The Promise and the Premise

OKAY, LET ME START by saying that this is not a review. This is a summary of Twilight, the film, and my initial thoughts after our first date.

In the first of five films in The Twilight Saga, we meet 17-year-old Isabella “Bella” Swan, as she’s about to move to her dad’s for a while. Her mum, Renee, has a new man in her life and he’s a baseball player. Which means he spends most of his time on the road. This makes Renee unhappy, so Bella needs to make herself scarce so mum can swan off to be a baseball groupie.

It’s pretty obvious from the start, that Bella has been her mother’s keeper since childhood, and that she’s had to be the adult in their relationship. This message is reinforced later in the film as well, both in things she says to her dad and in the phone calls and talks she has with her mum.

So, Bella digs herself a little companion cactus out of the Arizona desert (which makes no sense at all) and gets on a flight to Washington. The state. Because that is where her father, Police Chief Charlie Swan, lives in a small town called Forks. She basically goes from the dry heat of the desert to the rainforest of the continental US. From sunshine, light and warmth to rain, darkness and cold. Or from a happy place to a state of sadness if you will. Visually, it’s an effective transition that sets the tone for what’s to come. Even with the Instagram filter they seemingly pioneered in this film slapped onto every single scene set in Forks. We get it – she gets the blues in that place.

Unlike her bubbly mum, Bella is socially awkward (af!) and appears to be uncomfortable in her own skin. When you see her with her dad, you know where she gets (most of) it from. The scenes between Bella and Charlie are some of the highlights of the film, mainly thanks to Billy Burke’s brilliant acting. This is a girl who has grown up having to adult the adults in her life. She’s a shrinking violet, who’s constantly putting other people’s needs before her own. Until she meets Edward, that is, and her brain malfunctions.

The Love Story: Bella’s Arc

In true chick flick fashion, Bella goes to school and meets heartthrob Robert Pattison. Sorry, I mean Edward Cullen. And, of course, she falls head over heels in love with him even though she knows jack shit about the lad.

Here’s Bella’s entire “meet-cute” to He’s The One arc:

    1. Bella checks out Edward in the school caff and random Mean Girl says “don’t waste your time, no one here’s good enough for him.” Bella be like: Okay…
    2. Bella sits next to Edward in Biology. He gives her a stink eye. She thinks it’s because she’s a stinky poo. Both be like: Okay…
    3. Bella goes to the school’s reception to get her attendance sheet logged. Edward is there asking to be moved out of Biology. Admin Person: Nope, no can do. Edward: Dang! Well, I guess I’ll just have to endure it then. Bella be like: Okay…
    4. Bella is nearly moved down by van skidding on ice outside school. Edward saves her life (or limbs at least), gives her another stinky eye as if it was all her fault and fucks off. Both be like: Okay…
    5. Bella is taken to the hospital. Edward is there too. Why? Who the fuck knows. She wants to know how he saved her. He flips the gaslight on and says: You better get used to disappointment, girl. I ain’t telling ya shit. You just imagined that you saw something. Bella be like: Okay…
    6. Bella dreams of Edward and wakes up in the middle of the night. He‘s there, staring at her. She turns on the light. Edward’s gone, but the window’s open. Bella be like: Okay…
    7. Goofball Biology Teacher takes kiddoes on an excursion to a local recycling centre. Edward: What’s in Jacksonville? (He’s eavesdropped on her and knows she’s going there.) Bella: You don’t tell me anything. You don’t even say hi to me. (Weird info – we don’t know this.) Edward: Hi. Bella: How did you save me? Edward: Adrenaline shock. Google it. Bella: Floridians. That’s what’s in Jacksonville. Edward: We shouldn’t be friends. Bella: You shouldn’t have saved me. I can see you regret it. (How?!) Edward (to his sister): That girl’s not getting on this bus! Bella be like: Okay…
    8. Bella goes shopping and a bunch of thugs assault her. Edward shows up to give them the stinky eye. Thugs be like: Okay, chill we leave.
    9. Edward takes Bella to a restaurant. Says he followed her to the city, that he feels protective of her and cannot leave her the fuck alone. Bella be like: Okay…
    10. Edward takes Bella home. Their fingers touch in the car. Both be like: Ooooh, okay.
    11. Bella goes all Jessica Fletcher on Edward’s arse and yahoos the shit out of her “clues” about him. He doesn’t eat. He’s cold. He’s fast. Conclusion: He’s a cold one. A vampire! Bella be like: Okay…
    12. Bella goes to confront Edward. In the forest behind the school. Why? Bella: You don’t eat. You’re cold. You’re fast. I know what you are. Edward: Say it! Bella: Vampire. Edward: What do I eat? Bella: You won’t hurt me. (Huh?) Edward: I’m a killer. Bella: Okay. Edward: I’ve killed people. Bella: Okay. (WTF?) Edward: I want to kill you. Bella: No problem. I trust you. (W.T.A.F?!) Edward: Don’t. I’m an apex predator. I can do whatever I want to you. You can’t stop me. Bella be like: Okay…
    13. Next morning. Bella: He’s a vampire. He wants to kill me. Dang, that’s hot! I’m “unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him!”

