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The VMA’s Really, Really Suck

September 7, 2008 3 comments

OMG. The VMAs are really, really awful. I watched them last year, so I probably shouldn’t have expected that they would be anything else but a train wreck….I thought they really had a lot going for them though. Guess I was wrong.

With hopefully not too much of the show left, some of my thoughts on what’s happening:

  • I tuned it for exactly two reasons: the Jonas Brothers, and the cast of Twilight. It is absolutely TERRIBLE how the Jonas Brothers are being treated at the VMAs right now. All week, MTV used the Jonas Brothers (and almost solely the Jonas Brothers) in promos for the VMAs….obviously to bring in viewers. All night, Host Russell Brand Bland has insulted them and used them as the butt of extremely lewd jokes. So much so that half-way through the show he was obviously forced to (half) apologize to the sullen looking Jonas Brothers…poor boys..only to continue to joke about them for the rest of the evening.
  • The Jonas Brothers performance….I liked it, but there seemed to be something weird going on with the mics halfway through. They also looked extremely nervous. Did anyone else notice that? Love Bug is such a beautiful song, but unfortunately it will probably be lost amongst the truly abysmal but flashier pyro-heavy performances of the night.
  • As for the other reason I tuned it: the Twilight cast (Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and Cam Gigandet) stumbled out from backstage, looking as clueless as every other presenter, and awkwardly trying to figure out how to cram themselves into the narrow aisle they were given. Robert Pattinson was only able to say two words before Russell interupted him…I have no idea why. It was incredibly awkward.

At least they all looked nice?

  • The performances are all over the place. I mean that in every sense of the word. There have been very few performances actually in the venue…on sound stages, at some random club. I imagine it would be incredibly boring to be an audience member…I think I’m probably seeing more by watching it on TV than I would if I was at the show

It just amazes me that an awards show with this much money behind it is, and this many performers involed is such a mess. Would it KILL Mtv to put on a straightforward, rehearsed, and therefore entertaining show? I get the sense that they’re making it up as they go.

Update: Why the HECK did Britney Spears win like…three awards???

Update 2: Well…it’s finally over. Can I have the last 2.5 hours of my life back?? That was just….wow. Bad. Russell Brand…I actually was semi-excited about him hosting. I just can’t believe how completely tasteless and unfunny he was. He ruined the entire show. Note to Mtv…forget having a host next year. What’s the point? It’s not like he was holding the show together or anything. Mad props to Perez Hilton for defending the Jonas Brothers and completely trashing Russell in a post-show interview. Go Perez!

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Why the Midnight Sun leak was a genius move

September 4, 2008 7 comments

Update: You can directly download the Midnight Sun partial draft from Steph. Meyer’s site here.

Although the news is not exacty new, I thought I’d throw my two cents in about the Midnight Sun leak controversy.

For those of you not in the “Twilight” know, Midnight Sun was going to be the fifth book in author Stephenie Meyer‘s wildly popular, vampire-centered “Twilight” series. Although the storyline recently ended with the just-released and unbelievably controversial Breaking Dawn, Midnight Sun would’ve mirrored the events of the first book in the series, except told from the perspective of Edward, the vampire, instead of the main character Bella. This might sound boring to someone who hasn’t read the books, but for fans, it was a much-anticipated treat.

This past week, twelve chapters of Midnight Sun found itself illegally online, allegedly leaked by one of the few people that Stephenie Meyer had given a copy to. Many fans rushed to find and read the leak, while others stayed loyal to Meyer. In the end, though, Stephenie posted an emotional message on her website, including her own link to the twelve chapters, and noting that her sadness over the leak had put Midnight Sun “on hold indefinitely” (on the main page of her site).

Some people have called the leak a marketing scheme, even going as far as accusing Stephenie of being behind the leak herself. I’m not so sure I would go that far, but in this day and age nothing would really surprise me.

In my opinion, though, it was a genius move.

