Edward Cullen: Say it… out loud. Say it.
Isabella Swan: Vampire.
I would never have written about Twilight, but I guess I couldn’t stop myself. This is because I really don’t know how the series got as famous as it got. In this post – I’m talking about the films – not the books. I have read 1/3 of Twilight (the book of course) and though it’s slow and painful to read at times, it is much better than the movies (I suppose). But then just to be fair, I’ll talk about the films.
I know there are hordes of fans who’d want to wring my neck for saying this, but I can’t help but dislike the series. When I watched the first film, I found it to be pretty bearable. It wasn’t something I would have wanted to watch over and over again, or it wasn’t something that would have gone down on my list of favourite films, but to be honest, it was quite bearable.
There’s a human and a vampire and they fall in love. And this vampire (Edward Cullen) turns out to be ‘vegetarian’ – he only drinks animal blood. However, his love for the human Bella puts her in danger when another vampire clan discovers that she is not one of them. Thirsting for her blood, they hunt her and then we have a final showdown in a dance studio – la di da.
What’s wrong with the story? Well at this point it works alright. We have a vampire-human love story and vampires have always been enigmatic so as I said – the first film works alright – just alright. But that doesn’t make it good.
Firstly let’s get into the acting. Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan is definitely very pretty but I found her acting very wooden – particularly when she is bitten towards the end of the first film. Let’s also not forget her inability to act when Ed leaves her in New Moon and when she discovers she may have feelings for Jacob in Eclipse. Robert Pattinson aka Edward Cullen was first Cedric Diggory to me (from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and I thought he could act when I saw him in HP, but in Twilight, he’s barely acting. All he does is – he sparkles. Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black does not have such a huge part in this film, but he did an okay job of being Bella’s close friend. I thought the best actor was Billy Burke, who played the role of Bella’s constantly suffering father, Charlie Swan.
TWILIGHT – The Story
In the first film, we see Bella move to Forks, a very small town to come and live with her father (her parents are divorced). There have been unexplained disappearances (which we discover is the result of a vampire clan looking for human victims).
When Bella joins school, she is intrigued by the Cullen family – a pale-looking mysterious family that basically sticks together and doesn’t talk to others. One of the Cullen family members, Edward, keeps looking at Bella in an unexplained manner and even tries to change his seat so that he doesn’t have to sit with her. When she does sit with him, he holds his breath, trying to block her smell. Bella does not understand this behaviour and finds it very strange.
After a series of classes together and many days later, the two are on talking terms. One day, when Bella proceeds to the car park to go home, another rogue car almost hits her, but in a flash of a second, Edward saves the day by pushing the car off. Bella is dazzled (no pun intended) by his ability to move that fast and by his super-human strength.
She deduces, after her friend Jacob tells her of a legend involving shape-shifters and vampires, and after reading a number of books, that Edward is actually a vampire.
She reveals this to Edward, who tells her he is a vegetarian vampire. The two fall in love and there is a final showdown where another vampire clan hunts Bella. Edward saves her with great difficulty. The film ends with Bella and Edward dancing at their school prom, and a remaining member of the evil vampire clan seeking revenge for the death of her lover.
I thought the first film was pretty conclusive – apart from the other vampire seeking revenge. They could have just stopped the story here and it would have been a bearable film. Alas! Stephenie Meyer had already written other books. Therefore, we had New Moon after this.
NEW MOON – The Story
I gave New Moon a chance as well. This to me was an utter waste of time. Here, we see Bella become 18 years old. She has a dream that she is an old woman, but that Edward is just as young as she has known him to be (he’s immortal and does not age). This thought makes her uncomfortable that she is now 18 but Edward is 17, and she will keep on growing.
The Cullens throw a birthday party for her in their house, but she has a paper cut and one of the new vampires in the family is unable to control his thirst for her blood and almost injures her seriously. Perceiving the threat vampires are to Bella, Edward decides to leave Forks and Bella for her own safety.
However, this makes Bella depressed, and she seeks solace in Jacob. She also discovers that doing adrenalin-rush activities make her ‘closer’ to Edward – she is able to see him that way.
When Jacob starts meeting Bella less, she discovers that he has become a shape-shifter, a werewolf – sworn enemies of vampires. The werewolves have formed a pack to seek and kill the remaining member of the vampire clan that almost killed Bella in the last film.
Edward hears wrong information that Bella has died and therefore he decides to end his life too. There is one way of doing this – to go to Italy where the Volturi (vampire authorities) are. By enraging the Volturi by revealing himself to be a vampire in front of humans (that’s easy because all he has to do is take off his shirt and his skin will sparkle like diamonds in the sun), he will give a reason for the Volturi to destroy him.
However, Bella hears of Edward’s plan and goes with one of the Cullens, Alice, to Volterra (where the Volturi live – Duh). She stops him just in time but because the Volturi discover that Bella is a human and knows about vampires, they say they will either kill her, or she needs to become a vampire herself. It is decided that she will be made a vampire after leaving Volterra.