None of that makes sense. Not one bit. I mean, in theory, if you squint your eyes and take her background as a child carer into account, then maybe you could understand some of it. But in reality, very few people would know that’s what she is and what it means so no. That can’t have been the idea behind this frankly inane character arc. It makes no flipping sense!

Not unless we’re meant to believe Bells has a death wish and wants to off herself by proxy.

The Love Story: Edward’s Arc

Now, let’s take a look at Edward’s “meet-cute” to She’s The One arc:

    1. Edward checks Bella out in school caff and smirks as he walks past her.
    2. Edward smells Bella in Biology class. Edward: Dang, she smells like food! I wanna eat her! I’m addicted! She’s my heroin!! (Internal monologue, presumably. He mainly looks constipated.)
    3. Edward enters stalker mode to feed his new addiction.

I have no idea what to make of this. Are we to assume – or is it established vamp lore? – that not even 100+ years of eternal youth is enough for a man to control his urges? (I can’t stand that trope!) Is it a no matter how old a vamp gets they can’t resist blood thing? Or is it just her blood? Then why? What makes her blood different? Adding these questions to my growing list…

The Big Bad

Roughly within the span of a week, Bella goes from New Girl in Forks to Vampire Girl in Forks. (In what kind of backwater village does a new girl in school get so much attention?) Edward meets her dad, she meets his family, and we finally get up close to the big bad.

Playing baseball on a field somewhere, the Cullen Clan attract the attention of a trio of rogue killer vamps: James, Victoria and Laurent. Much like Edward, James is drawn to Bella’s scent and now he wants to eat her too. Edward tries to defeat him in a Trial by Stink Eye, but, unlike human thugs, killer vamps aren’t so easily dissuaded.

Like any school bully, James thinks it would be fun to get one over on Edward by stealing his lunch snack, so he decides to hunt Bella down. After a bit of running – they’re fast, remember –  he finds her in Phoenix where she’s hiding in a hotel with Edward’s sister Alice and her boyfriend/brother, Jasper.

James (on the phone): How about you ditch your baby-sitters and come out and play, Baby Bel?

Bella be like: Okay… 

So, she gets in a cab and heads over to her old ballet studio to die. But she’s ok with that too. Because dying instead of someone you love (her mum) seems like a good way to go. I mean, she’s basically okay with everything that happens to her, so why not. Being okay is her thing and who knows, dying as vamp food might actually be an improvement for her as a character.

And now the slow-motion part of the film is over and we enter speed mode. So much to tell, so few film minutes left to fill:

    1. Bella enters the ballet studio. James attacks and bites her. Edward saves her life again. Bella ends up in a hospital. Again.
    2. Enter mum Renee: Bella, you fell down a staircase, bounced off the floor and flew out a window. (She what now?)
    3. Bella: Yeah that sounds just like clumsy old me. Hey, can you go get Dad?
    4. Edward: Bella, you need to move back to your mum’s so I can’t hurt you.
    5. Bella: No! I can’t live without you!!
    6. Edward be like: Okay…
    7. Bella, Charlie and Edward return to Forks, and Edward takes Bella to prom.
    8. Bella: Edward, I wanna be a vampire!
    9. Edward: Are you mad, woman?! I’m not killing you! How about you live a long and happy life with me?
    10. Bella be like: Okay, then. For now…

And that’s it. Twilight, the film, in a nutshell. 

First Date Feedback

What can I say? My impression of our first date is… Confusion? Disappointment? I’m not sure how to feel about this, to be honest.

There is a whole lot to unpack, and a whole lot that can be said about this film. And trust me, I will. But seeing as this is a Cliff’s Notes and first impressions kinda post, I won’t dive into the deep end today.

I can see why Twilight became a pop culture phenomenon. I can see why so many girls (and their mums) became die-hard Twihards. And I can see why we’re experiencing a Twilight Renaissance more than ten years after the film was released. (See what I did there?) Here’s the thing though. On behalf of all teenage girls, and their mothers, and anyone else who was/is obsessed with this film, I actually feel offended. Pissed off even.

I left our date with a big, fat WTF?! echoing in my head. And if it hadn’t been for the fact that I’ve decided to date and dissect the whole Twilight Saga, I wouldn’t have signed up for a second date. As it is, I still have four more films, five books and a helluva lot of dates to sit through before we’re done with Twilight and Twilight-style vampires. But I promise, I’ll be mixing the content up, so we can talk about other things too. Like the other titles I’m currently dating; writing and storytelling in general; lessons to be learned from my extensive story dating; and glimpses of my own attempts to write a decent story.

Now, before I go:

– Have you watched Twilight?

– What was your first impression of the film?

Let’s talk in the comments below, or send me your response via socials or email.

Thank you for being here today. I hope you had a good time and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Toodeloo Tatertot,

//Linnea 🏴‍☠️🖤


Disclaimer: As We Write (AWW) is an independent, non-profit blog owned by Evalena Styf. AWW is not affiliated with Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight Saga, Summit Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment, Maverick Films, Imprint Entertainment, Sunswept Entertainment, Little, Brown and Company or any other production or broadcast entities associated with Twilight or any other titles mentioned.

Photo, Graphics, Audio and Video: Photos from Twilight or any other titles discussed in this post are either screenshots or promotional pictures released by the distributor(s). This usage falls under Fair Use according to US copyright law.


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