Historical Circuit: The Twilight Saga

6

Twilight (2008) – (**)

It’s so bad, it’s almost good. I guess that’s how I and those who aren’t 15 year old girls would characterize Twilight. Catherine Hardwicke brings Stephenie Meyers beloved series Twilight to the screen, a story about the love between a teenage girl Bella Swan and a vampire, Edward Cullen.

Isabella Swan moves to a town called Forks to live with her father. While there she attends a new school and quickly becomes popular despite her awkward ways of interacting with people. Everybody wants to be her friend, but she only cares about becoming close with one person, Edward Cullen.

I will avoid getting into plot details for those who already know what happens. Girl meets boy, girl finds out boy is vampire and they fall in love. La Dee Da. But what makes this series of movies so engaging that we form an obsession over them? Twilight, the most corny of the series so far, is so unbelievably bad that you can’t help but watch. The dialogue between Edward and Bella is downright awkward, yet filled with romance and need. The special effects are horrendous, they almost ruin the film, and the acting is another story.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson lead the cast as Edward and Bella, the love struck pair. There’s no denying the chemistry between the actors is inviting, but the scenes they share range from embarrassingly awkward to downright romantically corny. Yet despite the bad acting and awkward scenes, it works and is undeniably one of the best on screen romances.

The attraction of the film lies between Stewart’s Bella and Pattinson’s Edward. Stewart does her job well and is able to show a range of emtions without even opening her mouth. Pattinson on the other hand brings bad acting to a whole new level, but he makes Edward so likeable and trustworthy that you can’t help but be forced to adore him. Nevertheless, the dialogue they have is incredibly cheesy, and for that I don’t know who to blame; the screenwriter, Catherine Hardwicke or Stephanie Meyers.

My issue with the film lies with screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. It boggles my mind how bad a person can write dialogue about love. Most scenes that were meant to be taken seriously aren’t because it was written so poorly. Another problem with the film is it spends too much time leading up to Bella realizing Edward is a vampire that when they finally fall in love, you’re left wishing for development about their passion. Yet, when the film finally begins to pick up, it’s too busy hurrying off to the next scene instead of focusing on the present issue.

Despite all of the movies flaws, the chemistry between Stewart and Pattinson is enough to keep your attention. The movie may be hard to watch in front of your friends, but it’s an easy guilty pleasure.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) – (**)

New Moon is the second installment in Stephenie Meyer’s beloved Twilight series. Twilight ended with Bella (Kristen Stewart) wanting to be changed into a vampire and Edward (Robert Pattinson) firmly refusing.

The second movie begins with Bella’s birthday and her insecurities with becoming a year older than Edward, even though he’s like over 100 years old. She wants so badly to be changed into a vampire because she is convinced he won’t love her when she gets older. After an incident at Bella’s birthday party thrown by the Cullen clan, the family picks up and moves and Bella is left heartbroken, unable to live normally with Edward. She takes comfort in knowing if she does a reckless act she will see a ghostly version of Edward telling her to stop, yet while doing these reckless stunts Jacob Black (Taylor Launter) is there to rescue her. As more time passes without Edward, Bella seeks friendship in Jacob and Jacob ultimately falls in love with Bella begging her to leave Edward in the past and make him her future.

New Moon in its entirety is a far better film than Twilight, the screenwriting, directing by Chris Weitz, effects and acting is a slight step up. Yet, there are still a handful of flaws that New Moon possesses. Similar to the first film, the story focused too much upon the relationship between Bella and Jacob that when the film begins to pick up and transition, it moves too quickly making the audience want more.

Though this film focuses more on the buildup of Bella and Jacobs’s relationship, it shows a love that’s more desirable. What they have is a love that doesn’t have any awkwardness, but a friendship and an acceptance, especially when Bella realizes that Jacob is now a Wolf. Their friendship is so natural it almost makes you wish Edward doesn’t come back.

As far as acting goes, Stewart and Pattinson were a little less awkward, but still could have been better. I would have loved to see Stewart do anything else but sign and scoff, although, it was nice to see Stewart act normally around Taylor Launter. Launter who brings out the best in Jacob, handled himself well, as he was given more screen time. He is proving to be quite the up and coming young actor.

The main issues with this film yet again lie with screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg. It’s not completely her fault the dialogue is cheesy because that’s how author Stephenie Meyers wrote it, but she spends too much time on the buildup. She made the same error on Twilight, but in New Moon she let the buildup drag on for too long. As I stated earlier, when the climax of the film finally occurs, it moves so quickly the audience can’t truly appreciate it.

New Moon is slightly better than its prior film, Twilight. As far as a Twilight film goes, it’s exceptionally entertaining and keeps the audience engaged with the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle and has the kind of cliff hanger ending that keeps you waiting in anticipation to watch its sequel Eclipse. But as far as judging it as just another movie, it could always be better.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)- (**1/2)

You’d think after multiple injuries and having your life put in danger one might consider breaking up with the boyfriend who causes these unnecessary events. But hey, all the cool kids date vampires.

The Twilight Sage: Eclipse is the third installment of the beloved series Twilight, written by author Stephenie Meyers.Eclipse is so far the best movie in the series (not saying much) displaying a nice blend of drama, action, romance, suspense and character development.

Bella (Kristen Stewart) and the Cullen clan once again find themselves in danger when evil Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) builds a vampire army of newborns to get revenge on the Cullen’s for killing her love, James back in the first movie. While this is all going on, Bella is conflicted about the of two guys who are in love with her, the hot werewolf with the numerous abs, Jacob (Taylor Launter) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), the cold, sexy, awkward vampire who does nothing more than put Bella’s life in danger. What to do, what to do.

The reason I say this is by far better than Twilight and New Moon, is because of the screenplay and directing by David Slade. While the dialogue is still on the awkward side and certain scenes are corny, this is the first film of the series where every element of the story gets equal amounts of attention, while in the two previous films too much time was spent on the buildup and not enough time was spent on the climax. Throughout the past two films the only characters that have had any such development have been the three main ones, Eclipse gives us a background to some of the supporting characters making us understand why they are the way they are.

The acting by Stewart and Pattinson has somewhat improved, but listening to Stewart sputter her lines and Pattinson stare blankly at nothing, gets really old really fast. The script isn’t great to begin with but both actors always find a way to butcher the lines and make it cring worthy, as though you’re watching a soap opera. Launter on the other hand delivered his lines in such a way that they didn’t come off cheesy. Though, Billy Burke, playing Bella’s father is always fantastic when it comes to comic relief. Burke is one of the best parts about the whole franchise, which makes his scenes worth watching.

In the end, you know going into Eclipse what to expect. Those who choose not to watch it, won’t and those who love the franchise will continue to obsess despite its many, many, many flaws. Take it for what it is; another Twilight film.