ECLIPSE – The Story
Gah, like this wasn’t already more than enough to take in, and then they had to release the next movie, Eclipse.
Then without going into detail about this film, let me summarise the main events. Edward sees that Bella is in danger without him and returns to Forks. Meanwhile, remember our vampire fiend from Part 1 (who survived the dance studio massacre?). Well she (Victoria) is still seeking revenge on Bella for the death of her lover.
Edward tells Bella that she will have to marry him first and only then will he turn her into a vampire. She refuses because she thinks she is too young for this.
We learn that Jacob loves Bella too and he kisses her forcibly, and she punches him on the face but gets an injured fist in return.
At the other end, Alice has a vision that Victoria is making an army of new vampires called newborns (who are even more destructive and cannot resist blood) and that they are coming to hunt Bella down.
Since Bella is everything in this series, the wolf pack (to which Jacob belongs) decides to protect her, along with the Cullens (remember that vampires and werewolves don’t get along, but because it’s Bella, they’re working together).
While protecting Bella in her tent, Edward and Jacob have a not-so-mean conversation, but the thaw in their cold war ends when Jacob overhears Edward and Bella discussing plans for their engagement the day after.
Jacob goes off angrily, saying he wants to be killed by the newborns, but Bella stops him and asks him to kiss her. She then returns to Edward and reveals to him that she also loves Jacob but that her love for Edward is stronger.
Blah – after some action, Victoria and her gang of newborns are killed. The Volturi reach this place where the fighting is happening and find out that Bella is still not a vampire. Bella tells them that the date for her transformation has been fixed.
Jacob is wounded in battle and Bella goes to meet him to tell him that she loves him but wants to be with Edward. At the end, Edward and Bella discuss their wedding plans.
MY PROBLEMS WITH THE SAGA
What I do not understand is why the whole world has no idea about vampires and werewolves existing, but Bella (who in my opinion does not even possess any praiseworthy qualities) seems to have attracted the attention of both clans. Oh well, even if that’s the story, I’ll accept it slightly.
Secondly, everything revolves around Bella’s protection. She’s always being hunted by the bad vampire clan (like there are no other humans to go after). Bella’s always attracting weird non-human attention and I have no idea why – and she has to be saved by one shape-shifter fond of roaming shirtless – and a sparkly vegetarian vampire who loathes the shape-shifter.
It is never obvious WHY Bella and Edward fall in love. All I gather is if you’re in class and a guy blocks his breath with repugnance when you go to sit next to him, you either need a good long bath, or he’s a vampire.
Perhaps Edward and Bella fell in love because they both share similar characteristics – both are pallid, both seem to lack emotion, both have no depth as characters. Jacob’s love for Bella however is more believable.
Isn’t it weird that Bella is 18 and she feels too young to get married to the guy she loves, but she’s totally alright with changing everything she knows about herself and becoming a vampire? I mean she’s going to thirst for blood after this and become immortal. She will be alive and watch everyone else she knows die as time passes. She will be distanced from her family. She’s ready for all this to be with Edward, but she feels too young for marriage? Where’s the logic in this!
Also, the vampires and werewolves are sworn enemies. They will never want to work together. But of course Bella is a goddess so they decide to put aside their differences for some time and save the damsel in distress – even if it means risking their own lives. I can understand if Jacob and Edward want to do that – but all the members of their clans? Seriously?
I do not see human aspects in these films. I find a barrier between me (as a member of the audience) and the characters on screen. I do not feel for the characters at all. I cannot care less to what happens to Bella or if Edward is injured. And all this after actually liking Robert Pattinson.
Let’s review a bit. Bad vampires want to kill Bella in Twilight. In New Moon, a good vampire wants to kill her during her birthday party. In Eclipse, the same baddie vampire who survived in Twilight wants to kill Bella again. I never knew it was sooooo difficult for a vampire to kill a human. I thought they had super sharp senses and could travel so fast that they become almost invisible. But I guess those things don’t apply when Bella is the prey – because she has two non-human hunks to save her.
I could go on about this – and the Twilight Saga is supposed to be more mature. For whom? 10-year-olds? And then they’re splitting the next book ‘Breaking Dawn’ into two parts (Deathly Hallows anyone?). God save the world. I’ve read the synopsis for Breaking Dawn and I realise that one thing is constant for this movie series; it started off alright and has kept the standards high by making sure that each subsequent film gets worse and worse.
I really do not understand why the Twilight Saga is so famous. The only good things I found were good background scores by Carter Burwell (for Twilight), Alexandre Desplat (for New Moon) and Howard Shore (for Eclipse), and some eye-candy. That’s practically it.
Well everyone compares Twilight and Harry Potter and though I usually refrain from doing that, I could not stop quoting Stephen King on this one!
“Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”
You said it Stephen!