Revisiting The Twilight Saga: A Lukewarm Defence

Without sounding too sad, instead of going out clubbing with friends, I often prefer to invite them over for bad film watching. It’s always better in a group; you have people to bounce your inevitably aggressive or incredulous opinions off of. I have found during the many times that I’ve done this that the most fun is had from a film you have genuine affection for – Troll 2 or Bee Movie, for instance.

I bring this up because the entire Twilight Saga has been put into UK Netflix, prompting a masochistic interest from my boyfriend and a swift rewatch from myself. As many women my age have, I’ve been through the phase of loving and subsequently hating the series, entranced by it’s bizarre melodrama before decrying it as poorly crafted and anti-feminist. Now I think I fall somewhere in between, and believe that amongst all its glaring faults – or perhaps because of – lies a classic suitable for Midnight Movie screenings. Can’t you imagine an audience shouting ‘you better hold on tight, spider monkey’ in a well packed cinema?

I admit that Bella’s character removes me from fully enjoying these films. The weakest element by far, her passive actions and lack of responsibility are irritatingly punctuated by Kristen Stewart’s disinterested grunts and whines. But this does provide a hilarious contrast between her strange desires and the rational world around her, as the Twilight universe is one in which everyone makes reasonable sense bar the main protagonists. The love triangle rages on for roughly four films, and none of the supporting characters could care less.

What irks me most about criticism of the series is the number of apparently liberal men who mask their ingrained dislike for all things girly by claiming that ‘sexism’ is the worst sin these films commit. Bella’s dependence on Edward may not be healthy, but in my opinion at least, the fantastical way their relationship is presented negates the importance of to what degree real world standards are imposed on it. When watched as though it is a corny cult film along the lines of Rocky Horror, the romance seems more akin to a bodice-ripper than an ideal model to be emulated. These same standards are also rarely applied to Deckard and Rachel in Blade Runner, when the former literally rapes the latter, and instead the outrage is reserved for works enjoyed primarily by women.

So if you take enjoyment in watching Bella describe Edward’s beauty for the umpteenth time, or listening to her angrily proclaim that her daughter has been nicknamed after the Loch Ness Monster, you are not alone, and nor should you be. The first film, at least to my mind, is one that shows genuine ambition with its cinematography and soundtrack if nothing else, and I would rather celebrate the good than solely condemn the bad.


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