The ‘Twilight Saga’: Ten Years Later
It’s hard to believe that the first movie in The Twilight Saga came out just over a decade ago, yet here we are. 2008 was a different era for me — I was a 20-something in college with a dual major in English and Secondary Education. While student teaching with 7th grade English, all the girls (and some of the boys) were obsessed with Twilight and Stephanie Meyer. It was either get on board or be made fun of by a ruthless and rabid pack of 12 and 13-year-olds.
At this time, the Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse novels had been released with Breaking Dawn due to come out that fall. In the quick and efficient manner of all English majors, I read all three books in a week period (let’s be real, those novels are not a hard read). By the end of student teaching, I could discuss those books with my students in great detail, and their smiles were all the payment I needed.
Why did I continue on reading the series and see all the movies? Truth is I actually kind of liked them. As lame as it may sound, there was something about the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle that I couldn’t get enough of! It was all so silly, but it gave me a measure of hope that someone swathed in immense awkwardness could find love.
Being the new kid to MovieBabble, I knew I had to make a splash of sorts. When I saw the entire The Twilight Saga up on Amazon Prime, I knew this is what I had to do. I recruited my husband to rewatch the first Twilight movie with me on a Saturday afternoon. What follows is not a review of these movies, rather a semi-coherent timeline of my thoughts and impressions while enduring them. It will be reminiscent of the guy who live tweeted his first time watching Harry Potter.
I forgot that Kristen Stewart does the narration for this movie. I immediately began questioning whether or not I could watch this movie again. Independently from each other, each one of my children would walk into my room and ask, “What even is this?” The littlest one also wanted to know if “that girl (Bella) is, like, sad or something?” It was difficult to explain to my nine-year-old girl just how amazing the little girls of 2008 thought this movie was. She doesn’t believe me at all (I think she rolled her eyes at me). It’s similar to her disbelief over hearing me proclaim that her father and I were born in the Nineteen-Hundred and Eighties!
I’ve decided this is the best movie to have on while cleaning the house. I don’t actually need to be reminded of that awkward car scene where Bella touches Edward and she says “You’re so cold!”
I had to leave and dust something, anything. I heard my husband cackling — yes cackling — and had to come back to see what it was. I walked into to see the scene where Edward tells Bella to “say it out loud.” “Vampire” Wow, what a stunning revelation. I distinctly remember being 100% over the vampire scene by this film, I still had that Kate Beckinsale movie Underworld stuck in my craw.
Okay, I won’t lie. I left the room and didn’t come back until the scene where everyone is playing vampire baseball. I have no idea what I was doing, but it was definitely not watching the movie. For some reason, I feel a little guilty that it’s just been playing in the background so I decided to watch the entire baseball scene. Vampires as predators is a fine premise, but I still wonder why did the tracker James not smell Bella’s amazing blood until the wind shifted? Seems highly suspect to me!
I’m beginning to wonder what in the world my 22-year-old self saw in this movie. It was obviously a high-budget film, but these effects make me shake my head so hard I think I am getting whiplash. At least this movie is over, but I didn’t watch the end of the movie, it was just over all of a sudden.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
Next up in The Twilight Saga is New Moon… we watched approximately thirty minutes of this before I begged my husband to “please, for the love of God, turn it off”. He was preparing the children a snack, and asked what the commotion was about. I then explained that Bella cut her finger opening her birthday present, Jasper tried to eat her, Edward threw Bella into the table and cut her arm worse. Way to go, Bella — you made Jasper turn into a crazy. This sparse play-by-play from me to him is what made me decide I had watched enough Twilight for a Saturday.
After we turned this off on Saturday, we went to a BBQ where I laughed with everyone over this crazy idea. It gave me the fortitude to restart this insanity on Sunday.
Rewatching Bella’s meltdown over Edward did make my 30-something mom heart break a little bit. Then on the other hand, the fierce warrior goddess inside me was shouting “Buck Up Child!” Even when this movie came out (2009) I literally laughed out loud (I was shushed loudly in the theater for this) over the passing of the months around Bella. Maybe I am just too old to remember, but I don’t think I was ever that into anyone as a teenager. Then again, none of my boyfriends were ever sparkling, Adonis-like vampires.
This is definitely the best movie series to have on while cleaning the house. When I went to scrub a toilet and change out laundry, I knew I had missed nothing important. Also, I want to stop and remind everyone that Anna Kendrick plays Jessica (Bella’s school friend) in these films. I aca-love it! Although I remember reading something about how Anna Kendrick did not enjoy filming these movies — I guess it’s super cold in the Pacific Northwest.
