So I definitely missed the vampire bandwagon 13 years ago. For years, I have heard about the infamous movie but actually knew very little about it. This semester, I am taking a vampire class (yes, my school offers a vampire class) and Twilight is a required film…so my time has come.
So here is what I knew about the movie before actually watching it. Bella, Edward and Jacob are in a big love triangle. Jacob is shirtless alot. All the characters, but especially Bella, are allegedly annoying. The vampires sparkle. It is allegedly a very cringey film. Jacob is a werewolf and Edward is a vampire. Bella and Edward are the main couple. Anna Kendrick is in it for some reason. And that’s pretty much it. I’ve always been vaguely interested but never took the time so learn about the franchise, so this is pretty much all I knew.
Let’s first address those things after I watched the film. The love triangle was not in the first film, in fact Jacob was barely in it at all. That probably becomes bigger in later movies but I thought it started in the first. I was robbed of shirtless Taylor Lautner that everyone is obsessed with. I wouldn’t call Bella annoying, just more awkward and a moody teenager. Maybe she gets worse later. The vampires did sparkle! I guess that’s cool. I personally found it to be cringey but I could see how other people may not. It’s definitely not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Edward is a vampire and Jacob is a werewolf but that is only hinted at in this movie. That must be a bigger plot point later in the series. Bella and Edward were the main couple in this film, so I was right. Poor Anna Kendrick…what even was that character? To be fair most of the side characters were very bland in my opinion.
So here are my thoughts. To be fair, I didn’t go in with high expectations. Let’s start with the good. I liked the setting and nature shots. They were visually appealing and I think helped build a nice atmosphere. Bella wasn’t as awful as I expected. I always hear that she is so awful but I don’t think that is totally fair. I think the main issue was the writing (I’ll get to that later) and acting (which also wasn’t entirely her fault either). Was she a super likable character? No, but I wouldn’t call her the worst either. She was definitely bland but I thought all the characters were, so I’ll cut her some slack. I actually liked Edward more than I expected. He was a little awkward which was fun. I thought Robert Pattinson did a decent job despite the horrible writing. He was probably my favorite character but he was also a little too alpha-dog for my taste. The dad was fine and his relationship with Bella seemed realistic. I also liked the new dimensions the film gave vampires by letting them be in the sun (and sparkle!) or being vegetarian. That was actually pretty interesting but I wish I saw more of the other vampires. Edward was nice but it seemed like wanted potential to not mention more of his family.
So here’s the bad in my opinion. The writing was painful. I honestly blame the hate this movie gets on the writing more than the acting. For context, the version I watched had subtitles so I saw plenty of “anxious laugh”, “hesitant gasp”, “sad gasp”, etc. It added some humor but I know that was not the goal. The story had potential but I think the writing majorly held it back and is the reason why it is so mocked in pop culture now. Was the acting great, honesty no but I’m going to blame the directing more for that. Bella was clearly meant to be a shy and anxious girl but they took it too far that it did not seem realistic at all. I’ll blame Kristen a little but clearly she was told to act like that. I also didn’t really like the enemy vampires. They seemed pretty dry too. For a vampire film, I felt like the vampires were not developed enough.
Here are things that confused me. Why are the vampires constantly redoing high school? I know they look young but they could pass for twenty year olds (honestly better than high schoolers). They could do college, get normal jobs or just hang around creepily in the woods. Why would they willingly go through high school for eternity…it made no sense. The pacing was also kinda weird. It felt very slow at the beginning and then way too fast at the end. Like they’re already in love? Some of the early film could have fleshed out the characters more instead of being awkward gazes between Bella and Edward. What is vampire baseball? I did not see that coming, but it was a cute scene before the evil vampires had to spoil it. I also wanted to know more about the weird foster sibling/incest vampires. They were just kinda there and didn’t really add anything. Also why were the other students so chill about foster siblings dating? I know it’s legal but still strange.
My concluding thoughts: I didn’t dislike it as much as I thought I would. I also wouldn’t rewatch it. I think it deserves most of the criticism that it gets. People shouldn’t be mocked for liking the movie either. At the end of the day, it’s just a cheesy romance film with vampires. Let people like it if they want! There was always a part of me that wanted to watch Twilight, so I’m glad I did. Will I watch the sequels…probably not. But if I do, there will be another article about it.