Wednesday March 14th 2012
“Today is a joyous, joyous day for fanboys everywhere,” declared Slash Film yesterday as they unveiled the above video clip, “The Twilight Saga is nearing its end and that’s something all of us have one reason or another to celebrate.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I hate the Twilight franchise as much as the next man who doesn’t believe all premarital sex is rape. But there’s something about Slash Film’s fervent, outspoken hatred of the series that really gets my back up.
Let’s not forget: this is a site that prides itself on having a populist, mostly uncritical appreciation of all things fantasy, action and adventure. It’s a site that willingly admitted Iron Man 2 was ‘a $200m shell game’ but has already posted literally dozens of speculative articles about its follow-up. It doesn’t hold grudges because, for the most part, neither do its readers. After all, who cares if The Green Lantern was ‘both over-written and under-scripted’ as long as the next one is marginally better? It’s a democratic, forgiving principle and it works well for them.
This open-mindedness is a luxury not afforded to The Twilight Saga, however. For the past four years, the series has been taken as something of a personal affront by the Slash Film team — an unwelcome interloper on their hallowed genre-worshipping ground. In 2009, when it seemed an influx of Twilight fans might make it difficult for Slash Film readers to attend the Tron: Legacy and Avatar panels at Comic-Con, editor Peter Sciretta complained that ‘hundreds of tweens and Twilight moms/dads [might take precedence over] normal people’. Not because of any preferential treatment you understand, just because they turned up earlier. Those bastards with their Twilight fandom! Don’t they realise how much more important Tron: Legacy fandom is?!
A lot of it, inevitably, comes down to gender appeal. It’s no coincidence that the aforementioned Twilight clip is considered a source of relief for ‘fanboys’ rather than fans in general. Slash Film make no bones about their overwhelmingly male readership, and aren’t afraid to pander to that crowd, whether its by coming down hard on a franchise they perceive as overtly feminine, or selecting images for their articles that are more likely to yield a click-through from their core fanbase. Compare and contrast the presentation of these two recent casting stories, for instance:
(To clarify, the female is the one in the skin-tight lycra.)
And that’s fine. Give the people what they want and so on and so forth. But don’t go out of your way to hate on something purely because it has the temerity to appeal to an audience other than your own. There are plenty of perfectly valid ways to criticise bloated, self-important, cynical, badly-written movies, without resorting to pointless generalisations. How do you think the rest of us reviewed Tron: Legacy?