The Midnight Sun leak may have, at least partially, rejuvenated the Twilight franchise in the minds of a faction of embittered Twilight fans reeling over their dislike of Breaking Dawn, myself included (my review). While it can’t heal the wounds caused by the fourth book entirely, Midnight Sun made me almost forget everything I hated about Breaking Dawn, and made me remember everything I loved about the Twilight series in general. It renewed my interest, and I suspect a lot of other fan’s interest (one other at least), something that was desperately needed to ensure the upcoming movie‘s success, or at least it’s likability. There’s nothing worse than a movie adaptation and cynical fans, ready to jump on every minor indiscretion they find in the film, and well-practiced from harping on Breaking Dawn.

I’ve read the released Midnight Sun draft. I guiltily searched for the leaked version, only to realize that Stephenie Meyer had made the draft available on her website, so I read it with a semi-clean conscience. While clearly a rough draft, I loved every minute of it. Hearing things from Edward’s perspective, whose thoughts are both humorous and surprisingly cynical, was so cool. I really like the third and fourth books, New Moon and Eclipse, but I’ve always liked the first book Twilight the best. Midnight Sun let me meet the characters all over again, in a place where I liked them best.

I really hope that Stephenie Meyer decides to continue writing Midnight Sun. I can understand how she feels though, and if I were in her situation, I probably wouldn’t want to finish it either. I’ve read some suggestions that Meyer make the entire thing available for free on her website when it’s finished, but I don’t really think that’s fair to her. As far as Midnight Sun‘s sales go, I don’t think the leak is going to hurt. The leak was a teaser…albeit a really BIG teaser…but it left me wanting more, and I’m willing to pay to get more. I’m sure many people agree with me on that point.

I really haven’t been too happy with Stephenie Meyer recently, but Midnight Sun has made me remember that, Breaking Dawn aside, I really enjoy her books. I wasn’t exactly happy with the way she talked about Breaking Dawn critics, but if I put myself in her position, I’m not sure I would have reacted any differently. Breaking Dawn was her baby (heh…), and although I don’t exactly appreciate some of the comments she’s made, I have to respect her defense of her work and her loyalty to her original ideas. It does at least say something about her, that she stuck with her original plot line, despite probably being well-aware that some people weren’t going to like the direction she took the story. I’m really looking foward to her future work, even if it doesn’t include Midnight Sun.

Book Review: Breaking Dawn

August 7, 2008 6 comments

Note: Spoilers ahead.

tl;dr: Thumbs Down. Although there were some successful moments, it was a very disappointing end to the Twilight series.

Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyer

So. I finally finished ‘Breaking Dawn’.

It was very unexpected. So unexpected, so left field, that I’m honestly not even sure what to think. Before its release, I thought I had mentally prepared myself for every possible scenario that I could imagine Stephenie Meyer writing (Team Edward / Team Jacob / Jacob dies…etc. etc.) But this was so unexpected and…weird.

Unrealistic

The biggest problem I had with ‘Breaking Dawn’ is that it was too saccharine. The Twilight series as a whole has been criticized for this from the beginning, with many saying that the romance between Bella and Edward was too good to be true. However, I never saw it that way. I always felt that, in the end, no matter which path Bella chose, she would have to experience loss. In my mind, being with Edward, for example, would mean that Bella would have to give up her humanity, give up her family and the possibility of having children, and break Jacob’s heart.

‘Breaking Dawn’ took an unexpected approach, however, and ended with everyone happy. But things just don’t work like that in real life. Although the Twilight series is a fantasy, one of its strongest points was Bella’s realization that being with Edward ultimately would mean giving up a lot. Having Jacob imprint on Renesmee let Bella off the hook, and was a huge cop out on Stephenie Meyer’s part. Bella needed to break Jacob’s heart. Only with loss can we truly appreciate the things that we gain, but having Bella gain everything and lose nothing made ‘Breaking Dawn’ as shallow as its predecessors were accused of being.

Even Bella’s initial experience as a vampire was too easy. She did go through a lot of pain during the initial transformation, but afterward…where was the struggle that Edward had told Bella she would experience? Everything was just too easy for Bella, particularly her unusual ability to resist human blood.

