Humor, Movies

So Now the Death Stare is Romantic?

Movie Analysis (with spoilers!!):

Twilight (2008)

Rating: 4 out of 10 stars

Intro

This analysis is a spoiler-filled review. If you don’t already know, my reviews that include spoilers are either for phenomenal movies that deserve analysis or movies that invite ridicule. I know many people enjoy the Twilight movies, but they are honestly poorly done and certainly not my style.

My siblings convinced me to watch it. I admit, romance is not my favorite genre, but this movie was particularly bad.

Background

Twilight was produced by Summit Entertainment and released in 2008.

The movie stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, and Peter Facinelli.

It can currently be watched on Netflix.

Analysis

The movie starts with 17-year-old Bella Swan leaving home to go live with her dad in Forks, Washington. This is followed by a scene in which Edward Cullen hunts and kills a deer. I think this is supposed to be serious, but seeing a guy come out of nowhere and grab a jumping deer was kind of hilarious. Watch the clip here.

There is something pretty respectable about deer hunting with a gun, but there is nothing remotely respectable about a pale teenager tackling a deer.

Soon afterwards we get to meet Jacob, one of Bella’s closest friends. His father Billy Black chats with them for awhile before trying to run someone over with his wheelchair. Bella hits Jacob with the door of the truck when she opens it, which reminds me of the movie Starstruck in which the heroine is hit by a car door. Both scenes are equally awkward, but the action seemed a little less pointless in Starstruck.

Bella joins in the middle of the semester, in March, and yet almost everyone with a speaking role either knows of her already or instantly is attracted to her. Mike introduces himself after she hits him in the back of the head with a volleyball, and he falls for her quickly. I guess it’s because she hit on him. Get it? With a volleyball?

(That was bad, I know.)

We meet the Cullen kids, who oddly enough are dating each other. I mean, I know that they are not technically biologically siblings, but it is still kind of strange to see the children of one family all around the exact same age and in love with each other.

The Cullen Teens

Immediately we get the first dramatic stare between Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Now, if Edward’s stares were comparable to anything, it would be the infamous Luigi Death Stare from the Mariokart games.

When Bella walks in to the Biology classroom, there is a fan behind her that blows her hair around. I guess that’s supposed to be attractive, but really, it’s just awkward and contrived. And why is that giant fan even necessary? It’s March in a setting that is almost always rainy or overcast.

Bella ends up sitting beside Edward, who is obviously extremely uncomfortable. Something about Bella really rubs him the wrong way.

Notice the wings of the owl right behind Edward, making him look like some pasty-looking angel.

Anyway, Bella finds out Edward tried to quit Biology because he had to sit next to her and is understandably confused and annoyed.

Meanwhile, random people are being hunted and killed by vampires. My instinct was to blame the pale Cullen family, but apparently they are goodie-goodie vampires. Or what was it Edward said? That they were basically vegetarians. Who drink the blood of animals. So basically the opposite of a vegetarian…Yeah, he’s pretty bad at metaphors.

Despite the fact the relationship between Bella and Edward is supposed to be all romantic and cute, they have zero chemistry. They discuss the weather. They have apparently nothing in common. Edward apologizes, saying he is just trying to figure her out, as if she is a complex math problem instead of a one-note protagonist.

Then more staring until finally, the action starts! Bella almost is hit by a vehicle, which Edward stops easily with a hand. Before sneaking away, he stares deep into Bella’s eyes.

Then Bella dreams of Edward in her room. Or that is what she says happened. But I’m pretty sure if you’re awake when it happens, it’s either a hallucination or reality–not a dream. Later we will find out it’s the latter, which is so freakin’ creepy. Edward would literally be the perfect murderer if he was not a lovesick vampire.

“Bella, we shouldn’t be friends,” Edward says randomly a few days after their awkward interaction about the weather and Bella’s rescue from certain death. Bella really wants to be besties, however, because she won’t let him off the hook. He makes some stupid excuses suggesting he didn’t actually stop a car with his bare hands. Honestly, you would think someone who hid over a hundred years in plain sight would get used to lying about supernatural powers.

There’s a subsequent scene where an apple is dropped and it looks super unlikely and seems to serve no purpose. You can watch it here in the first few seconds of the video. The only reason I can think of for it being in the movie at all is that it could be a subtle reference to the cover art of Twilight.

