Are you excited about the new Twilight film, which premiered in London last night? If so, what the hell’s wrong with you? What are you, 11? It’s a film about vampires! Grow up!
By exploiting the juvenile obsession of Twi-Hards everywhere, the Twilight movies have become a runaway global phenomenon. In America, the third film in the saga, Eclipse, is opening on more screens than any other film in history.
The original books have sold 100 million copies, an alarming number of which were bought by adults who really ought to have graduated to more sophisticated reading matter by now. Stig Of The Dump, say, or The Adventures Of Captain Underpants.
Irritatingly, despite the fact they’re adaptations of cookie-cutter kids’ books, the films are able to present themselves as faintly edgy on the strength of their soundtracks. The latest one boasts songs from such glowering, vampiric goth rockers as, er, The Bravery and Florence And The Machine.
It’s a smokescreen. The Twilight films are as bland and conformist as an episode of The OC. Bella, Edward and their moon-faced cohorts are not characters, they’re hollow ciphers. Robert Pattinson can’t even manage facial expressions. He’s a blank head, a void space, a balloon with a quiff.
How have so many cynical-by-nature British kids fallen for this clean-cut bilge? The whole thing’s so emo, so profoundly American. The protagonists are supposedly “outcasts”, although you’d never guess from their gleaming smiles and bulging pecs. They certainly don’t act like any teenagers I’ve ever seen.
They don’t really do anything, in fact, they just talk about how they feel. Endlessly. They’re not even proper goths. For most of New Moon, the blokes sit around with their shirts off, flexing their abs, like male models who got lost on their way back from a Dolce & Gabbana ad audition.
Who are these dorks? Vampires are supposed to be sexy. If you had to have torrid bareback sex with a supernatural being, you’d definitely pick Count Dracula over, say, a zombie (too stupid), or a werewolf (too scratchy).
But there’s no sex in these films. Only a church-going Yank like Stephanie Meyer could enlist vampires – the ultimate metaphor for transgressive desire – in the service of a drab fable about abstinence.
But I might as well howl at the moon, Teenwolf-style, as critique this stuff. It’s all of a piece with the childish nerdification of pop culture. Snoop Dogg’s written a song, ’Oh Sookie’, about how much he wants to bone the lady from True Blood. Meanwhile, Orbital invite Doctor Who onstage at Glastonbury.
What next, Richard Hawley plays Latitude dressed as Lion-O out of Thundercats? Grow up, people. I’m not saying there’s no room for fantasy and escapism in film and music. But let’s at least act our age here.