Becoming a Vampire

I’m really glad that Bella became a vampire. It’s one of the things that I wanted to see happen in this book. However, once it did happen, I was a bit..underwhelmed. Bella just didn’t seem like herself; her clumsiness was gone, her innocence was gone…basically, all the quirks that made Bella so likable, arguably her most admirable traits, had disappeared from her character. Sure, becoming a vampire is supposed to be a huge transformation, but I don’t think it should have made Bella unrecognizable. Bella has always been so clumsy, someone who needed protecting…why was she suddenly very strong? Crazier things happened in this novel…I don’t think it would’ve been outside the realm of possibility for vampire Bella to be a little clumsy.

Renesmee

The strangest and most unexpected situation was the unusual twist of Bella and Edward having a half-vampire half-human child. I did not like the Renesmee storyline at all. Bella marrying Edward was a big enough step already, but having Renesmee was just too much. To me, the only reason Renesmee was necessary to the story was to easily resolve the Bella-Jacob situation, and it was convenient that she could also be at the center of the Volturi conflict, which shaped the last part of the novel. A novel’s elements shouldn’t seem like they were created out of convenience. Throughout the series, It was never suggested that Bella could have a child with Edward. Maybe if it had been brought up as a possibility before it wouldn’t have seemed so out of place. I felt like Stephanie was saying “Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you this in all the previous novels, but you’re going to have to accept it anyway because its going to shape the entire book.”

Too Mature

I also have a big problem with Breaking Dawn not being YA. You can try to play it down as much as you want, but the fact of the matter is that Breaking Dawn was a very mature book compared to the rest of the series. While it was great to see the characters grow up, Bella is still 18. The unnecessary elements make it feel very disjoint from the other three in the series, especially the pregnancy, which was too dark and gory (Note: especially compared to the vampire stuff, which probably would’ve been more interesting had it been more violent, but in actuality was unusually tame).

Too Long

The book also felt too long, I think because of too many plot points. There were just too many ideas here. At times I felt as if Meyer didn’t want to say goodbye to her characters, and was keeping them around to tell the story longer than was needed. I think the Jacob section of the book, in particular, could’ve been shortened. As painful as it was to watch Bella go through the pregnancy–imagine her narrating it—and as much as I love Jacob, I can’t say that I was exactly happy spending so much time from his perspective. However, other things that I felt would be a HUGE conflict in this book, were quickly resolved: the vampire-werewolf treaty situation was resolved so quickly, I almost missed it.

—–

I just don’t really understand what Stephenie Meyer was thinking, why she decided to come out with a book so controversial and from such an unusual direction. The other three books in this series had a certain tone and rhythm , but the fourth seems very out of place next to the other books.

This is a review that I honestly didn’t want to write. I feel really disappointed. As much as I love the series, and as much as I really wanted to love this book, I just couldn’t. And unfortunately, as much as I tried to prevent it, ‘Breaking Dawn’ has left me feeling not as jazzed as I used to be about Twilight in general.

I’m glad Edward and Bella ended up together, and I’m happy with the choice to make Bella a vampire. These were not only the endings I wanted, but also the endings that I felt would make for a suitable end to the series. However, I can’t help but think that there could’ve been a much better, simpler way to get to these endings, one with at least a smidgen of reality.


Again, please let me know what you thought about ‘Breaking Dawn’, or post a link to your review in the comments! Thanks!

Breaking Dawn Release Party

August 3, 2008 Leave a comment
The first wave of Twi-hards line up downstairs to buy their books.

The first wave of "Twi-hards" line up downstairs to buy their books.

Last night, the much-anticipated fourth and final book in Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn, was released. Midnight parties were held at Barnes & Noble’s across the country, in the same vein as the Harry Potter release parties. As a recent but huge fan of the series, I was eager to get the book myself as soon as it came out, so I headed to the bookstore last night.

I have to say…Twilight is a very hard series to theme. The books aren’t traditional fantasy stuff… they’re set in modern day Washington state, and characters don’t wear capes, nor do the vampires have fangs. The theme of the party was a prom, which I think is a bit of a stretch, and attendees were encouraged to dress in prom-wear.

Read more…