Edward suggests that he is the bad guy in the story, which is not necessarily true. He’s just a 108-year-old man child who watches a girl minor sleep without her permission or knowledge long before they started dating.

You know what? Maybe he is a bad guy.

Another human bites the dust when the nomadic vampires come to feast again. Their fast movements look basically like the film was fast forwarded, not realistic at all.

Bella and her friends go dress shopping, but Bella is not into it. Clearly it’s another one of those “not like the other girls” tropes.

After dress shopping, poor helpless Bella is rescued from a bunch of potential rapists by Edward, who has been stalking her. He stares them down until they leave.

You heard me. He stares at them. I mean look at this. Wouldn’t it scare you away?

The Stare

I mean, it does make me uncomfortable. But I don’t see how it would be sufficient deterrent for a rowdy bunch of drunk rapists.

Edward tells Bella to distract him so he doesn’t go back and kill the men who were threatening Bella. Apparently that doesn’t clue her off to the fact that maybe, just maybe, he isn’t just a hot guy. On that note–he really isn’t, according to both of my siblings. I never think of people as hot, nor do I really understand what makes someone hot, so I can’t speak my mind on the subject, but I trust my siblings. This dude is not hot.

Then they bond over the fact that they both know the square root of pi. Now being a nerd is cool, in my opinion, but I still don’t like Bella or Edward, and especially not Bella and Edward.

He cannot read her mind, which is definitely not explained, at least in this movie. He can read everyone else’s mind, except hers. Now that makes me think of Nendo. In The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, Saiki K can read everyone’s mind, including animals, but he can’t read Nendo’s mind. Why? Because Nendo is so abysmally stupid. Maybe he can’t read her mind because she doesn’t think?

Edward has all these lackluster pick up lines that are creepy for any guy to use who doesn’t know her well. “I feel very protective of you” and “I don’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore.”

His hands are always cold, which I don’t know why she is cool with, because she literally says earlier how she dislikes cold things like rain.

Bella studies vampires when she gets the chance, reading articles in particular about Egyptian vampires. Because obviously if you are looking for info about vampires in the U.S., Egypt is the place to study.

Bella says the Edward is a vampire and he admits to it.

He also says he is 17 years old and has been for a long time. Now that’s simply inaccurate. If people were assigned ages based on appearance, I would have been marked down as a 12-year-old even when I was 17. No, age is based on how many years have elapsed since one’s birth. So yeah, he’s 108 years old.

Edward gives Bella an awkward superspeed piggy back ride to the top of the mountain to show off his sparkly skin. What’s better than a pasty vampire, you wonder? A bedazzled one, clearly. He seems to think he is hideous, but Bella apparently is attracted to people who could be used as disco balls.

And people who have killed. And people who subsist on blood. And people who literally have to resist the urge to eat her.

Edward compares their budding relationship to a lion falling in love with a lamb. This guy sucks at pickup lines. I mean, comparing yourself to a predator and your crush to prey is not the best way to get a date. But man, Bella is digging it.

Edward takes Bella to his house, where everyone is awkwardly nice to her except Rosalie, who without provocation destroys a poor salad bowl. The others do their best to whip up some dinner for her, but obviously are as clueless as me when it comes to cooking.

As they walk to Edward’s bedroom, they pass a wall of graduation caps. The five Cullen kids have graduated countless times, and all I can think is why? Why don’t they get jobs? Or move on? Why do they think they need to repeat high school in a new place over and over again.

There we learn that Edward doesn’t sleep, but we knew that. He wouldn’t have time anyway, what with watching Bella sleep.

They attempt dancing in the room, but Bella is reluctant and doesn’t really feel like it. He says, “Well, I could always make you.”

Um, what?

Then he calls her his spider monkey and carries her into the trees on his back. Spider monkey. That’s so cringey.

After more awkwardness, this interaction is finally over.

She has some father-daughter time. Her dad orders for them at the restaurant, picking a steak for himself and a salad for her. If my dad did that, I would be less than thrilled.

Next, a kissing scene that looks like…just not right. I’ve seen a lot of people kiss on TV, and their kissing looks more like the kissing from Jumanji than anything actually romantic.

The only other interesting things that happen in this movie is vampire baseball and the actual villain hunting Bella. And the baseball is just a bunch of superpowered people playing so loudly the thunder has to mask it. Then a rival team shows up, a bunch of vampires that want to play until they smell Bella. Then they just want a snack. (They have really short attention spans.)

