There's one less unpublished girl at 2unpublishedgirls.com!
Word Count: 43,639
The flu hit our house this week. It took out Six last Friday and me on Tuesday, so there has been very little writing but a lot of TV watching happening this week. The two days I spent in bed I napped through the latest episode of Agents of Shield but did manage to stay awake to watch the Twilight movies.
And this is where the fight is going to start, because every time RB and I talk about the Twilight movies we argue. I’m a big fan of the Twilight books (and yes, I know they’re flawed) but I’m not a big fan of the movies. I think they sacrifice character development for action and pretty scenery and product placement. I think they try to make Bella more modern—more assertive, more feminist—and they lose the vulnerability that makes her sympathetic.
The movie that I think is the most broken is Breaking Dawn Part 2. That movie just makes me crazy. (And here’s where you should stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie and you don’t want to be SPOILER-ed, but honestly people, it’s been out for a year.) At the end of Breaking Dawn, the book, the Cullens and the Volturi face off, and the confrontation gets tense but there’s no fight because the Volturi realize that they’re outmatched and retreat. In the movie, there’s a battle, of course. Kind of. They play the entire protracted battle (and holy moses, it’s looong), and then they tell us it didn’t really happen, that it was a vision that Alice shared with the Volturi, and the Volturi retreat because they see that they can’t win the battle.
So, I’ll skip over the whole cheesy Bobby-in-the-shower thing they borrowed from Dallas circa 1985 because it’s so sad that it’s not worth talking about, to talk about the big problem: they switched protagonists at the end of the movie. Alice saved the day, so it’s Alice’s movie. And I love Alice, but if the last movie is Alice’s movie, then they probably should have made the first four movies Alice’s movies. (I totally would have gone to see those movies.)
I think the thing I love most about the Twilight books is Bella’s character arc. There’s this beautiful movement from powerless—vulnerable, fragile, isolated—to powerful. At the end she’s surrounded by family, she’s the strongest person in the room, and it’s her power that causes the Volturi to retreat. She saves the day. She moves from being the one who is rescued to the rescuer. She’s the hero of her own story.
But, you know, they needed a battle scene for the movie so they downplayed Bella’s power and made Alice the hero instead. What were they thinking? What were they thinking about? I understand that a big battle scene makes a sexier trailer than a standoff that ends with one party retreating, but come on. That was just bad story telling. You can’t take your protagonist’s power away and let a secondary character save the day unless that’s the story you’re telling from the beginning. I don’t know what story they were planning to tell with the movies—and I don’t think they knew, either—but it wasn’t a story about how Bella becomes a vampire and then Alice saves her from the Volturi. That story is crap.
So here’s the lesson I take for my own writing: Don’t sacrifice character development for sexy. Just don’t. Tell the story you intended to tell, even if it doesn’t have a fabulous battle scene for the movie trailer, and let your character’s transformation be the climax of the story. That story is worth watching.