It doesn’t matter what you think about Twilight. It’s the series that catapulted the YA-genre into the mainstream. For that, we should thank Stephenie Meyer. However, Twilight also introduced some troublesome trends in fiction for young people. No matter how dreamy Edward may seem, he is still a stalker. Anyway, let’s put all of those feelings aside for a moment. I hadn’t heard about Twilight until the first film came out. I went to see it with my friend, who is a sucker for romantic stories. Afterwards, we were all giddy and after hearing a group of girls exclaiming they want a vampire boyfriend, we ran to a shop to buy a Twilight poster.
That poster hung on my wall for quite some time. I went to see the film for a second time, but this time I wasn’t so convinced. Something about it didn’t sit well with me. Regardless, I also bought the book and read it, thinking it was nice and mindless entertainment. All the other books followed, but somewhere along the way, I lost interesting. Partly because in the last book nothing happened at all. Maybe also because it wasn’t necessarily well-written. It just felt like the story was being stretched beyond its limits to make money. Either way, I’ve seen all the films and read all the books quite a while ago. I figured it was time to watch the film again. Perhaps my opinion changed along the way?
Bella the Mary Sue
I remember the one thing that mainly annoyed me was Bella as a character. We all blamed Kirsten Stewart for that, but you can’t make a bad character interesting. I know that Bella is one of those protagonists that are purposely bland so that girls can identify themselves with her. However, it does not make for an interesting experience to see a character like that on screen. The first minute already irks me as Bella narrates the deer scene. It’s to show that she is so fragile in a world full of dangers. An interesting metaphor had Bella gone through any substantial growth. Spoiler, that does not happen. We’re also introduced to part 1 of the love triangle, Jacob. Whoever said that long hair was a good idea, should have been fired on the spot. The wig looks fake. Sorry, I digress.
The first few minutes introduce so many characters it is astounding. To all teenage girls out there who think if they go to a new school, they’ll be instantly popular; forget it. If you are as shy as Bella is, chances are no one is going to notice you. Unless you look like Beyoncé, but chances are you don’t. It’s just a very unrealistic portrayal of high school. It’s nice to dream, but I am here to crush your dreams right away. The only good thing about this so far is that we meet Anna Kendrick’s character. It’s good to know she went on to do some great things. You go Anna!
Yes Edward is problematic
When the Cullens are introduced, they don’t give a flying fuck about anyone in school. While Anna (I forgot her character’s name) introduces Edward and tells Bella he is not interested in anyone, Ed comes in and creepily stares at Bella. Well, let us all be damned. He is interested in her! Edward continues to treat her badly for a while, for example, running away when she walked into class. It’s the moment after the (spoiler) almost car crash that irks me a lot. Edward saves her and shows up at the hospital. Bella wants to talk about it and pushes him to tell her what the hell is up. When she tells him that she’s sure about what she saw, he says the age-old: “No one is going to believe you.”
I get the appeal. He is handsome and to the inexperienced eyes, he is awfully romantic. I mean, he stalked her all the way to Jacksonville and saved her from an almost rape! The fact that realistically, he shouldn’t be able to know where she is unless he stalked her is not a problem. I get that Robert Pattinson wasn’t too thrilled about Twilight and the character he had to portray. For all the redeeming qualities Edward appears to have, there are plenty of character traits that make him a creep. If he hadn’t been so handsome, Bella would have had her dad on his case right away.
Impossible romance gives hope
Twilight is an entertaining film. Not necessarily a good one and there is a lot of problematic content. However, I can understand why it is still popular. I have teenage girls in my classes now who read the books and dream about vampires after watching the films. It’s the impossible love that draws them in. Most teenagers do not have that much experience with love. So they can get completely lost in a story like Twilight, without the boundaries of knowing what is realistic or not. If Bella and Edward can make it work, then surely a handsome guy will come along one day to sweep her away as well. That is why it is so appealing to mainly teenagers. Older women also enjoy Twilight, perhaps for similar reasons. They know what love is truly about, but still dare to dream. And that’s okay.
I think it’s too bad the action doesn’t start until the end of the film. If there would have been more action throughout the film (and book), I might have liked it more. Regardless, I’m sure Twilight will continue to steal the hearts of teenage girls for many years to come. I wonder how Robert Pattinson is feeling about that, though.
Which YA film should we watch next? Let us know in the comments!
Our Summer of YA series consists of: