, much like the vampires it features, absolutely refuses to pass away. Over a decade on, the movie remains a pop culture touchstone and an enduring guilty pleasure. The data is irrefutable: Just last summer, the film series hit Netflix and became Twilight the five most-watched movies on the streaming service.
While diehard fans likely relished reliving every minute of vampy romance, for more casual viewers, it didn’t take long to remember ... Oh yeah, these movies are
kind of wild. Moviegoers who watched the film exactly one time in 2008 and haven’t thought about it since, be warned: Twilight is even weirder than you remember.
The story is odd (
the actors agree!). The acting is ... not subtle. The music is very much of its (emo) time. It’s strange to think that in spite of all of that, this movie would crush at the box office — the first in a series that would net over $3.3 billion in theaters worldwide.
But I’m not here to debate
Twilight’s cinematic merits. No, we’re here today because, even after so many years, there’s still more to discuss about the movie (specifically, how all the vampires should be in therapy, and how Carlisle Cullen really messed up). This is Twilight, but in 2022! Rosalie has a way more interesting story than Bella.
I realize that Rosalie’s backstory isn’t revealed in the first movie, but the presence of the crabby blonde reminded me: Rosalie is a cool character, and her story arc is
way more intense than you remember. She was once a vain homemaker-to-be — until she was sexually assaulted by her fiancé and his friends and left for dead. She’s able to get revenge once Carlisle turns her into a vampire, but she’s still devastated that she can’t have a child (something that will connect her to Bella later).
Why do we not get more Rosalie, or even a whole movie devoted to her? Yes, I would like to watch a survivor-turned-vampire vigilante
wear a wedding dress while she slays the men who brutalized her. She’s way more exciting than a mopey teen! (Sorry not sorry, Bella.) Wow, my tastes have shifted.
Did anyone ... realize ... how hot Bella’s dad and Carlisle were? Perhaps this is just because because I’m now an adult, but I would love to be in the presence of a sweet, supportive doctor who offers pearls of wisdom as needed and a dad who quietly does his very important job and worries about my wellbeing. I couldn’t spare a single thought for the (unnecessary!) teen drama — Billy Burke’s sad, solemn face is
all I need. Some of the lines ... just don’t make sense?
I’m not talking about corny or silly lines (of which there are many, but you knew that already). Some of the characters say things that are literal head-scratchers. After Edward runs through the forest and takes Bella to the top of a very high tree, she gasps, “This isn’t real. This kind of stuff just doesn’t exist.” Wait, what? Which part? Climbing trees? Being up high? (And if what she meant was, “I’ve never moved so fast in all my life, wow, thanks Edward,” why didn’t she just say that?)
Surely the sparkly skin would have been more of a problem.
Admittedly, I am not the first person to notice this issue, but it must be said. I’ve been to Washington, and the sun does shine some of the time! Even the very dark and wet town of Forks (stops writing, Googles the weather there to confirm)
does have partly cloudy and semi-sunny days! Just taking the kids out of school when it happens to be sunny is not a long-term solution, Carlisle.
Now I’m envisioning several paranoid vampire “teenagers” consulting their weather apps obsessively. They accidentally pass by an open window: sparkles. They forget to wear long sleeves: sparkles. They have to go to class in a different building: sparkles. Honestly, forget going to high school, I would never even leave the house.
Where’d you go, Cam Gigandet? Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images
I know, I know, he’s a
perfectly legit working actor, but remember when the guy who played James was being pitched as the next leading-man heartthrob? The poor thing did all he could to make it work, spending all of Twilight shirtless and probably very waxed. He even admitted at the time, “In ‘Twilight,’ I'm practically naked throughout the entire movie,” adding, “I never like to [take my shirt off], because I'm just as insecure as everyone else in the world. But you've just gotta take the good with the bad, I guess.” These current times really make me question Carlisle’s choices.
So, you were living through the Spanish flu, in which an estimated
50 million people passed away, and you saved ... one person?! Yes, I fully understand that he can’t just go around turning people into vampires lest the secret get out, but he was a doctor watching many, many people get sick — which, sadly, is quite relevant to our current situation. I bet lots of people during the Spanish flu could’ve been helped, and not just those who looked like teens. I can’t believe this is the most joyful film in the franchise.
I appreciated the note on
IMDb that “Kristen Stewart smiles over 35 times during the course of the movie.” Firstly, because I appreciate the person who paused and rewinded the film to catch every rueful smirk. Secondly, because 35 times is very few for a movie that’s over two hours long. But mainly, and most importantly, because she smiles much less. And the series only gets grimmer and more depressing! Anna Kendrick is the best part.
Kendrick has lovingly called her character “
an idiot,” but Jessica is hardly a fool. She’s a good friend (she tries to support Bella as she’s dating a weird older guy), and an endearingly excitable teen (she swoons over going to the prom with her age-appropriate crush, and doesn’t shy away from how great she looks in her dress!). Jessica is also the only character to offer some comedy and snark — the rest act like they’re waiting to get colonoscopies. Make me a movie about Rosalie, and then make me a movie about Jessica. Jackson Rathbone’s wide-eyed hungry face is distracting.
I realize that his actions are meant to set up
a pivotal scene in the second film, but it’s still unsettling. Thanks to his “I need to eat that person right now” face, I can’t even focus on Bella or Edward.
There are a lot of characters, but Jasper’s easily the least likable. And that’s not even counting the main reason to hate him: that he was
once a Confederate soldier. So they couldn’t have found, like, a vampire therapist to talk to?
Instead of self-soothing by watching a 17-year-old sleep, Edward, maybe try working on yourself? And also, maybe bring your whole family along too?
The Cullens live alongside humans and want to eat them
all the time. They can’t go outside. They have to keep repeating high school. Most of them are wrestling with trauma (lookin’ at you, Rosalie). It’s wild that they’ve lived for so long and never bothered to bring in a professional Edward, you used to be human!
Don’t act like you don’t know what sleep is and why Bella needs it! It’s as if the vampires, upon becoming immortal, immediately forget everything they used to do in their former lives. (This is addressed somewhat more fully in the book, but there’s still a ton that doesn’t add up.) The family fumbles through dinner with Bella, but they literally sit in the lunchroom with her every day. They’re always around people, and yet human behavior is
wildly strange to them.
Also, let’s say it again: Edward, stop watching people sleep without their knowledge.
One more thing: Please don’t “make” anyone dance, Edward.
It’s almost menacing. Usually, Edward goes out of his way to avoid Bella and warn her about spending time with him (unless he’s too busy puking because of how much he wants to drink her blood). But then, when Bella is like, “Ha, no, please don’t try to make my clumsy self dance with you,” he insists she join him.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I would’ve loved a scene where Edward makes Bella foxtrot, and she accidentally knees him in the balls. Yes! Let’s pretend that’s what happened.
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This article was originally published on
Aug. 11, 2021