Taylor Lautner’s transformation into a hottie still makes me feel gross. I was a young twenty something when this one came out, but already married with a kid! I couldn’t have been the only older woman thinking there was something wrong with themselves for ogling the youngster.
He turns into this giant wolf now… With great abs comes great wolf power, I guess? Bella is not nearly as disturbed as she should be by this turn of events. Granted this is the same character that has been driving dirt bikes, and jumping off cliffs in order to hallucinate Edward talking to her. She obviously is mental.
I guess there are still surprises left for me in this film, because I forgot Edward tried to sparkle himself to death!
Then the movie ends with Edward telling, not asking, Bella to marry him. Who says romance is dead?
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
Next up is The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. I literally turned on the film and left to make the beds. The blurb for this one calls it “…the third chapter of Stephenie Meyer’s phenomenal Twilight Saga…” and they aren’t wrong about it being phenomenal. Phenomenally atrocious! My husband said, “They aren’t wrong about it being third!” He’s a funny guy, I think I’ll keep him.
Bella is the worse friend. Jacob is going through a hard time with Bella being in love with a vampire and with his transformation into becoming a giant wolf. Yet Bella is so self involved, it takes her dad to get her to recognize she is being a turd. Also, Charlie is low-key the coolest dad ever.
“Doesn’t he own a shirt?”, thank you Edward for saying what I literally was just thinking! I think I remember reading somewhere that Taylor Lautner was contractually obligated to be shirtless for so many minutes on-screen. I am very serious that if I had that many abs, I would be shirtless a lot also. That funny husband of mine thinks Jacob is just trying to conserve his wardrobe because he never takes anything off before transforming.
I don’t know what I was just doing, but now Jacob is kissing Bella without her permission. That’s super gross, but Bella does punch Jacob in the face right after the awkward open eye kiss.
It’s even more awkward as a still!
I also forgot this is the movie where Rachelle Lefevre was replaced with Bryce Dallas Howard. I think there was some drama surrounding that, so I have to go look it up.
According to Access Hollywood, back in 2009 Rachelle Lefevre was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard because of scheduling conflicts. Lefevre had a ten-day overlap between Eclipse and Barney’s Version, but the conflict was because Summit had changed shooting schedules. Gossip on some pages seem to think swapping Lefevre with Howard was to bring a bigger named star to the movie.
And now I know way more about that than I wanted.
The scene where these two teenage boys think it’s a good idea to keep Bella in a tent in the mountain was awkward to read. Seeing this scene in live-action was doubly awkward. Jacob in the sleeping bag with Bella as Edward looks on with angst is just too much.
I missed most of the fight scene with The Cullens, the Wolf Pack, and the Baby Vampire Army. I did arrive in time to see Edward rip Victoria’s head right off (that part was kind of cool)! Jane is also my favorite and I would be interested to watch a whole movie of her being the coolest. The casting of Dakota Fanning was pretty spot on for that role.
Once again I have concluded Bella is the worst ever. First there is the most unromantic marriage proposal at the end of the last movie, and then this scene where Bella says to Edward, “I’m gonna need that ring.” It’s official: Romance is dead and this series is the killer.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011)
Onto the “highly anticipated fourth installment of The Twilight Saga”… I hope you all recognize the sacrifice to my sanity I have made in rewatching these more diligently than anyone should. At least the super awkward wedding and honeymoon happens in this one.
By far the best thing to happen at the beginning of this film in Anna Kendrick. Again. Her quippy line, “I wonder if she is showing yet” made me giggle. Because, seriously why else would you get married at 18?
Stephenie Meyer’s cameo as a wedding guest was actually kind of sweet — the look she had on her face as Bella walked down the aisle towards Edward is endearing. I think all writers have a vision of what their book and characters would look like in real life — this scene shows Meyer’s dreams were definitely fulfilled. This scene also reminds me of a scene from The Simpsons where the pastor is officiating a wedding and says “We are gathered here today, in the showiness of nature..” It is breathtaking though.
In addition to Jacob being 100% correct that this whole thing is a sick joke, let’s recall both Bella and Edward are virgins. Stephenie Meyer has spoken publicly about how her Mormon faith directly influenced her writing of these novels. It should come as no surprise that Bella and Edward would abstain from all sexual activity before being wedded into the after life. I only bring this up, because the honeymoon scenes are so painfully awkward I made my dogs leave the room.
