Top 10 Things The Twilight Films Did Terribly
3. the Directing of the First Film
It’s understandable that the book-reading community was ecstatic when it first heard that one of its favorite books was becoming a movie. What I find strange is that even after watching the first Twilight movie, they were still excited and begging for a sequel as if the film wasn’t a pile of cold hippie vomit, embedded in the carpet of someone’s dirty, 70s-themed apartment, in film form. I don’t get it. I mean, it wasn’t really like the book at all. AT ALL, actually. It was more like someone ripped pages out of the book and chanted their words around a fire on top of a pentagram of salt while drinking the blood of a virgin and watching The Craft. Basically everything Catherine Hardwicke does is dripping with neo-paganism and cougar-hippy, as if she and her cougar-hippy friends held hands in a circle and peed all over it. Granted, a significant percentage of people who read a Mormon soccer mom’s book about vampire romance are going to be witchcraft-wielding cougar-hippies, but those people don’t have any money! Why not market to the much larger demographic of teens who actually have money? I’m assuming Catherine Hardwicke ended up with the project because she directed Thirteen, a movie about all the drugs and sex Catherine Hardwicke would be having if she were 13 again. And to tell you the truth, in addition to directing a movie that solicits drugs and sex to children, I kind of get the feeling that she solicits them to children even without movies. Regardless, they really should have gone with a director who has read the book. And likes the book. And likes Muse. And knows how to direct movies that don’t suck. And isn’t a smelly hippy who sells drugs and sex to kids.
If I had to picture what Catherine Hardwicke was like while not making movies, I’d have to say she’d be that loud, annoying granny in my English class at my local community college who always interrupts the professor with obnoxious, stupid questions and innuendos and thinks everyone thinks she’s awesome and keeps hitting on me while the professor is talking and asking me if I want to see some real magic. And then, when I say, “No, leave me alone,” she sprinkles salt on her desk and dangles over it a green crystal on a leather string and, after 5 minutes of distracting chanting, says, “There! You are now in love with me,” and winks. And when I say, “Stop it. I’m here to learn,” she laughs loudly enough to cause the whole class to turn and look at her and then shoves me playfully with her greasy, monster hands to let everyone know what great friends we are.
But back to the film, there are times throughout Twilight, the movie, that it seems Catherine Hardwicke just wasn’t even watching. Or listening. Or being a living, breathing human being. I think it’s safe to assume that the reason for this is that every time Robert Pattinson wasn’t in the scene, she would shout, “ACTION!” and then turn to Robert off-screen and say something like, “I meant that for you and me. I’m ready to shoot our love scene, sexy!” at which he would awkwardly fake-laugh and mutter to himself, “It wasn’t funny the first time,” and then cry. My favorite part of the first film, though, is the commentary track. It’s 2 hours of Catherine Hardwicke, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson banding together to unwittingly talk about how terrible this film and its director are, pointing out, left and right, the failures of the writing and acting aspects of the film as well as making fun of how it looks. Often, you’ll hear Catherine unable to answer a question about the directing of the film or why things look so bad or where and when certain footage of the principle cast was shot. Sometime you’ll hear her mispronounce words without correction or say things like, “That’s an actual replica of an actual sign in Forks.” Nothing says a movie’s bad like the director and cast being unable to correctly find anything good to say about it.
And nothing sets a multi-million-dollar, best-selling-novel-based, 5-film franchise up for failure like not paying any attention to who you are hiring, such as a director who turns the dial all the way to fail on your first film, which brings us to my next point. You probably should have seen this coming:
2. The First Film. 100% of the First Twilight Film in All It’s Entirety.
Let’s see, how should I put this… Oh yeah! This film is terrible. Absolutely awful. No exaggeration, this film has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I know it’s kind of cheating to put this on my list, since most of my previous points were included in this one, and there’s really nothing left to say about it that I haven’t touched on already… but you know what? It’s my article, so too bad! Originally this was number one on my list, until I realized something… something horrible:
1. NOT Lowering the Standard of the Entire film Industry
Bad movies are made all the time. Thousands of them are released every year. But something is very wrong when a film series comes out that is so bad, or at least, bad in such a way that it actually makes the world a worse place. The failure of the Twilight Saga Film Series extends beyond these 5 films and transcends out into the entire film industry, redefining it badly. What I mean is that these films either introduced an absurdly irresponsible filmmaking/marketing strategy that lowers standards for the whole industry or, at the very least, they solidified its place in the industry as an acceptable business practice. I call this marketing strategy Because-People-Will-Pay-For-It-Anyway filmmaking.
Did the Twilight producers care that the first movie was a pile of garbage? Nope. Did they care that their werewolves look like cartoons? Nope. Did they care that 90% of the audience hated 90% of the quintilogy’s soundtrack? Nope. Did they care that they wasted thousands of dollars making a robot baby or making Edward look like a glitter monster? Nope. Most importantly, were they in any way worried that their investment in these films would not be returned? The answer? “No, they weren’t,” because no matter what, these films would have made money. They could have used that fact to make 5 awesome films that make money for years to come and are remembered for setting a new high standard for filmmaking (Editor’s note: A new high standard for filmmaking is actually no longer possible, thanks to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, but they still could have tried. -Treegnome). Instead, they made the quickest, cheapest, most forgettable buck they could with as little effort as possible.
It used to be that filmmakers had to do a good job making films. Otherwise critics would give them terrible reviews and audiences would give them horrible ratings on movie websites, like 5.2/10 (Twilight’s rating on IMDB.com), then moviegoers wouldn’t go to see them, people wouldn't buy the videos, studios wouldn’t pay to make sequels and the filmmakers would lose thousands-to-millions of dollars on the film itself as well as losing a whole movie franchise worth of sequel cash. But now, thanks to Twilight and its Because-People-Will-Pay-For-It-Anyway marketing, producers can wake up, buy the rights to a bestselling novel series or other idea people will pay to see made into film no matter what, put minimal time, money and effort into the filmmaking process, then go back to sleep while millions of dollars are wired to their account, all in the same day. For example: if Peter Jackson wanted to, he could use Because-People-Will-Pay-For-It-Anyway marketing to film 2 new Hobbit movies using only his voice and some hand puppets. If Disney would like to use Because-People-Will-Pay-For-It-Anyway marketing, all they have to do is splice together 150 minutes of unused Hannah Montana footage and call it Star Wars Episode VII: The South Will Rise Again.
So there you have it, friends, the Top 10 Things the Twilight Films Did Terribly. Sorry about all of the LOTR references, I had to watch something else to balance out all the terrible. (BONUS GAME #3: See if you can count all the LOTR references in this article. If you find them all, congratulations, you can count!) I’m sure there are many people responsible for this disaster. Mostly, though, I still blame Catherine Hardwicke.