It was early 2008 when I first read about the book Twilight on the Internet. I was looking for things about an actress Emily Browning. I just watch one of her movies (I can’t remember which) and wanted to learn more about her (other projects, etc…). I came across several fan made videos about a girl falling in love with a vampire. They were choosing between Emily Browning and Kristen Stewart.
It simply got my interest. I was naturally rooting for Emily, and I welcomed the idea of watching another film starring her. And it’s about vampires!
My idea of vampires and vampire movies came from movies like Underworld, Blade, and even Resident Evil. Watching all those awesome badass bloodsuckers try to kill each other or humans or werewolves were pretty exciting for me. I thought a little bit of romance wouldn’t hurt.
I eventually got a copy of the book. Read it. And wanted to burn it after.
Until it caught the attention of my younger sister and she started to read, and enjoyed it very much. Next thing I know, everyone in school wanted to borrow and read the novel. Most of them are girls obviously. That book became the most borrowed book from my humble personal collection of books. But I still hated it.
The movie production was on its way. Kristen Stewart was chosen for the role. I shrugged my shoulders and continued reading other books and watching other movies. Life goes on.
The movie came out. And all hell breaks lose. The battle was between diehard fans and equally diehard haters. Everyone was so busy trying to prove how good or awful the movie/story was to everyone else that I doubt if anyone understood or appreciated what the movie is really all about.
Feminists say Bella is a very passive girl. Cultural scholars say that young people want to be vampires. Guys say Edward is gay since he sparkles.
Opinions almost never changed over time. After five movies, diehard fans loved the ‘saga’ till the end and diehard haters, well, still hated it.
I don’t worship or condemn Twilight, never did, never will. I get to watch movies I found awful after all the time. I don’t go around telling the world how bad it was. It was made for a mass audience not me alone.
But if I were to be asked about the flaws of Twilights I will not be talking about clique narratives, ridiculing the deadpan acting of Stewart, or clarifying that werewolves and shape-shifters are two different things or creatures or beings or whatever.
The only mistake Twilight did was trying to be something what it is not. It is obviously a chick flick trying to be an epic saga blockbuster. And it failed of both points. It was an awful chick flick (think Adam Sandler or Meg Ryan romcoms). And an even more awful epic saga (think LOTR and Star Wars).
A bigger error is for people to believe that Twilight is an isolated case that should be forgotten as soon as possible. I think Twilight is a very good indicator of what’s really going on in Hollywood.
Hollywood wants to make more money but is running out of ideas.
Hollywood is recycling every material it could get its hands on. Everything is being made into movies from books (LOTR, Narnia, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Perks of Being a Wallflower), TV shows (Sex in The City, Star Trek, Transformers, Dark Shadows), comics (X-men, Batman, The Avengers, Spiderman), and even fairytales (Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White [two versions in the same year!], Hanzel and Gratel). Even respected filmmakers like Ridley Scott and Peter Jackson had to squeeze out another story. The story already ended, so the solution is to make a prequel!
Its way harder to make money, primarily because of piracy, so producers just make movies that already have a secure audience.
This phenomenon is not a new one. It was around the late 1950s when people got sick and tired of formalist movies that a new generation of filmmakers started to challenge conventions. This resulted to the New Wave film movement that happened in pretty much every country that enjoys movies.
If Hollywood wants to survive, it better take more risks. A new New Wave is needed. This not very hard to imagine especially with the advent of cheaper digital filmmaking.
If Hollywood considers piracy such a big problem, maybe making movies worth people’s money is not such a bad idea.