Tag Archives: contrived romance

Top 5 Ways I Would Fix “Twilight”

    “Twilight” is a film in a movie that in my opinion are just awful. I got a third of the way through the book and only got through the movie because I was watching it with close friends so it was fun to make fun of how cheap it all looked and how hackney the writing was and how problematic many of the themes are. Now usually I’d do a review with a score but criticisms of “Twilight” have been done to death so I decided to take a different approach. Why not instead of just critiquing it I offer solutions to fix it, and well here are my Top 5 Solutions to make “Twilight” a good movie. Keep in mind that I am just going off the movie and not the extended universe. I don’t care about that stuff. These are just 5 solutions to fix the film based off the characters that make up the film. So without further ado, here are my Top 5 Ways I’d Fix “Twilight.”

 

5 – Make it About Laurent 

The film I imagine is more akin to “Interview With a Vampire,” with Bella getting the story of Vampires from an actual vampire who eats people but keeps it on the down low. This is exactly what this character does and because of it he never stops being threatening and cool. I wanted more about this guy as he was traveler so had no doubt seen a lot. The fact that he was based in the States means he could have been a former slave and seeing that perspective, especially in a vampire film would be something completely new. This side character was the best part of the film and if the film had bothered to be about him could have been great. This is more of a traditional vampire story and is a whole lot better than “Twilight” and it leaves Bella with the choice to join or fight against what he is doing. Keep in mind, I don’t know his story in the books or in later films, this is based off the first impression I got from “Twilight” the film.

4 – Give a Reason for Wanting to be a Vampire – Terminal Illness 

Bella needs a reason to risk everything including her life possibly…having mortality or suffering at stake makes that possible. Whether it is Bella wanting to turn so she can save her father or simply to save herself it gives a dilemma as it shows the Vampires as selfish if there are no real consequences to becoming a vampire (there aren’t any downsides in the film really), though if we get that becoming a vampire is an actual curse because like traditional you become a parasite who kills or turns others and needs humans as a source for food…well that is different and it takes the same premise as stated above and raises the threat. This isn’t a romance, though there can be some romance there…it is a matter of survival and the choices of desperation and mortality.

3 – Cullen Civil War 

Vampires are ancient beings so you get that there would be different ideologies. The Cullens are bland and are the weakest part of this film. What could have fixed that is giving a dilemma. We can still have the vampires who don’t eat humans, but there should be conflict over that. Some of the family should hunt humans making the romance more dangerous as well as making Bella pulled into something much bigger than herself. I think they do this in later movies but we don’t need other vampires when you can achieve the same thing with the Cullens. Make them scary and give different ideologies that are in play, those who want to get along with the humans and remain invisible (Professor X mentality to some degree) or to subjugate the humans and who plot to enslave or control the food source (Magneto’s mindset to some degree). This drama alone could be explored in a fascinating way through the film, you don’t even need the romance for it to work as Bella could be our audience insert into exploring this conflict through her friendship with one of the people (Alice or Edward most likely).

2 – The Cullens Attack the School – Survival Horror film 

This could have been a horror film. Bella’s friends are some of the more interesting characters in the film. Anna Kendrick is the popular girl, she’s friends with a jock, a stoner and quite a few nerds. Hell I wanted to see a film about this group of kids fighting vampires in their school. This is a book that could have gone full Buffy. What if the Cullens decide to use the school as a feeding ground during the eclipse or a dance…this could be a fun and campy horror film with actual tension and the characters who I liked could become fully fleshed out rather than being left behind to explore the bland Cullens, Bella and Edward. More Vampire films and stories need more “Buffy,” one of the best shows that made vampires scary and complex. If you truly have to throw in a romance make Edward more than a cipher and have him actually dealing with the curse and being a murder rather than the moody guy who hunts deer. Hell he can be our Angel in the story if there “has” to be a romance rather than the organic romance between friends in a survival situation.

1 – Leaving a Toxic Relationship – An Empowerment Story

       The final way that “Twilight” could be fixed is being more explicit in the toxic nature of the romance going on. This could be a story of Bella escaping abuse from a controlling stalker boyfriend and her realizing that he is those things is what happens as well as her taking control of her agency to free herself. He is vampire so the threat is even greater as we see her slowly put her life back together, find allies in her school friends and in the end take out Edward when he doesn’t take no for answer, since the character we meet is a toxic, controlling stalker anyway. This is a story about empowerment and a fully fleshed out Bella rather than the cipher who rewards toxic behavior and abuse that we see in the film and in the book.

I hope you liked my list. If you have ideas if your own I’d like to hear them. I plan to do more lists like this in the future as simply scoring a bad film and ranting about it gets old, and it is so much more fun coming up with solutions rather than just ranting about problems.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014): A Great Approach to a Space Marines and Alien Invasion Story

Edge of Tomorrow

“Edge of Tomorrow,” directed by Doug Liman has along with “Pacific Rim,” helped re-establish my faith in original Sci. Fi. stories in regards to Hollywood. I’ll get into the why in the assessment, but first the premise which in and of itself is promising.

