Having a bit of spare time at the moment, I set myself the task of having all the Twilight films.
I’d only seen one before, the second film in the saga, “New Moon”, at the time of its 2009 release. At the time I bitched, “It was such a shit film that it made me angry.” I couldn’t figure out who all the characters were and why everyone seemed so bothered all the time.
But now, two years later, I realised that despite my reaction to “New Moon”, Twilight films continued to be made, they were playing to big audiences, and weren’t showing any sign of becoming unpopular. Something was going on there. I had some catching up to do.
I started with the very first film, “Twilight”. Coming into it, I expected I wouldn’t enjoy it. See, I like my vampires a little dirty, like the sexually-charged moonlit Louisiana escapades of “True Blood”. Angsty teen vampires? No, it wouldn’t work on me.
But then there I was, a mere 10 minutes into the film, and suddenly Edward makes his first appearance and I got shivers. I instantly understood. Bella is this very ordinary tomboy-ish girl, and suddenly the most beautiful boy in school has totally fallen for her – and vice versa.
And it’s a really troubled love – what with him being likely to lose control and kill her if things get too hot during a makeout session. But all this sexual caution has one cinematic bonus: Edward’s experiments in sexual restraint produce what is possibly the hottest kiss in any movie ever, and the rightful winner of Best Kiss at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards.
I was willing to completely surrender myself to the Twlight world.
I then rewatched “New Moon” and I realised that my initial confusion was due to the film being made for fans. Unlike the “Sex and the City” film, there’s no complicated recap of previous events. The film figures you’re a fan and it’s not going to waste your time explaining who the Cullens are.
I still didn’t enjoy “New Moon” as much as “Twilight”, though it made me realise that I’d got one thing out of it the first time. There’s a scene where Bella goes on an awkward date with Jacob and Mike. They’re sitting in a movie theatre, each of the boys trying to get Bella to hold his hand. And that was when I said decided no more adolescent film date experiences, which has been a really good decision.
I wasn’t so enamoured with the third film, “Eclipse”. It started with Edward proposing marriage; it ended with Bella accepting. In the middle there was some drama with the grunge vampires from Seattle, which seemed to be an excuse so that Bella and Edward could prove their love for each other. And Bella got all emo over Jacob’s love.
But despite feeling a little disappointed by these last two films, I was still pretty excited about seeing the forth film in the saga, “Breaking Dawn: Part One”. And it did not disappoint, being at least as good at the first film.
I’ve seen critics complain that the film is a little slow moving, that the wedding takes too long. But the long, slow wedding gives the audience plenty of time to take in the splendour. There’s Bella looking nervous but gorgeous, and Edward looking like the idea of the man every girl secretly wants to marry. And pretty much everyone is really beautiful and things are perfect. Is it too long? Is a perpetually looping animated gif of Robert Pattinson biting his lip too long? No, it is not. It’s as long as it is because that’s how long it has to be. Speaking of animated gifs – this film also contains a scene where Jacob, angry and dripping wet, rips off his T-shirt and storms off into the forest. Aw yeah.
And just in case you thought things would get normal for Belz and Edz after they wed, “Breaking Dawn: Part One” also contains the honeymoon, with its bed-breaking consummation, which in turn leads to Bella’s speedy pregnancy with a weird demon baby, the even weirder demon baby birth, and the vampirification of Bella. OMG, so much drama!
Since I announced my Twilight viewing project, I’ve been surprised at the number of people who’ve admitted to being fans of the series, particularly some quite grown-up men. People who enjoy the books and the films, do that fully embracing the melodramatic, silly-fun world of Twilight. If you fight that, if you try to take the film seriously, then you’re just going to make it really unpleasant for yourself. It’s like watching a western and getting really angry that the film isn’t a hip hop comedy.
There’s also an argument that Bella is passive, that she should be more assertive like Buffy to be a good role model for teens. But the counter-argument goes that most teenage girls aren’t like Buffy. People in their 30s, who’ve grown in that confidence, are like Buffy. Bella is a dorky 18-year-old girl, who pretty much reminds me of when I was 18, only I didn’t have the vampire-werewolf love triangle or the weird demon baby. Though some of my friends in Hamilton managed the weird demon baby part.
I’m really happy to be part of the Twilight universe now. It’s brought me great enjoyment, and the thrill of anticipation for the final chapter in the series. I’m not about to get a Twilight duvet set, or call my firstborn child Renesmee, but it’s just nice to have this little pleasure in my life.
And most importantly: I’m totally Team Edward.