Saturday, 21 November 2009

Everyone's a critic

After 24 hours on release, the next installment in the Twilight saga, New Moon, is breaking all kinds of records. There's even talk of the sensual sequel beating The Dark Knight in its opening weekend.

But although the fans are turning out in droves to get their fill of virginal vampire action, not everyone's over the moon (sorry) about the latest installment of the popular franchise. The critics have been predictably harsh about it, describing it as "tedious, long-winded" and "lamely unconvincing".

Fortunately, movies like this are as immune to criticism as Edward Cullen is to sunlight. Instead of bursting into flames like a traditional vampire should, the pouting hair-do simply glitters and sparkles like he just woke up under a drag queen. Likewise, the film's producers, Summit Entertainment, can sit back and watch the cash roll in as a result of all the free publicity.

So it's unlikely that anyone will lose any sleep over the latest negative review to hit the headlines - even if the critic in question is speaking on behalf of the Almighty himself. Displaying an incisive understanding of cinema second only to the inimitable Paul Ross, the Vatican has condemned New Moon as a "deviant moral vacuum".

Speaking on behalf of the Pontifical Council of Culture, Monsignor Franco Perazzolo claims that he's concerned about the film's reliance on the "age-old trick... of using extremes to make an impact..." Which sounds an awful lot like he's got an issue with the depiction of good and evil, although I can't imagine his boss would agree with him.

Ironically, the Catholic church may be dismayed by the series' lack of morals, but many other people are switched off by Twilight's 'over the clothes' approach to teenage sexuality. Written as a non-too-subtle metaphor for teenage abstinence, the books and subsequent movie adaptations revel in surging hormones and chaste romance. In author Stephenie Meyer's world, it's fine to fraternise with werewolves and vampires, as long as you keep your knickers on.

The problem is, modern teenagers aren't well-versed in the interpretation of metaphor and subtext. As a result, the overriding memory they'll take away from New Moon, is countless scenes depicting the buff boys of the Quileute tribe bursting out of their denim cut-offs to reveal their hairy animal side. If the movie's lead characters make a virtue of tearing off their pants at the earliest opportunity, what's to stop the impressionable audience following (birthday) suit?

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