Sadomasochism and ‘The New Twilight’

5 Apr

Went to see ‘The New Twilight’ aka The Hunger Games last week and left equal parts bored and horrified. I was bored by the character of Katniss, which is almost ironic considering she is a character designed for girls like me to applaud. She is strong, independent, resourceful and can still look great in a ball gown. But, in the film version at least, she has no depth and no flaws. It seems as though in their attempt to create a character that is a good role model for young girls they forgot to actually create a character at all.

I was horrified by this film because of the extreme violence toward children. Thinking about it afterwords I realised I was mostly shocked because this film is so mainstream- designed for pure pleasure. Since when is watching the brutal slaughter of little kids become popcorn entertainment?

The Hunger Games has been compared endlessly to Twilight in it’s box office results, book sales and attractiveness of its leads. In Lisa’s review below she calls Bella a ‘whiny submissive’ which is all together true. But I think therein lies the magic of Twilight and why it appeals to so many. It is incredibly masochistic. And not just Bella- all the central characters of the film and books are obsessed by pain, both physical and emotional. In this world of masochism, Bella is in fact the most dominant. The two male leads fawn around her, constantly feeling the need to endure intense pain to serve her. It’s awesome.

It’s interesting that this is so often compared to The Hunger Games, a film which trades completely on sadism. Within the film, ‘The Hunger Games’ themselves are a sadistic television broadcast, communities gather to cheer as one kid maims another. Even we the audience go into the film looking forward to watching a bloodbath. So, Twilight v The Hunger Games? I guess you’ve just got to decide, as far as Tween blockbusters go, is Sadism or masochism more your cup of tea?

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One Response to “Sadomasochism and ‘The New Twilight’”

  1. Cashier de Cinema April 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Love the controversial stance, Anna! I really liked the film, but I can’t deny that you make some good points there. And I like the audacity of (almost) defending Twilight…

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