Since I first posted this thread (and actually quite recently, when the latest of the Twilight
movies came out on DVD), I finally bought all the available movies from the series and watched them all in a period of 24 hours or so (this included re-watching the first movie). All but the latest movie were being offered at a special promotional price and I figured I might as well finally (ahem) bite
the bullet and get a more thorough idea of what the series is about in order to have a more informed view. I have to say I'm a bit fonder of the first movie on second viewing than I was the first time around, and the other movies added into the mix lend some depth to the storyline. The mysterious "rulers" of Vampires in Italy with their own hidden agendas, the Vampire vs. Werewolf feud (and its rather interesting resolution), the "rogue" Vampires, more backstory for some of the main characters, etc, all add to the dimension of depth. I still would prefer a different actor for Edward, but honestly, Pattinson isn't that bad (he isn't gorgeous like Alex O'Loughlin as Mick St. John in Moonlight
, but then again, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," and his acting was better in the subsequent movies than it was in the first).
I also, upon watching the first movie again and having had time to reflect on my first viewing thereof, have a better understanding of a scene I criticized in one of my earlier posts in this thread, namely when
I've also seen the character of Bella criticized as one-dimensional or insufficiently developed. There were a few aspects of the movie that, in my opinion, portrayed that character in a way that I did not find pleasing, such as her almost neurotic reaction to Edward's intention to leave for her safety. We get that the girl is "crazy" about him; she doesn't have to be depicted as if she is literally crazy, with an unhealthy obsession over the boy. She also should not be conceived as if she is merely a shadow to his supposed light.
I get that now; she comes from a family that has been split asunder by divorce. That carries some baggage, and that baggage helps to explain her reaction to his stated intention to leave for her safety. In the subsequent movies, the character of Bella is less "shadow to Edward" than she seemed in the first movie.
While I still wouldn't call myself a "fan" of the series (rather a fan of Vampire folklore, literature, and movies/television shows in general, with a few that I reject as heinous and/or ludicrous in one or more particulars), the Twilight
movies have found a place in my DVD collection, and I'm not ashamed of their presence there. I still regard them as soundly within the Western Vampire Tradition, and at least decent (maybe even good) representations of that genre. I suppose that, once I have seen the final movie (due out this year, I believe), I will get the books and read them, and decide if I like them better than the films.
I would like to touch upon another Vampire movie series here, namely, the Underworld
movies. According to some critics of the Twilight
series, this was "the" inspiration for the Vampire versus Werewolf feud in the latter. In fact, however, that motif goes back some distance in time. There were even "classic" B&W movies in which "Dracula" and "the Wolfman" appeared to be enemies with some history between them, and fought to the death. I found the Underworld
movies quite enjoyable (although I have yet to see the fourth film), and better suited for a more mature audience than the Twilight
movies, but I've seen them criticized as well, and in particular, I have seen the character of Selene criticized for not being "scary" enough. Some of the critics have pointed out (rightly) that she does not feed nor Turn others (except for the necessity of saving Michael from death), at least not on camera, but instead relies on more-or-less conventional weaponry (firearms, although often with modified rounds used as ammunition, and swords), and those same critics have suggested that this makes her somehow less than satisfactory as a Vampiress; some have even offered what I view as chauvinistic criticisms, namely, that she "looks good" in a corset and leather catsuit, but doesn't inspire fear like a Vampire "should." Vampires and Vampiresses in other stories and movies, however, have not always relied on their fangs to kill, and have at times used more conventional weapons. Further, I suspect this pontification that Vampires and Vampiresses "should" inspire fear has more to do with the more recent portrayals of Vampires as homicidal maniacs without any control over their passions and appetites (and maybe, in the same [ahem] vein
, with the fact that she doesn't become an unattractive Kligonesque-looking creature when she "vamps out") than it does with the earlier Vampire Tradition. Nevertheless, Selene as a "Death Dealer" certainly has the right amount of "cold-blooded killer" attitude to be intimidating to most mortal opponents. Skilled not only with fang and claw, but also with bladed weapons, firearms, and ordinary hand-to-hand combat, Selene is undeniably a formidable foe, and hardly unsatisfactory as a Vampiress.
PS: Those who missed out on the opportunity to participate in my "What is Gothic?" essay competition (which is now over) may be interested to read some of the entries. These can be found in this thread