One of them, James, hunts Bella until the end of the movie where he is burnt alive, but not before biting Bella. Yep, that got dark real quick.

Bella has vampire venom in her, which Edward sucks out of her. He is almost unable to stop himself from sucking out all her blood, but hey, no harm done.

She wakes up in a hospital bed with a broken leg.

The movie ends with a prom. I guess he did make her dance after all.

Conclusion

Overall, Twilight is a bizarre and unconvincing romance. If this is what romance is supposed to look like, I want nothing to do with it. I would not recommend it for any audience, unless you just want a few laughs.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate movies, check out my rating system.

Links

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Finch for their feedback on this article.

Music

Character Playlists: Quinn

Intro

My current work-in-progress is a novel that follows the journey of five “heroes” who must decide whether or not to obey their master, a sentient force whose life energy is inextricably connected with their own. If they follow its prophecies, they risk losing their identities and becoming its pawns forever, but resistance means risking its wrath—and fighting a battle no one has won before. Their story is narrated by a spy forced to recount the heroes’ journey, whose power to read minds offers omniscience but not answers, whose obsession with mortal snack foods and self-destruct buttons could have terrible consequences, and whose passive aggressiveness knows no bounds…

Recently I started making playlists for each of my characters with music that reminds me of each character. These playlists are made up of songs my siblings and I listen to. Below I share my playlist for the character Quinn.

Quinn’s Playlist

Conclusion

This is the link to my full Spotify Playlist for Quinn. I’ll be adding songs over time, so be sure to check it out.

I will post new playlists for my other characters, so look out for upcoming blog articles! The number of songs doesn’t necessarily denote the importance of a character, it’s just how well songs I know fit the character.

Do any of my fellow writers have character playlists? If so, comment below so I can check them out! If not, I challenge you to try it and share!

Shows

This She-Ra Remake is Surprisingly Good

Show Review:

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 1

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars

Warning! Minor spoilers ahead for Season 1!

Review

Anyone who has been reading my content for awhile knows that I adore kids shows when they are made in a way that adult audiences can appreciate. Yet I was still skeptical about this one. It just looked childish to me from the pictures, and my sister’s claims that it was as good as or better than Avatar: The Last Airbender didn’t assuage my doubts.

I was wrong to judge it so quickly. It is one of the best cartoons I have watched in my life, even if I still like Avatar: The Last Airbender better.

The first season begins with Adora, the main character, working as a soldier for the evil Horde. She has been brought up to believe that the Horde’s missions are benevolent in nature, and that the Horde’s enemies–the princesses–are wicked. One day she ventures outside of the Fright Zone, which is the headquarters of the Horde, and finds a magic sword. The princess Glimmer and her friend Bow capture Adora. They try to get the sword for themselves, but Adora manages to use it. This sword transforms her into the legendary She-Ra.

Even though Adora has several opportunities to escape from Glimmer and Bow, she does not. This is because she comes upon a town burned by the Horde and realizes there is something wrong with what the Horde is doing. Adora comes to realize that the Horde has lied to her and that they are attacking innocent people.

She joins Glimmer and Bow and they take her to Bright Moon, where she joins the rebellion against the Horde. The first season focuses on building the rebellion’s forces.

Adora’s best friend from the Horde, Catra, is devastated by Adora’s abandonment of her and the Horde. Catra’s character development is one of the best parts of Season 1 and of seasons to come. Her mental and emotional breakdowns, her mourning, her pride, and her jealousy make her a well-rounded and sympathetic villain.

Catra vs. She-Ra

Despite being very good, the first season in a lot of ways is the set-up for what is to come. As the rebellion grows, several episodes each introduce a new princess who is not very well-developed in the first season. Background information is established and relationships begin to development and change.

There are many funny parts such as when Adora discovers things like parties and horses for the first time, because her experience has been limited in the horde.

Entrapta

My favorite character in the first season is Entrapta. From her love of tiny foods to her passion for anything science, she is a hilarious character. Her prehensile hair makes her even more interesting.

The intro seems more childish than the show itself, and I just couldn’t get behind the song. It’s fine–but it could be better.

The design is attractive, with bright colors and a beautiful palette that features various hues of pink and purple. Character design looks good, with representation of various skin colors and body types. Some people, mostly men, criticized the show because She-Ra doesn’t look sexy enough–but I can’t see why that is a problem, especially since the show promotes body positivity.

