A couple months ago now I came by this comment: "Yeah, that's how I felt about Outlander. It was alright but I didn't see what the big deal was." I thought: Hey, I like books! I like fantasy! I like romance! Why haven't I heard about this big deal? So out I went to find this "Outlander" book. Within this same time frame I came across another "big deal" that I had heard of before: The Twilight Saga. I have cheerily avoided these books and movies and not so cheerily wondered at why such a story garners such admiration but whatever, people will read what they will read. Then one surprise led to another and I found myself roped into being in the same room with a DVD player playing New Moon. So here I am to report back my experience with these pop culture phenoms.
(Sorry, folks, no summaries. If you have not heard of these things then you'll quickly see that I don't recommend bringing them into your home. If you have heard of them then you need no recaps from me.:)
The Heroine - It was absolutely impossible for me to get on board with an individual who could be so disloyal to a significant other. I'm not saying I minded that she fell for another guy but the idea that she would allow her present-day husband to never get to know what happened to her was too cruel. Can you imagine what you would imagine if your significant other disappeared? So the whole time I was reading, that was all I was thinking about. I could never enjoy her because the whole time I was wondering what kind of selfish, low-life does such a thing?
The Hero - does not exist. Seriously! This is not just a fiction vs. non-fiction issue. This is a does not exist issue. Jamie is not human. There is no human that would be as Jamie is. Not in any time period and probably not from a mix of time periods. Plus, he has red hair. For some reason I just can't handle heroes with red hair. Normally this is not a problem as I am a master of mental editing and I just change it. But when it is reiterated every other damn page one eventually gives up and then begins to imagine Jamie as one giant flaming head of hair with a pre-trained penis. This is, I suppose, not really a problem because, just as cognitive hair - red or otherwise - does not exist, neither does he.
The story - is serviceable if not exactly scintillating. Poss the scintillation factor could have been increased if twice as many words as necessary had not be used to tell the story.
The Baddie is a non-heterosexual* character???? Really??? That's what we're doing? Wouldn't it have been faster to have him kill a puppy in his first scene? I mean, if we're going for cheap and easy ways to establish villains could we not use one that is free of prejudice?
*I settled on non-heterosexual rather than bisexual because I couldn't quite determine his gender preference. He was so often overcome with the urge to express himself via rape that it didn't seem to matter who supplied the orifice.
And, again, I can't help but come back to WHAT KIND OF CRUDDY PERSON DOES NOT FEEL OBLIGATED TO RETURN, AT LEAST BRIEFLY, TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED??????
This book is the first of a series and Beth has a few posts that are hilarious re the series. Click here for the first and check out her sidebar for the others. Also, she likes Outlander so you can get an alternative perspective on this book.
Also, click here for a more detailed (and more awesome and more funny) review of Outlander. (hat tip: jmc)
The Heroine - is in some kind of contest to be the least interesting person alive. It's never detailed in the movie but it's pretty obvious. Also, she is so successful in this endeavor that she manages to make everyone around her completely uninteresting.
The Hero - sparkles. Like glitter. No, really, this is not a joke. I had heard so many "sparkly vampire" jokes re the series that I thought it was some sort of jokey hater thing and I was so impressed with the movie for having a sense of humor but then it's real. He sparkles. It's like his epidermis has been infested with glitter and the glitter is triggered to exit forcefully by sunlight. And it's real. I'm supposed to take it seriously.
Also, he's ugly.
The Story - It's hard to comment as I don't really even know what it was. Most of the movie was a high school* couple breaks up, one partner goes away and then gets all suicidey due to misinformation so the partner who stayed must fetch the misinformed one before he uses the power of his sunlight-controlled glitter to effect his demise. There were some werewolves** and other vampires but they came and went at the convenience of the plot, motivations lightly explored if at all.
Also, I think the screenwriter hates women. There was only one positively depicted female in the movie. The "heroine" defines herself in relation to the male characters and her girlfriends are protrayed dismissively. Ew.
* one "high schooler" is actually a 100+ yo vampire. What kind of loser can't find anything better to do than go to HS after being alive for over 100 years? Ok, fine, maybe it's a phase, but you honestly can't think it's a good idea!
**The makers of this movie ought to be ashamed and run out of town for unethical behavior. They've got this young actor so muscled up that his shoulders were permanently sloped forward completely ruining his posture. I see this in some adults much later in life as a natural aging effect but holy shitballs, people, this should not be allowed in a developing young person. Ugh!
So The Twilight Saga appears to be a romance centered around the Your Love is SO GREAT That Nothing Else Matters and I Can't Possibly Control Myself variety of love. As a reader of romance this is not my first encounter with the above. This storyline has never appealed to me and I always wonder why it does appeal to some. Is not maintaining control in the face of over-whelming emotions more impressive? Is not maintaining normal function as a human being in the face of great sadness, depression, or challenges more impressive? Well, it is to me, so to Those Who Would Devote Their Existence to Obtaining My Love, it is advised:
Retain your usefulness to society no matter how much your heart is breaking - it is certainly the more heroic thing to do.
Do not become so overwhelmed by emotion that you scream at me, throw things, shove me around or creepily stare through windows (or whatever) as those are certainly non-heroic things to do.
Do not tell me what is good for me or arrange matters in my life for my own good because you love me so much. This undermines my very existence (the existence you say makes yours meaningful), is insulting, and just plain rude. And decidedly non-heroic.
Do not take crazy risks with your life. Either have the courage of your convictions and do yourself in or (more preferably) see item the first.
There are more but since there really isn't a Those Who Would Devote Their Existence to Obtaining My Love group out there and I am ready to return to college football I will sign off.
Outlander 2 of 5 stars
New Moon 1 of 5 stars