There are so many articles written about the Twilight series, but what can be said about a movie that defined a generation? It was 2007 when the Twilight Saga started, and since then it’s been an uphill struggle for the movie adaptations. While the books were incredibly popular, the movie versions were rarely as successful. In fact, the most recent Twilight movie was the third attempt at getting it right. It’s been a long wait for the fans as well as the actors who played a part in creating one of the greatest romances of all time. So what went wrong with the first two Twilight movies and how did they turn out? Let’s take a quick look back at the first two installments of the Twilight Saga and how they measured up to the epic status of the books. Keep reading for more information.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
The first Twilight movie was released in 2009 and was directed by Bill Condon. The movie started off okay, but it didn’t take long for things to go downhill. The story takes place six months after the first novel in the series and focuses on the young adults dealing with the after effects of their first love affair. In the film, the main character Bella (Kristen Stewart) is dealing with her parents’ disapproval of her new relationship with Edward (Robert Pattinson), her classmate and the son of a family friend. They’ve been dating for a while and now Bella wants to move in together, but her father won’t allow it. He disapproves of Edward and thinks that because he is a vampire, Bella should stay as far away from him as possible. While Bella tries to make her father see how wrong he is about Edward, her mother encourages her to give the relationship a chance. In the meantime, she worries about her father’s safety and whether or not he will be able to protect her from any harm. During one of Bella’s nightly walks with her dog, she comes across a young man trying to kill himself and she jumps in the way to save him. In the process, Edward saves Bella’s life, but because he is a vampire, they have to take a drastic turn and allow him to consume her blood. The blood bond between the two of them is formed and they have to hide their relationship from the public. The situation becomes even more complicated when the couple learns that their relationship will make Edward unable to control his desire for human blood and they have to move in together to keep him safe and out of harm’s way. After going through a lot together, Bella and Edward learn to accept and trust each other, and this ultimately forms the basis of their relationship in the books. In the movie, it was interesting to see how the filmmakers handled this crucial relationship development. It wasn’t fully explored in the book, but they made the most of it in the movie and it was a more natural progression of the story. Additionally, they incorporated more humor into the relationship development, which I thought worked perfectly. In the book, it mostly consisted of Bella and Edward breaking down the walls they had put up around their hearts to protect themselves from getting hurt. In the movie, we see more of that struggle and it results in some hilarious scenes. In the end, it was a great adaptation and I think the most faithful to the spirit of the novel.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
The second Twilight movie was released in 2010 and was directed by Taylor Hackford. This time around, we follow Bella (Kristen Stewart) as she attempts to learn to control her powers. She has been keeping a secret from her family and friends about her relationship with Edward (Robert Pattinson) and now she wants to bring them all together for a summer celebration. It is the summer of 1871, which is right around the time when the series starts, and so there are many references to the time period and classic characters from the era. We also follow Bella as she attempts to control her legendary werewolf powers, which she has been given by her mother in a fit of rage. When her father finds out about the summer celebration, he forbids her to see Edward. He doesn’t want her to get hurt, so he forces her to choose between staying with him or going on her own to live with her mother. While Bella desperately wants to please her father and stay with him, she knows that he will break her heart if she does so. With nowhere to turn, she is forced into an untenable situation and has to make the hardest decision of her life. In the end, she chooses her father and leaves Edward behind. The decision is incredibly hard to make, but she knows in the long run it will be the best decision for her. It also means a lot to her father and shows how much she cares for him, even when she is breaking his heart. In the book, it took Bella a while to finally come to terms with her parent’s divorce and it was that struggle that made her realize just how much she needed Edward. In the movie adaptation, Taylor Hackford highlights that same struggle and shows how much it weighs on Bella. At first, she is very reluctant to acknowledge the bond she has with Edward, but as the movie progresses and she sees how much he cares for her, the temptation to give in and admit what she feels for him becomes too great to resist. It is a brilliant performance by Kristen Stewart and she really nails this difficult scene. This was a significant turning point in the relationship and showed how much Bella is growing as a person and as a leader. In addition, Hackford uses Jacob’s (Taylor Hardwick) story as a vehicle to show how far Bella has come and how much she has changed since we first met her six months earlier. The scene where he convinces her to take a walk with him was especially haunting because of how similar it was to some of the scenes from the book. The differences were amazing and added a lot to the overall effect. It was a beautifully shot movie with some incredible scenery and special effects. While it was entertaining, it had a more intimate feel to it compared to Condon’s New Moon and it felt like a completely different animal.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (2011)
The third and final Twilight movie was released in November 2011 and was directed by Bill Condon again. Breaking Dawn picks up immediately after the ending of New Moon and continues to follow Bella and Edward as they try to live their lives as a married couple. The story starts off on an ominous note as we learn that Edward has been keeping a secret from Bella about his parent’s divorce. Their parents still don’t know about it and it creates a tense atmosphere between the couple. Edward doesn’t want to hurt Bella by telling her the truth, but he also doesn’t want to lie to her either. He doesn’t know what kind of relationship he wants to have with his daughter and so he pretends that everything is okay, even when it isn’t. The situation becomes worse when Bella’s childhood friend, Jacob (Taylor Hardwick), shows up at their doorstep and announces that he is moving to Italy with his wife, Rebecca (Amanda Seyfried). Jacob is part of the tribe of werewolves that Bella belongs to and so it isn’t long before she is forced into an awkward situation. The local vampires want to capture and kill her because she is the only pureblood left in the area and without her, they fear they will be extinct. If it weren’t for Edward’s father, who happens to be one of the local vampires, she would be killed right away. The race is on as Edward and Rebecca try to protect Bella from her menacing neighborhood and the constant threats that come with being a famous vampire’s daughter. As before, Bill Condon does an incredible job adapting the final book in the series. He captures the essence of the novel and brings it to life in an exciting and cinematic way. While this is technically only the third and final book in the series, it felt like the first half of a two-part finale. The pacing is brilliant and the twists and turns are incredibly well-done. I would have liked to have seen more screen time for the supporting characters and less focus on the protagonist, but it was still a fantastic adaptation. The fight scenes were spectacular and so was the entire production. It was a fitting end to an incredible story and a trilogy that will live on in infamy. Overall, this was a great conclusion to an incredible series and it will be hard to see something like this come along again, due to the immense popularity that the books and films of the Twilight series have attained. As before, the talent behind the movies is incredible and it is clear that this was no easy task. I’m not sure what will become of Edward and Bella now that the movies are over, but I’m sure that somewhere, someone is working hard to keep the story alive. For now, I’ll just have to settle for loving them and wishing them all the best. Thanks for reading!