Animation is decent but not amazing. It’s kind of oversimplified, but it doesn’t look bad.

LGBTQ+ representation is present in the first season, but not as obvious as in later seasons. Spinnerella and Netossa are married princesses, but their relationship is not explored in the first season. There is more to come.

The names are not particularly creative, but they come directly from the 1980s series She-Ra: Princess of Power. Since the new show was loosely inspired by the 1980s one, I don’t consider this lack of creativity a con. Examples are Catra for a character with cat features, Bow for an archer, Perfuma for a girl with flower power, etc.

I would certainly recommend this season for most people ages 8 and up. I especially recommend it for fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. If you are expecting it to be anything like the 1980s show She-Ra: Princess of Power, you will be disappointed because it is vastly different from the moralistic and old-fashioned episodes of She-Ra: Princess of Power.

Final Breakdown

Pros

  • Great for children and adults
  • Attractive design choices
  • Representation of different body types and skin colors
  • LGBTQ+ representation

Cons

  • Overly childish intro

Observations

  • Decent animation
  • Names are not creative, but they are directly from the original She-Ra series from the 1980s
  • Not very similar to the original She-Ra

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Board Games

Board Game Review: Terraforming Mars

Board Game Review:

Terraforming Mars

Rating: 8.6 out of 10 stars

Intro

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Terraforming Mars is my favorite board game. I am willing to admit it has its shortcomings, but it is my go-to game when choosing what to play. I very rarely win. In fact, I have only won it once, and I took a picture as a memento. (Picture on left.)

The fact that I love the game despite constantly losing it says a lot about the game. It’s a game that makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something no matter what your score.

Objective

What I hope to accomplish with my board game reviews is to introduce you to a new game and help you determine whether the game is a good fit for you. I will consider and rank five criteria: gameplay, design, strategy, originality, and replayability.

Description

Terraforming Mars is a strategy board game for 1-5 players. It utilizes mechanics such as hand management, engine building, and set collection. The theme is set in the year 2400, when various corporations are attempting to increase their profits by making Mars habitable.

Gameplay (10 out of 10 stars)

It’s a pretty complex game, but I’ll try to simplify it here. Obviously for the complete rules, consult the instruction booklet that comes with the game.

Basically, during the game you are trying to boost your terraforming rating as much as possible. You can do this by using cards to build your corporate empire, using tiles to transform the surface of Mars, boosting the temperature, increasing the oxygen level on the planet, or creating oceans.

The cards are varied and include those that boost your production levels, those that introduce animals or plants to the planet, those that allow you to hurl meteorites and asteroids at your foes, those that can be played again as actions each generation, those that reduce the cost of future cards, etc.

You can fund awards or reach achievements to gain endgame points as well as gain bonuses for placement of tiles.

The corporations give beginning of the game bonuses as well as powers that can affect gameplay.

Design (5 out of 10 stars)

Design includes two categories: art and components.

The art leaves much to be desired. Much of it is from free stock photos. All the photos fit the theme, but they could’ve done better.

The components are mostly pretty good, except the player mats. The player mat shown in the picture above is from a kickstarter, mostly because the originals were basically unusable, so flat that pieces would constantly be moving around. It was hard to remember what level all my stats were at, so until we got the kickstarter player boards, we would use a separate piece of paper to keep track of stats.

Strategy (10 out of 10 stars)

The strategy level is high in this game because you have so many options. Will you focus on increasing your Mega Credit production, or on titanium or steel? Will you mostly plant greeneries or build cities, carve out oceans or raise the temperature? Which corporation will you choose? When will you invest in cards and when will you save your mega credits for the next opportunity? Do you sabotage opponents and risk retaliation or play it safe?

Originality/Creativity (9 out of 10 stars)

The game mechanics are pretty original when paired with the theme. I don’t know of any other Mars-themed games that can stand up to this one.

Replayability (9 out of 10 stars)

I would replay this anytime, but I know not everyone would. Its length usually lasts longer than the 2 hours suggested, even with our house rules that shorten the game. (In our house, we start with 1 production on each track on the player boards and do not have to buy our initial cards.) The length does make it hard to replay unless we are planning ahead.

Conclusion

I fully recommend this game, but caution that it is not for everyone. If you like medium-weight engine-building games, this is probably a good one for you.