Somehow I managed to get completely sucked into this part of the movie! Maybe it was the awkward sex scene, maybe it was the housekeeper’s faces when they saw the destruction in the bedroom, I am not really sure. I do know I enjoyed scoffing at all of Bella and Edward’s lovey dovey faces while I curled my hair. Then I lost some time again and suddenly Bella is calling Rose for help with the demon baby.
Because the first person I would call if I was pregnant with a demon vampire baby is the girl who hates me.
Around three quarters of the way through this movie, I am finally done getting ready for date night. Being a truly accident prone person, I decided to just tough out the last of this movie. And it was mostly fine. Jacob has a falling out with the wolf pack, and Leah and Sam go with him to protect Bella and her tiny demon baby. Bella is literally having the life sucked out of her by the tiny demon baby, and everyone is just standing around like “Well, I don’t know what to do either!” Everything remains consistently awkward and horrible (remember Bella’s baby names?), and then Bella’s back snaps in half!
Edward literally bites the tiny demon baby out of Bella’s stomach, then he grabs a GIANT needle and pumps Bella full of his venom. I actually have a lot of questions about where the venom came from, and how do they know this is sanitary? She undergoes the magical vampire transformation while under the paralytic effect of morphine. Then she wakes up brand new.
Bella’s makeover into a vampire has me thinking I need to be a sparkling vampire now. I am also thinking I might need a strong adult beverage now.
Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012)
It is now Monday, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is what’s on the menu. I feel like I am stuck in a never-ending loop of sparkling vampires, oversized wolf dogs, and acapella (don’t ask). The blurb for this one told me that “…tensions build toward all-out war.” I’m starting to think I will burn down this house today if I can’t finish this series within the next couple of hours.
I forgot how floaty and fast the running effects are in part two. My children just came into see what I was laughing about and walked away shaking their heads at me. I think I am dying. Sparkling floaty Kristen Stewart in the woods grimace-smiling at everything tipped me right over the edge.
I have been sitting transfixed for several minutes now, and I have many thoughts about the following couple of scenes. Firstly, oh lord in heaven, the creepy CGI baby face on Renesmee is 100% the worse thing I have ever seen. (Well, maybe Henry Cavill’s weird no mustache in Justice League is in the running also.) Secondly, I find it borderline inappropriate that if you are werewolf you can imprint on an infant. To me, it screams pedophilia and I am not sure that’s what Stephenie Meyer had intended.
After doing some light housework, I have returned back to this to rediscover Rami Malek (upcoming Bohemian Rhapsody out November 2018) and Angela Sarafyan (HBO’s Westworld) in this movie! I totally forgot all about these big name celebrities being in this film. In addition to these two, there is a Tyra Banks look-alike (Tracey Heggins) as the Amazonian vampire Senna and MyAnna Buring who I originally mistook for Kelly Ripa. Buring is actually in several episodes of Downton Abbey which is where some might know her face from.
Note: I paused the movie and it said there are still two hours left, I don’t know how I’ll survive.
Fact: There are not two hours left, that’s how long the movie is in total. This was pointed out to me by another member on staff and I do feel silly for forgetting the time stamp on the left is the movie run time, not how much is left to go! I am definitely losing my mind here. But we have finally arrived to the big battle scene and it is almost acceptable. Within the world of The Twilight Saga, I suppose it makes sense for these vampires to not have any blood — the wolf tribe does call them “The Cold Ones”. However, a little gore would have really livened things up.
There is actually a lot to unpack during this battle scene. Some of the vampires we have all begrudgingly gotten used to and maybe started to like have died. Bella does her weird force field thing (the special effect for this still makes me snort in laughter), Benjamin splits the Earth open after his maker dies, and Edward throws Bella at Aro (who hasn’t daydreamed about throwing her). Honestly, it is probably the entire franchises shining moment. For a minute, while brushing my teeth and watching, I was really root-root-rooting for the home team. And then it was all some kind of insane vision from Alice to Aro and I am immediately done with this whole damn film.
I left the room right after this Alice scene and didn’t come back until I heard Christina Perry singing A Thousand Years (honestly makes my cold heart weepy).
The relief I feel over finishing all these movies cannot be described. I have been abandoned by my children and husband while doing the writing for all the films. Additionally, on several occasions my middle child (who is the most like me) has decided to randomly tell me he hates this movie. I don’t blame him really. There are just so few moments that make these films resemble anything that might qualify as good! It is with great sincerity that I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone marathon them the way I have the past few days.
Rest assured, The Twilight Saga is just as bad as you remember it being.
Thank you for reading! Did you suffer through all of The Twilight Saga when they came out? Comment down below!
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