Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Twilight is Again, Overrated.

Twilight is Again, Overrated.

Let’s be honest, the Twilight series is one of everyone’s guilty pleasures, especially mine. But whilst re-watching the film, separate from my teenage girl infatuation, I realize that the film is very hit-or-miss in regards to its use of music and sound. In many scenes, the music seems to perfectly portray the action and mood of the scene, while a select few scenes, the music seems to almost take away from what is happening on screen. This creates an issue of continuity throughout the movie. The scenes in which the music is well done create a stark contrast to the few in which music is not effective. It seems to take away from the omnipresent mood and the flow of the movie.

The very first scene exemplifies when Twilight used music to its advantage. On screen, Bella has just become fully vampire. If you have seen any twilight, you know that vampire-dom brings extreme clarity and inhuman abilities such as extreme speed, vision, and sound. The scene starts on Bella’s eyes and flashes to microscopic close ups of things around her: showing her changed state. At the same time “Where I Come From” by Passion Pit is playing. The song is a mellow, yet upbeat song that perfectly fits the scene both with its lyrics and tone. It portrays the sense of revelation and optimism that Bella has as she starts her life as a vampire. This gives pathos to the movie by creating the optimistic mood for the scene. It makes the audience excited for Bella’s life as a vampire, just as Bella feels. Then Edward, Bella’s husband comes on, only making the music fit better and adding logos, as the lyrics apply to Edward being the joy in Bella’s life.

               Unfortunately, some of the scenes in Breaking Dawn Part 2, the music seems to subtract from the movie. For instance, in Bella’s first hunting experience Bella goes violently on the hunt for a bleeding human, and the music beats in the background growing in speed and violence. At this point the music adds pathos as it creates a suspenseful mood, bringing the scene to the height of intensity. Bella then simply rejects the urge to feed on a human: but by this point, the music has peaked our interest. The music makes the audience over anticipate Bella’s reaction and is not fitting of her anti-climactic response. This takes away the ethos of the music for the rest of the movie: the audience can no longer trust the music to properly foreshadow future events. The scene goes on, and now Bella is hunting a deer. Sounds of the jungle play calmly in the background until a lion jumps on the deer she is following. Bella pounces on the lion, and has her first feast. The music that plays along is hard hitting and loud, fitting of the scene, but the growl of the lion sounds very unrealistic and almost cartoonish. “Although the function of sound effects is primarily atmospheric, they can also be precise sources of meaning in the cinema” (Understanding Movies pg.207). In this instance, the sound had a precise meaning: the growl of a dying lion. But that meaning is not properly conveyed because of the sound effect’s lack of believability. The sound effect has an obvious lack of ethos as it is not credible or believable.

               A separate win in terms of music is featured in the final scene of the movie, which is also the final scene of a very lucrative and beloved series. This scene needed to portray a sense of love for the series as well as create a sense of nostalgia for its looming end. It is a flashback from all of the movies, of memories of Bella and Edward. During the flashbacks, Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” echos loudly. This music adds ethos because Christina Perri is a highly acclaimed and respected singer songwriter, with an amazing voice. “When merged with lyrics, music acquires a more concrete content because words, of course, have specific references.” (Understanding Movies pg.213) This use of song is a very true to that statement. The words fit very well with the love and nostalgia the flashbacks are trying to convey. “Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years, I will love you for a thousand more.” The music, especially the lyrics, add a significant amount of pathos.  This song also adds logos because it makes sense to the audience in terms of relating to what is being shown. Essentially, this music choice was a trifecta of rhetoric.  

               Although, these are merely three scenes from the movie, they seem to depict the usage of sound and music throughout Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, which is to me perfectly used or an epic fail. Overall the music was generally good, but the few bad moments took away a lot from the flow of the film. That is why I would only give the music two pickles. Sorry Twilight, but don’t worry: the cast is still attractive and teenage girls will always love you.  

Ashley Smith

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