Yesterday I re-watched all 5 Twilight films. And I am not ashamed and I will do it again someday. However, how awfully awkward are the amateurish plot devices and the endless inconsistencies in characterisation and mythos! It is a hack job at best, saved by the rolling shots of forests and snow caped mountains and a gorgeous soundtrack.
What struck me hardest on this viewing is the Cullen family’s arguably inappropriate display of wealth and privilege. As an out and proud critic of capitalism/imperialism and all forms of tyranny; I declare that there is no wealth that has not come at the expense of others.
The Cullens’ must have ripped off a lot of folk over the years because they hold far more than their fair share of the Earth’s resources.
Awkward Plot Device
To be discrete; and to not draw attention to themselves; the Cullen kids attend high school over and over again. This is so they can start out aged 16 and reduce the probability that neighbours may notice over the next 10- 20 years how none of them look any older. It is really important for vampires to blend in and to not be noticed as being different. It is so important that discretion is regulated by the self appointed police of the vampire world, the Volturi. It is also important that the Cullen’s live in small towns to be close to wild spaces to hunt wild animals to eat.
Plot Device: epic fail
Forks is a small town on the coast supported by tree felling and the fishing industry. Five foster kids, four who are coupled, attend the small local high-school. Edward, Alice, Jasper, Emmett and Rosalee are all super beautiful, with perfectly styled hair, stiletto heels, designer clothes and select their vehicles from a private fleet of brand new European cars. They are all white as ghosts and “weird” and speak as if they are from another time. They don't come to school on sunny days, they never actually eat anything and they don't look or act like teenagers. They are not friends with other students and their family is not friends with any of the local families. Their dad works at the local hospital, and drives a “ I’m mega rich” car and shirts so shiny and well fitted they look hand spun by angels. The Cullens are anything but discrete.
Fat Piggery and Greed
Why are the Cullen’s such conspicuous consumers? Surely this is fatally incompatible with the whole premise of seeking to blend in and go unnoticed?
Don't you think:
a) this is really insensitive of them making everyone else in Forks feel like untouchable peasants?
b) this is really stupid because it makes them like local celebrities?
c) they could be doing a lot more to support local businesses, sustainability and environment?
d) the excessive bloated consumption of those with disposable income is a major player in accelerating climate change, deforestation, loss of animal habitats, intensive farming, and a general degradation of the earth leading in the direction of a dead planet. Are the Cullens among the worst example of this kind of individualistic and excessive consumption?
What kind of values do the Cullen's really have? Are we supposed to think they are saints because they don't eat humans but rather eat endangered species? They actively reduce the already diminished populations of bears, wolves and cougars.
Charlie and the Quileutes
Let’s contrast the Cullen family with Bella’s dad. Charlie lives simply in a small house, drives an 15 year old American made police car and is best friends with Billy and Harry and knows the name of everyone in town. The two Quileute houses we see on the reservation, Billy and Sam and Emily's are small, simple making a minimal environmental impact. We can see that Charlie and the Quileutes are resourceful, restoring a ute for Bella and Jacob scrapes recycled resources together to restore vintage cars and bikes. Apart from the reckless destruction of 100s of pairs of shorts in the film by the shape-shifters; the Quileute and Charlie are supporting local community and the environment. Jacob has “ know how”, whereas Edward only has “ buy how”.
Bella’s Guilded Cage
In New Moon and Eclipse we see Bella spending time with the Quileute community, where she is accepted in her old clothes, old ute and pony tail. She laughs, teases, eats and sits about the fire to share in the Quileute stories. There is always a feeling of warmth and friendliness and joy when Bella is with Jacob and his people.
This is in direct opposition to Bella with the Cullen’s. where she exhibits low self worth, hides her feelings, is lied to and controlled by Edward and is dressed like a doll by Alice so that Bella better fits into their awkward and cold aristocratic world. The Cullen's mock Bella's old ute and on engagement Edward insists she drives a custom made European car, further separating her from her local community. Bella is forced into uncomfortable stiletto heels and married in an ostentatious garden wedding and designer gown creating a gulf between Bella and her previous community. Akin to joining a totalitarian cult, by coupling with Edward, Bella is ultimately completely separated from her mother, father, friends and community.
At the end of the books/films there is a sense that Bella can balance the two worlds. That she can be both vampire-consumer-monster and a part of Charlie's and the Quileute world. This is a falsity because it is shown in Eclipse that vampires residing in the region destabilises the Quileute tribe by activating the wolf shape shifting abilities in even small children and attracts more vampires resulting in multiple murders.
CONCLUSION: the Cullen lifestyle is grossly greedy, and representative of the bloated consumerism that is destroying our planet. By choosing the Cullen lifestyle over that of her parents and friends; Bella intentionally severed herself from community, any sense of environmental consciousness, friends and family and became just another monster of consumption. She also arguably loses her soul by becoming a demonic, inhuman creature. Shame Bella...