Movie Review: The Twilight Saga

twilightFor whatever reason, I decided to watch the entire Twilight Saga from beginning to end. I tend to prefer forming my own opinions about just about everything and I have found that I have spent a lot of my time and energy regurgitating other people’s opinions or thoughts and not enough time giving things a viable chance. With that in mind, the desire to be more open-minded and accepting of other people’s viewpoints, I decided to do an entire marathon where I watched the full Twilight Saga from beginning to end. The Twilight Saga consists of: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

A long, long time ago, when the first Twilight movie came out, my brother and I went to see it because we didn’t know anything about it but what we did know was that there were supposedly vampires and the story took place in our home area in the Pacific Northwest. We are typically those movie-goers who enjoy some bloody vampire movies so we didn’t do any more research on any parts of the movie or the background of the books. If my memory is correct, and I honestly can’t vouch for it because my brain has been scrambled many times before, Twilight is the first and only movie I have ever walked out on because it was just not something worthwhile for me. Now, I don’t know if we actually walked out of that movie, but I kind of feel like we did.

Here are some of the reasons we were originally dissatisfied with Twilight:

  1. Vampires are supposed to be creatures of the night and they’re supposed to be scary monsters. Vampires are not supposed to be glittery and walk around in the daylight, nor be interested in attending high school for a century or more. Looking at this movie from my current world-view and experience, however, and having done a little bit more research into the history and lore of vampires, it actually wasn’t until Bram Stoker’s Dracula where vampires became creatures of the night and developed super powers and weaknesses to certain things such as garlic and sunlight. Prior to that time, many different mythologies all over the world had different variations of people thought to be dead who would feed on the living. So when Twilight’s vampires weren’t really the scary vampires of the common Hollywood, we were disappointed instead of allowing different interpretations of mythology and lore. Instead of finding something fresh and different, we found something lacking violence. I guess that says a lot about how I’ve grown in the last several years. I can now see a lot more of the positives from the series than I could before.
  2. The romantic story in this movie was down-right frightening. Love is one thing, obsession is another. However, I can also say that in the last several years, I’ve learned what being in love actually feels like and I’ve learned a lot about what a healthy relationship should look like. A healthy relationship should have compromises and lives and hobbies outside of time spent together. The relationships presented in this entire series were all very uncompromising and there was constantly a lack of clear communication throughout the entire series. Each character would go off and do their own thing and not even think about how their actions would impact others. The characters were all remarkably selfish, only thinking of themselves and their own needs and wants. Even the friendships felt one-sided, like how Bella would just ditch her friends all over random towns after a movie because she wanted an adrenaline rush with a random stranger on a motorcycle or picking a fight with another friend who wasn’t feeling well.
  3. Not one character in this entire series had any sort of goal, motivation, or ambition to do anything with their lives. In theory, you could say that Bella had a goal of becoming a vampire, but that’s not really a life-motivation. That’s kind of a short-term goal, but it was all she asked about. And that’s the same thing with Edward – all he wanted was to marry Bella. He’s been a vampire for over a hundred years and all he wants to do is wait until he’s married to have sex? It just seemed really short-sighted to me. If you’re immortal, you could learn every craft or trade there is on the entire planet. You could become the world’s best carpenter or painter or pianist or novelist or *something*. But it seemed to me as though all the characters in the entire series were just hanging around, doing a lot of nothing. I think out of the whole series, this is what bothered me the most. A hundred years isn’t even remotely enough time to see the entire world but that’s what I would be doing. I get that they’re vampires and not supposed to show themselves to the world, but you could still travel and experience new cultures instead of just hiding in a very, very tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Basically, there’s far too much you could be doing with your time and the fact that no one in the entire series had any desire to do anything other than lounge around was supremely frustrating to me.

Those are the top three things that really bugged me about this entire series. Granted, I haven’t read the books, though that is on my list of things to do at some point ever because I really do like forming my own opinions and not just regurgitating the ideas and thoughts of other people.

I can sort of see why these movies had such a vast appeal to certain audiences, though, especially women. I think the appeal of this series is having someone who loves you so much that they would do anything for you, including leaving you alone if they thought that you would be better off or safer without them. The additional appeal of a very old-school mentality of waiting until after marriage to engage in sexual intercourse and wanting to have a family are obvious, though perhaps slightly unrealistic in this day and age. I can also see the appeal of having someone want nothing more than just to spoil you and take care of you for all the rest of your days and also of being able to have a life where you don’t have to have a job and can just lounge around all day doing nothing. None of this is something I want in my life, but I can see where other people might find all these concepts greatly appealing.

I liked that the movies actually had a fairly diverse cast and I thought the lore of the American tribes fit into the werewolf mythology. I liked how the series wasn’t just filled with a bunch of white people and how there were even vampires of different ethnicities. I think that’s one of the things this series did fairly well is with including other cultures and other representations rather than just white-washing the entire cast like seems to be happening more and more in today’s entertainment industry. (White-washing is where Hollywood takes characters and even background characters and makes them all white instead of being an accurate representation of their source material or including cultural diversity amongst the cast). So while most of the cast was actually white, not all of them were and it showed a more accurate representation of actual populations in the world.

This entire series’ soundtracks are actually really fantastic. There’s a lot of music I really enjoy and even some solid piano and orchestral parts. A good portion of the music is by artists I recognize and songs I wouldn’t have otherwise if I didn’t have the soundtracks to these movies. If you can’t force yourself to watch the movies, I would actually encourage you to check out the soundtracks, if you enjoy that sort of music. The scores are pretty good and so are the actual “songs with words”.

Overall, I think I would rate this entire series as maybe a low two on my rating scale. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the need to actually watch the movies again and I might watch them if someone else was watching them, but I don’t feel the need to go out and buy the entire series with the extended cuts or anything like that. I have now watched the whole series and formed my own opinions as to what I think and why.

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About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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