella's perspective, who has been changed into a vampire and is enjoying her new life. However, the vampire Irina misidentifies Renesmee as an "immortal child", a child who has been turned into a vampire before it is old enough to be responsible for its actions. The creation and protection of "immortal children" was previously outlawed by the Volturi. After Irina presents her allegation to the Volturi, they plan to destroy Renesmee. In an attempt to save her, the Cullens gather vampires from around the world to stand as witnesses and prove to the Volturi that Renesmee is not an immortal child. Upon confronting the gathered Cullen allies and witnesses, the Volturi discover that they have been misinformed and immediately execute Irina for her mistake. However, they remain undecided on whether Renesmee should be viewed as a threat to the secret existence of vampires. At that time, Alice and Jasper, who had left prior to the confrontation, return with Nahuel, a 150-year-old vampire-human crossbreed like Renesmee. He demonstrates that the crossbreeds pose no threat and the Volturi leave, knowing that they no longer have just reason to destroy Renesmee. Bella, Edward, and Renesmee return to their home, free to live their lives in peace.

5 comments:

Jenny said...

Logic tells me that "newborn" vampires must be people freshly turned in to vampires, but I can't help picturing an army of tiny pale infants in diapers with fangs and widow's peaks and IT. IS. AWESOME.

Jenny said...

Oh yeah. And I can't believe I read that whole thing.

dn said...

I was wondering if anyone bothered reading it. I guess my interest outpaces everyone.

Anonymous said...

yeah, i pretty much tuned out when you said you weren't into LOTR.

i'm totally like you -- definitely not generally into fantasy stuff. i don't even really like superhero-type movies. but you are in the unique position, like i was, to read the Tolkien books before having seen the movies. highly recommended!!!

and if nothing else, you will at least start to understand half of the lyrics in led zep songs...

[~jeff.]

dn said...

I feel both the books and the films represent a huge time commitment that I am unwilling to make. I'll save it for when I'm old, infirm, and bedridden for months at a time.