Leave your cynicism at the door: A review of Twilight

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To whomever may be reading this,

Why is it that the Twilight franchise is met with such fervent bile and disdain, primarily by young men? Through my years in school and on the internet, it’s hard not to see scorn being consistently dumped on this franchise and its creators. Years ago I did it, I had been conditioned by all manner of people to believe that Twilight was horrible and awful, jokes were always being made of sparkly vampires and Buffy slaying Edward, but why?

Why did I feel the need to join in and bash something I’d never experienced, more to the point, why were people bashing it in the first place? Having just watched the first film for the first time, It’s not perfect, it has issues, but these are issues faced by every large blockbuster movie, and none that approaches the ridicule it has received.

Maybe it’s the product of a sexist film industry, or society. This is a franchise that has been aimed directly at the teenage girls bracket, and it’s been given a much harsher treatment than say, the Transformers films. Those very boy friendly films are far more egregious films, yet I rarely see anything like the sort of derision that I see for Twilight.

I wonder how many of these people who regularly pour hate on these films have actually watched them, or at least the first one. Have they read the books? A part of me doesn’t think so. Of course, no film is unscathed from genuine criticism, as I said, there are problems with the film, and it’s fine to dislike it for specific reasons. I just think that these films are criticised for existing, like having a franchise that’s aimed at women, and isn’t about fast cars, half naked ‘babes’ and explosions is a bad thing.

It seems that in our society now, I can observe a greater amount of hate being dished out to things aimed at women, then aimed at men. It’s the impossible standard that society sets every woman too and It’s a disgusting part of our culture that can’t be escaped. We need to move on, we need to stop treating femininity as a bad thing

I chose to watch the Twilight films based off my listening to the Kermode and Mayo Film review show and hearing about their love of the films. Mark (Kermode) has the same problem, he sees the way in which these films are treated and realises that this aversion Twilight is a problem. After hearing this view I decided it was time to finally see these films, open minded and leaving my wrong-headed cynicism at the door. I have now watched the first Twilight.

The thing is I didn’t expect it to be great, I didn’t expect to suddenly fall in love with it. What I found was that whilst the film was flawed, it was also completely fine. There was nothing in it that should lead a bunch of teenage men to lay contempt on it so much. If you look at other big budget Hollywood fare, there are far more films to be genuinely angry at, there is such a rampant misogyny in the industry, leering at women whilst condemning them, at least Twilight isn’t guilty of that.

What it is, is a gothic romance that develops its mythology effectively and creepily. For a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I can compare to the other great human/vampire love story, but instead of doing that, I will just say that they are different mediums and different styles. Both good, and both work to their own strengths.

I know, that in the end, Twilight is not aimed at me, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t like it, nor that anyone else can. Perhaps I’m a bit more disposed to like it more than others, I love teen high school films, Paper Towns recently, for example, and I’m a sucker for a love story. Mix that with vampires in a small American town and frankly I’m sold.

The film is good, not great, but the criticisms I have are with the film itself, not with the idea of it. I think that Pattinsons performance can be a little too difficult to read occasionally, and maybe the cinematography is a little too murky, but the filmmakers have a style that they like, and they’re making the film that’s clearly their own, and not made by committee.

I’m not going to sit and think for hours about why Twilight is seen as bad, I think it may be a far larger problem within the bigger picture, and one we can only hope to break down bit by bit. If you’re thinking about Twilight negatively, like I had done, then challenge yourself, does it really deserve that? You may find that you’ve been a little too harsh. If I see any more Twilight ridicule, online or in real life, I’ll make sure to ask “Why?”, because, in the end, it deserves it.

Sincerely,

Somebody who has broken out of his cynical old ways

Twilight (2008)

Twilight (2008)

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