Have you ever read a story so silly that it made you laugh at yourselves for liking it?
I did. I both read and watched the Twilight Saga and I must say I still cannot believe I liked it.
The Book: Nothing Special, Besides the Story Itself
I only saw the first Twilight movie after my best friend couldn’t stop telling me how great it is. So, one night in the dorm I watched open-mouthed, intrigued, amused and totally seduced the story of Bella and Edward. I liked the way the movie was made, the faded colors that really made you drift into a vampire world, the darker images… I have to admit, I too found some of the scenes too cheesy or ridiculous, but overall, the story really intrigued me.
So I decided to read the books too, because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Since I hadn’t too much money, I opted to read it online, in English, on a really bad website, but that was the only one that had a free full version of the books. It didn’t take me much to finish all four books and, trust me I was completely absorbed by the plot and the characters. All of the sudden, the action and Bella’s behavior didn’t seem so ridiculous anymore. The characters got a life of their own, but in my imagination they looked much more natural than on screen. They were fitting the story, and falling in love with a vampire seemed something normal, something that could happen to anyone, if they were to meet a sparkling one. When you think about it, why not? He’s hot, smart, he’s got manners, guts and is very loyal.
In my opinion, the Twilight Saga is not a masterpiece of the international literature, the construction of the book and the characters don’t prove an extraordinary ability to read into the human being. We’re not talking about introspective techniques such as those that Dostoyevsky uses in his books, we’re not talking about a “fictional realism” as in Garcia Marquez’ case, or the impressive ability to express the tragedy of a generation, like the one that Steinbeck proved in The Grapes of Wrath.
We are talking about the ability to make up a thrilling, romantic and completely fictional story using a lot of dialogue, constructing very distinctive voices for the main characters. Also, Stephanie Meyer proved that she is able to grasp what a big portion of the audience wants to read and the kind of “heroes” a whole generation wants to have. Edward Cullen is That hero that can surpass culture, nationality, beliefs and even age by being a softer version of Dracula – more handsome, more seductive, more human, after all. Let’s not forget he and his family don’t feed on people.
The Movies: Good, Bad, Bad, Bad, Good Again
The first and the last movies were the best of the entire series. Compared to the books, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn – part 1, were really boring. They were too cheesy, for me at least. I would say that these three movies made the characters look very bad. Very, very bad. But, at least the ending was good.
When I went to see Breaking Dawn – part 2, I entered the movie theatre expecting the same long, boring story about love, with really long looks and unnatural sex scenes (I think that the first Bella-Edward sex scene in Breaking Dawn-part 1was the worst I have ever seen; I have pictured it so much better when I read the books). Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by how natural the actors were with their new roles as parents. I would have never thought that Kristen Stewart could be a fierce mom and look good while playing the part. Edward, Bella, and their on-screen daughter really looked like a family.
Besides that, the fight scenes and the twist they did was a great surprise. The book had a good ending, but the movie had an even better ending, with all those heads being ripped off and the touch of pain they added to the action. I felt so sorry for the poor wolves… When the scene ended abruptly, revealing the true ending, everyone in the theatre was shocked and shrieked with surprise. That made up for all the bad scenes in the previous movies and somehow regained my interest for the story. I say it’s worth going to the cinema and watching it, if you saw the other parts too. Don’t read the spoilers on the internet, just go and watch it.
A Generation’s Heroes and Another Generation’s Mock
After reading the books and watching the movies, I can honestly say that the craziness surrounding Twilight is not completely unjustified. It is, after all, a beautiful love story and the kids reading or watching it can learn a few things about love, friendship and loyalty. On the other hand, there are people who might go into thinking they are vampires too, or wishing desperately to steal Robert Pattinson’s heart from the “cheater” Kristen Stewart.
Yes, there are reasons to laugh at how ridiculous it is to fall for this story, but didn’t the generations before us laugh at hippies, at Rolling Stones, at Star Wars, at everything the younger ones seemed to like or embrace? I think we should take Twilight as it is: a story, a fiction, a movie talking about love and young people, rather than being so against it that we fall into the ridiculed category for giving it too much importance.