Monday, 10 December 2012

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

“I’m tired of this. From now on I’m Switzerland, ok?”

This film is much like its predecessor; better written, shot and acted than the first, but based around a disturbing and dangerous piece of socially conservative ideology, namely the whole “no sex before marriage thing”, which is a reckless and immoral thing to tell the young girls at whom this series of films is aimed.

The early scenes include a lot of talk about marriage, including a line where Bella describes it as an “institution”. Let’s make on thing clear; it is no such thing. A marriage is a declaration of love and commitment between people, whether gay or straight. It’s private. It should NOT be an “institution”, regulated by the state. It’s usually those on the right who want to privatise things, but I say we should privatise marriage. The state has no right to impose itself on something so private. I hate it when right-wing politicians talk about stuff like tax breaks for married couples; this is Stalinist social engineering.

Don’t worry: I’m off my soapbox now. I still hate that controlling wanker Edward though. Yay for Charlie and his much-needed offer of pepper spray! This film essentially picks up most of the pre-existing plot threads and puts them in the context of Bella’s high school graduation. Edward’s behaviour towards Bella looks more and more disturbingly controlling (NOT kinky, whatever Fifty Shades of Grey may have been based on: this is just straightforward emotional manipulation shading into abuse). As Jacob rightly says, he lies to her. It’s looking depressingly certain that Bella is doomed to fall under Edward’s creepy spell, though. Jake is jealous, but the whole force of the narrative is against him. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a massive fight for the position of alpha male, but there can only be one winner.

I really don’t like the scene in which Edward warns Bella that sex with him would be a dangerous, violent thing. The subtext is that sex is scary, bad, and to be avoided except for the strict purpose of begetting children from within wedlock. Bollocks. Nor do I like Rosalie- she dreamed of the sort of life that social conservatives approve of for women until becoming a vampire (for which read pre-marital sex) ruined her life forever. This is dangerous stuff. Stephenie Meyer may seem cool, and put Muse in every one of the movies somewhere, but the ideology she’s peddling is deeply, deeply dangerous.

Bella explicitly declares herself to be a virgin. Edward declares himself to be “old school”. Patriarchy, much? I may be burdened with a Y chromosome, but the Twilight films are really, really awakening my inner feminist. Sadly, though, we end with their wedding being arranged. This is NOT a happy ending.

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