Twilight – a movie saga that almost every teenage girl was obsessed with. I, however, was never interested in seeing the movies. Recently I caved and watched all five movies in a four day time span. I went into the movie marathon with low expectations, and by the time I finished the saga, I was emotionally invested in every character. I’m not the kind of person who has to read the books first, so my review of the saga is based solely on the movies. I’m going to do my best to avoid spoilers and honestly review the movies. I will say this: Team Edward all the way!
Twilight depicts vampires for the most part very differently from our typical understanding of vampires. For starters, vampires have a reflection and can be seen in photographs. Garlic doesn’t affect them and the only true way to kill a vampire is to *Content Warning* rip them apart by their limbs and burn the pieces. On a much happier note, they don’t burst into flames when in contact with sunlight; instead their skin sparkles like diamonds. They don’t sleep in coffins or turn into bats. They also don’t need human blood to survive. The Cullens only drink animal blood, so in a roundabout way they refer to themselves as vegetarian vampires. The most notable traits of the twilight vampires would be their super speed, high jumping abilities, they don’t need to sleep and at whatever age they are turned into a vampire, is the age they will remain physically forever. Select vampires have “powers.” These powers are exclusive to one vampire. Not every vampire is lucky enough to have powers. In the Cullen family, three out of seven have powers that are explicitly stated in the films. Edward has the power to hear thoughts, Alice can see the future, and it is briefly mentioned that Jasper has mood control.
Each of the five movies are two hours long. The movies hold so much plot in each one that it gets hard to draw a line between plot points and to remember if something happened in one movie or the other. Overall I expected the movies to be beyond cringey and unbearable to watch. This was not the case. Each movie had its quirks that made its cringe factor go up. It was crazy to see not only the characters grow (as much as vampires who don’t age can grow) but also the actors grow – Kristen Stewart (Bella) was just 18 when the first movie premiered. I will be skipping over some important plot points, but only because they are too good to spoil no matter how little they may seem.
Starting with the first movie, Twilight, that premiered in 2008. The entirety of this film is shot in a weird blue filter that makes you question if you’re going crazy or it really is that color – don’t worry you aren’t crazy. The film starts with Bella Swan moving out of her mom’s house in Phoenix, Arizona to her dad’s in Forks, Washington. Bella is soon made aware of the Cullen family – Dr. Carlisle Cullen, his wife Esme and their five foster children. In a scene in the lunch room we get the rundown on who’s who. “The blonde girl, Rosalie, and the big dark-haired guy, Emmett – they’re a thing. And the little dark haired girl, Alice, she’s really weird. She’s with Jasper, the blonde who looks like he’s in pain… That’s Edward Cullen, he’s totally gorgeous, obviously. But apparently, no one here is good enough for him.” So we basically learn that everyone except Edward are taken. Bella and Edward start to have unplanned and coincidental interactions. At about halfway through the movie Bella finds out Edward and the whole Cullen family’s secret: they’re vampires! From that moment, the movies only get more intense and fast moving.
By of the end of the first movie, Bella had been tracked by an evil vampire James and almost every member of the Cullen family was at one point threatened by death. The movie ended with Bella and Edward dancing at prom while James’ lover Victoria watches them while plotting to avenge the death of James.
I would say that each movie is less cringey than the last. After the first movie, the horrible blue filter is gone.
In the first movie, we meet all the key characters including a brief introduction to Jacob Black. He doesn’t have a major role in the first film; he is used to provide Bella with information and further the plot. The second movie is when Jacob becomes a key character. Edward leaves Bella in an attempt to protect her, and Jacob starts to comfort Bella and they become even closer than they were. Jacob helps pull Bella out of her depressed state and take her mind off Edward. Bella didn’t hear from any of the Cullens during this time. All is going well until Jacob ghosts Bella out of nowhere. Jacob apologizes for leaving her, but he can’t tell Bella why until she figures out. Bella soon realizes Jacob is a werewolf!
The Cullens and the pack of werewolves Jacob is a part of have been enemies for ages. There was a treaty put into place in order to keep the Cullens off the pack’s land and vice versa. Vampires can smell werewolves and they often describe it as a wet dog smell. The wolves don’t necessarily smell vampires but they can sense them. This conflict between the two families is a constant struggle in who Bella should trust and who should be considered “good.” Every film has the conflict presented in some way, some more than others.
Now to shift gears a little bit and discuss the major conflicts in each movie. The second movie takes a break from the Victoria drama and there isn’t a direct conflict. Through miscommunication Edward believes Bella is dead, so he goes to the Volturi (the headquarters for the council of vampires) to ask them to essentially kill him. His request was denied and he comes up with a plan that causes Bella to rush into his arms at the last minute to convince him to live. In the third movie, they face Victoria and her army of newborn vampires – newly turned vampires who are stronger physically and their thirst is stronger than anyone else. The underlying vampire and werewolf battle is put aside when they have to come together to defeat the newborn army.
The fifth movie is a part two to the fourth movie. In the fourth movie, Bella and Edward get married and Bella shockingly gets pregnant and gives birth at the end of the movie, but there is no direct conflict. The fifth movie is a direct continuation of the fourth film. This movie is spent gathering “witnesses” to help support the Cullens in their upcoming battle against the Volturi.
Now everything I just talked about doesn’t do the saga justice. I thought for sure I would hate the movies based on everything I’d heard about them, but I definitely don’t. As cringey as the films are, I honestly didn’t notice the cringe since I was so invested in the plot.
Overall, I have trouble picking just one favorite, but my two way tie for first is Twilight: New Moon (the second movie) and Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two (the fifth movie). I like the shock value that is present in each of these. These are my favorites, but the other three movies don’t fall much lower than first. I can assure you I am never going to stop rewatching these movies.