I’ve seen the Twilight movies back when they originally came out from 2008-2012. As a matter of fact, I was a fan of the books. Recently, as I was feeling sentimental and overwhelmed with the amount of choices on Netflix, I decided to revisit the franchise to see whether I would feel the same way about them that I did the first time.
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father after her mom and stepdad have to go on the road for his job as a minor league baseball player. In the small town, she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a pale, broody but gorgeous junior who looks like he wants to vomit every time he sees Bella. Obviously, she falls in love with him.
My first impression when I originally watched the movie was the look of constipation on Edward and Bella’s faces with each of their encounters. For Edward, it made more sense since he was trying not to inhale Bella’s scent, but for Bella, I always wondered why she looked to be always in pain. She was described in the book as an awkward teen but Kristen Stewart takes it to a whole new level. Well, physically, Stewart fit the description of the books to a T but acting wise, she was totally cringe worthy in Twilight, mainly because she was always a) cringing, b) biting her lip, or c) wriggling uncomfortably. Go figure.
Another issue I had with the movie was the lack of true bonding between Bella and Edward to justify the intensity of Bella’s decision to be with him forever. Sure, movie Bella was intrigued by him, his sparkliness and of course being saved by him, but in the end, her decision to be changed was because she didn’t want to be old and gray and look like his grandma? Real deep.
In all fairness to the movie, it had a great soundtrack but the CGI seemed cheesy rather than cool.
After another incident at the Cullen household, Edward decides to break up with Bella. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding leads him to believe that she killed herself and because he loved her too much, he wanted to die at the hands of the ancient vampire clan called the Volturi as well.
Okay, so in Twilight, the film underscores Bella’s desperation to be with Edward forever but be disagrees, wanting her to be human as long as possible because he believes vampire life is cursed. This kind of makes sense because shifting to a vampire lifestyle is not like you can change your mind without getting your head torn off. When he leaves her though, she breaks down and suffers from hallucinations of Edward only when she does something reckless. At this point, she gets closer to Jacob as they bond over building motorcycles, that is until he turns into a werewolf. Lucky Bella.
As if it weren’t enough, Bella comes face to face with the Volturi in an attempt to save Edward – in Italy.
Basically, New Moon gives part of the spotlight to the thrid party in the love triangle. I get why there were a lot of Team Jacob fans because this is the only time audiences don’t see Bella looking constipated. She seemed seemed more like a real person when she was palling around with the wolf boy.
My problem with the wolves was that while the books were clear that the werewolves moves around shirtless most of the time, it still seemed awkward to go everywhere without a shirt. Another problem I had was when Bella saved Edward, it was as if nothing happened. He wanted to be together with her again after all the pain they caused each other and all was forgiven, just like that. There was actually a point I wanted the Volturi to end them. They were that annoying on screen. PS. I wanted to laugh each time Kristen Stewart’s character had a nightmare on screm. Really?
In the third movie, Victoria (now recast as Bryce Dallas Howard) is still stalking Bella to get even with Edward. This time, she creates an army of newborn vampires to take down the Cullens. The werewolves pitch in to help and an uneasy alliance is formed between the two clans.
So, this is where things get tricky. Bella finally convinces Edward to change her but the Cullens’ treaty with the Quileutes will be violated if they bite any human. Just when the lovebirds agree to get married first before the transition, Jacob insists that Bella is in love with him too and it turns out that she is. When the Cullens and the Quileutes find out that Victoria is planning to kill Bella, they drop everything and work together to protect her. At this point, one would have to question what about Bella was so special that everyone was risking their lives for her. And given her two timing behavior, I would have suggested that they offer her as a sacrifice to Victoria and be done with it. But love works in mysterious ways, I guess. And if they offered her, we wouldn’t have the next movies. LOL
Audiences will of course be compelled to ship the FMC with Edward or with Jacob because these two guys were really something else. And like many other YA adaptations, this was the crux of Eclipse. It didn’t make sense at this point, but luckily, we will get the answer to this question in the last two chapters. The treatment of the third film was slightly better than the two previous installments, mainly because there was a proper battle scene as compared to the first one when the Cullens tore off James’ head, burned him and danced around his body in the background like crazed lunatics.
In all fairness to the Twilight franchise, it did improve with every installment. Each new director (Catherine Hardwicke, Chris Weitz, David Slade) seemed to add something to the franchise and it was a good thing because it did not stagnate. Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2 directed by Bill Condor (who later directed Beauty and the Beast live action) had the difficult task of spreading out one book’s worth of material into two movies. It was even more difficult because the final book merely detailed Bella’s pregnancy, transformation and basically the Cullens building an alliance against the Volturi .
In the books, the travels and the personalities were well detailed. But in the movies, the characters were merely mentioned in a montage narrated by Bela. It was a disservice to actors like Lee Pace and Rami Malek. Anyways, there was a great distribution of events and each movie had its own highlight moments so it never really got boring.
However, one thing that did not improve over the course of the five year franchise was the CGI. It was ridiculously bad when it came to the vampires. It leads fans to wonder where New Line put all the profits from the first movies, seeing how badly Renesme’s edits were in particular. It seemed like the CGI team decided to focus on the werewolves and that they just left the vampires to look like jokes. Let’s not talk about the practical effects for the decapitations. They looked like something that rejected showpieces from Madame Tussauds. Stylistically though, the vampires looked better in these final two installments plus Edward looked more natural when he became a father and did not have to treat Bella like a fragile flower.
All in all, the Twilight franchise was not the best book to movie adaptations out there. At some point, you would want to hit your head on a wall for even bothering to get yourself roped into watching of the movies but they were not completely horrible. They had their moments when they made sense. They were entertaining and good for a couple of laughs. It just felt like I was watching a very long Dulcolax (laxative) commercial.
Check out my previous reviews of the Twilight movies!
Breaking Down Breaking Dawn Part 1