It is loosely based off the Japanese light novel “All you Need is Kill,” where Rita’s name comes from as well as the origin and name of the mimics and the UDF (United Defense Force). After watching the movie I look forward to reading it in full.

Edge of Tomorrow is about Cage (Tom Cruise) a corrupt army officer who is conscripted into the final battle against the mimics (the aliens who have conquered nearly all of Europe), resisting every step of the way he is on the battlefield and it is there he kills an Alpha (mimic general) and get’s it’s blood in his system which allows him the powers of the mimics to repeat each day. From here it is him being trained by and working with Rita (Emily Blunt) to stop the mimics conquest of Earth.

Here is the assessment:

The Pros: The premise – Is awesome! He’s basically living in a videogame, but the A.I. (other characters) can end his infinite lives if they give him a health pack (Blood transfusion) rather than killing him…it makes thing at stake, not to mention the trauma of having to die again and again “Groundhog Day,” style. The premise is fascinating since it’s ties to videogames are more subtle than other movies (“The Gamer,” etc.).

The technology – The United Defense Force (UDF) has a unique take on Space Marine outfits. They are mixture of modern day but also have new and old things (robotic arms that can fire attached to the back, and in the case of Rita’s character – a sword). You can tell they took tribute from Warhammer 40K and Starcraft (two of my favorite sci. fi. worlds).

The Characters – It would have been easy to make all the characters stereotypes…but the movie resists that. Tom Cruise’s Cage being a media relations slimy coward (reminiscent of Wikus from “District 9,”) is great. Cruise usually always plays likable characters so it is nice seeing him play someone who will die a bunch of times before he finally learns to be a decent human being.

Rita – Emily Blunt’s character Rita is awesome. Nicknamed “The Full Metal Bitch,” she is tough and complex…a commander worth following and someone who has been hardened by war but can see the bigger picture because of her getting the ability that Cage had at one point earlier before the film takes place.

The Squad – Cage’s squad of criminals is pretty awesome. They each have interesting quirks that set them apart from others in this genre. From the guy who doesn’t wear pants and lets it all hang out, to Ford who took his friend’s place after his friend was killed, to Nance who is a bit crazy.

The military/United Defense Force – Isn’t perfect in this, it isn’t some jingoistic tribute to them like most Michael Bay and Oliver Stone movie…it is a bunch of human being in a tough situation trying to deal with it as best they can. You see this in their fear of Rita and Cage when they find out about their abilities and to their following “The Plan” of the invasion of Normandy even after Cage and Rita have proven they see that it will fail. The good (heroism against the invasion) and bad (unquestioning loyalty above all else, distrust of new ideas or things) is shown really well in this film.

The tribute – The invasion of Normandy as a tribute to D-Day is handled well too. The human cost is shown by Cage living the failed invasion (in this universe) each day. You get to know the characters and what drives them. Their, “So what’s?” in regards to what they do.

Okay: The script – Didn’t have fantastic writing, but was okay. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t elevate anything since it tried going for a pretty weak trope that I’ll go into in the cons.

The cinematography – The cinematography isn’t anything special. It is better than Doug Liman’s other stuff (the Bourne Series) but that isn’t saying much. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great.

The Mimics – A lesser version of the Tyranids and Zerg. There were some interesting ideas with them but like the Muto in “Godzilla,” they weren’t fully realized. Found the Kaiju in “Pacific Rim,” more compelling. These guys weren’t bad…but the Tyranids and Zerg (where I think the inspiration came from) have a lot more complexity as a species. The Mimic’s Omega (Think Zerg OVermind – controlling brain), is just kind of their and we don’t get their motivations. Cage says their motivations don’t matter at one point, but I disagree – motivations make a peoples or individual compelling.

The Ending – It leaves you thinking if it’s all just in his head and if the Omega came back…since it never explains how he’s repeated the day with them victorious. This kind of takes away from the sacrifices and they go with the implied romance at the end again…when that was one of the weaker parts of the film.

Cons: The Romance – Rita (The Full Metal Bitch) falls in love with Cage (Tom Cruise). What the hell? We see no reasons for this, since she is a pretty asexual character, devoted fully to her cause. She saves his him multiple times, but also kills him multiple times. The friendship eventually makes sense…it is her learning to trust again, not the romance.

The sexualization Rita – A lot of times her character is shot in such ways that sexualize her for Cage. From her doing Yoga (and you hearing a really strong breathing in) to her kissing him at the end. Again, she’s the Full Metal Bitch…Cage is never comparable to that…in the end he is an average corrupt Joe who becomes more…but not someone who seems to interest her in any way at all. It was tacked on and brought the film down. If they wrote her differently it would be more believable, but not for the character we see and come to know.

I recommend this film highly. It is no “Pacific Rim,” (see how Rita was handled) or “District 9” (Tom Cruise is no Sharlto Copley) but it is a really good film. Not the best this summer (that still goes to “Captain America: Winter Soldier” – Which I saw months before starting this blog) but it is an enjoyable experience and manages to change some tropes and handle other sci. fi. tropes in such a way to create a really compelling story. One of my favorite films for sure and the best Tom Cruise Sci. Fi. film since “Minority Report.”

I give this film an 8.4 / 10.