Happy 15th anniversary of the first Twilight film! I remember midnight screenings, book releases, and the Hot Topic merch pileups. The Twilight era was truly one for the books. So, on this joyous occasion, let's discuss, in my opinion, the eight things in the films that aged pretty poorly and the nine that aged as beautifully as a vampire: 1. Aged poorly: Bella and Edward's age gap
Let's get the obvious out of the way: of course, things are very different in 2023 than they were in 2005. The concept of a 108-year-old man involving himself with a 17-year-old girl has not gone over well with people in any aspect of vampire x human media. I'm sure no one is quite positive just how they would react in a situation like this. However, the concept of any human-based underage or large age gap relationship is still very much wrong.
Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 2. Aged poorly: Renesmee's CGI
Oh gosh, no list would be complete without this...questionable decision. I remember being sooo in love when I read about Renesmee. How her name came about and how her mom fought so hard for them both to be okay was so beautiful to me. When I pictured her in my head, I just knew she was going to be the most stunning baby. Never did I imagine we were going to get some of the worst CGI known to man. Like, was lining up a series of variously aged children that looked even remotely alike too much to ask for? Why did the infant out of the womb need to have a CGI face? I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall in this meeting.
Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 3. Aged poorly: The way Bella's friends acted after Edward left
Nothing was more heartbreaking than when Edward left and Bella either sat in that chair for months blankly staring as the days moved around her or she was screaming at the top of her lungs from the horrible night terrors she was having. While some people, like Charlie, were largely concerned, and trying to send her back to her mom for distance or sending her to a therapist, her friends were careless with how they dealt with it. Between Jacob and his continuous lust, Jessica being totally unhelpful in all situations, the whispers behind her back, and not to mention Mike asking Bella out the second she was able to come out of her depression, the lack of support was actually mind-blowing as someone who could never imagine acting like that towards a friend in obvious need.
Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 4. Aged poorly: Jacob imprinting on a baby
It was weird to Bella and me then, and it's definitely still weird to me now. Regardless, any way you spin it, Jacob imprinting on a child straight out of the womb was (and is) totally questionable, and I commend Bella for not freaking out on him harder than she did. Especially because the man just spent years telling her he's in love with her and now he's going after her CHILD. Jacob wasn't the only one to imprint on a baby: Wolf Pack member Quil also imprinted on a two-year-old named Claire, who we see with Quil briefly in
, but they never mention the significance. In reality, it's like they're protecting these girls like brothers or uncles from birth, and it's "completely platonic" until the girls come of age and decide for themselves. Once the girls do "come of age," they'll more than likely be together romantically, even though it's made to seem like a choice. The imprint scenario is far more serious in the books than they lead us to believe in the films, in reality, these are soulmates. The wolves' lives revolve around the person they imprint on. As Alice clearly shows us in the final movie, Jacob and Renesmee definitely romantically end up together. Breaking Dawn Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 5. Aged poorly: Jacob's completely inappropriate and manipulative behavior towards Bella
It's actually so hard to watch. Jacob and Edward both have their own very unique ways of approaching Bella. But to me, Jacob is the worst culprit. Not only did he grip onto a relationship that he tried to force on Bella from day one, but he spent the majority of his time telling her how terrible her boyfriend is solely because he's a vampire. He even tells her at one point that it's better if she's dead than to become one of them. When Bella inevitably becomes confused by Jacob (even though she knows it's always going to be Edward), Jacob throws himself at her... on multiple occasions. Even when Bella is out of Jacob's mental fog and explicitly tells him every day that it's always going to be Edward, he doesn't stop, he tells her she "doesn't know what she wants". It's terrifying how he acts about her, not because he's "so in love" with her but seemingly because he's obsessed with the fact she's choosing a "blood-sucker" over him. Not to mention, he made Edward believe Bella was dead and she wasn't. Of course, Edward was very possessive, and his tactics to save her weren't always the best, but at the end of the day, Bella and Edward were in a consensual relationship, and Jacob was totally out of line every time he came in contact with her.
Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 6. Aged poorly: The total lack of diversity
As a Black person, I've grown up in life knowing it was few and far between when it comes to representations of myself on screen. It's unfortunately still a battle kids of color go through to this day, but it has been far better than I ever remember. However, it's no secret that the only two Black people they have in this series are a villainous vampire and a kid who's portrayed as a dumb jock who almost kills Bella with his car. Of course, we have those on the reservation who are portrayed as members of the Quileute tribe (we all know the
problem with Taylor Lautner's casting), yet they're naturally seen as an antagonist group to the "Pale-Faces." The only recurring people of color we get throughout the entire series who aren't portrayed as villains are Angela and Eric, and we still see them less than we see someone like Bella's other friend Jessica. Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 7. Aged poorly: The clear problems on how relationships are portrayed in this story
Between the possessiveness, manipulation, obsession, and control we see within the relationships in the movies, it's clear that these relationships were never meant to be necessarily idolized. It's important that all media, not just fiction, be taken with a grain of salt. These movies were never some declaration of how love is supposed to be; that's up to the guardians of the children watching it to teach them. I was a child who had very liberal and artsy parents, especially in terms of censorship. I was allowed to watch and listen to much of whatever I wanted, but I was also taught to discern right and wrong for myself from a very young age. To me, these stories are escapism, stories in which we're putting ourselves into a universe that doesn't exist. Stories where we can live a life full of thrills, danger, adventure, and passionate eternal love. It's not meant to be a blueprint for how we view love and relationships because it's not rooted in reality, nor did it ever claim to be. With that being said, it still doesn't excuse the idea that was put out there. For a story written for teenage girls who are in such a hard and impressionable part of life, it's hard to accept that many, many writers have given us this trope to lust over as we age. It sets a precedent for anyone remotely impressionable that this is the love we want or deserve because it's written about and idolized. Stephenie Meyer is neither the first nor the last author to give teenage girls a depiction of unhealthy love, and while to some extent it's not right, it's also very much up to us to make it a point to separate fiction and reality.
Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com And now, let's talk about the things that I think aged really well for the series: 8. Aged like a vamp: "Edible art"
I have to mention this because it totally deserves its credit. In the first
Twilight movie, one of the most seemingly random parts was when Bella knocked over her apple in the cafeteria. When Edward approaches Bella at the salad bar, we hear his voice say "edible art," and Bella drops her apple only to be caught by Edward to give us a recreation of the iconic book cover. Adding that representative moment of Edward catching this biblical forbidden fruit dropped by Bella was genius. This also wasn't the only time. Throughout the series, we got multiple references to the book covers that were displayed both in the forefront and background. The symbolism of the apple at this exact moment in the film was so perfect and is still a top moment for me every time I watch. Summit Entertainment / Amanda Edwards / WireImage / Little, Brown and Company 9. Aged like a vamp: Edward and Bella's power couple dynamic
You can take me out of being a teenage girl, but you can't take the teenage girl out of me. Nothing made a teen girl's heart soar more than when the hot vampire finally realized staying away from the love interest wasn't
at all the way to go. Once that happened, it felt like Edward and Bella were unstoppable. For two people who fought so hard to be together literally every single second, there was nothing more satisfying than seeing them part seas of people or having all eyes turn to them (no matter the reason) every time they entered a room. Regardless of them being the main characters, it was clear Bella and Edward had something that no other characters we knew possessed. It was pretty wild to see humans, vampires, and werewolves all absolutely beside themselves over these two people. Meanwhile, the Volturi are kidnapping huge tourist groups of men, women, and children in Italy and eating them; vampire armies are being created; oh, and somehow, after centuries, the vamp "government" had no idea vampire men were running around having babies with human women. Yet, Bella and Edward seemed to be their biggest worry. Iconic. Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 10. Aged like a vamp: The wolves CGI
Okay, I know it's easy to completely rag on the treadmills that gave us the iconic running scenes (and slow-motion scenes) with the vampires. However, when it felt like all hope was lost with the graphics, the CGI wolves never failed us. From the moment we first saw them in New Moon through the end of the entire series, they looked absolutely perfect. The way they interacted with the environment, how they were interacted with, how freaking cute they were, and even the transformations were so well done. It was important that each wolf had their own identity in and out of their form. I never felt like they looked out of place, like a lot of the CGI looked in
Breaking Dawn, the wolves were and still are a visual highlight to see in the movies. Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 11. Aged like a vamp: Bella's shield abilities
Bella's shield power is one of the coolest things to me throughout the series. In the movies, they give us huge inklings into what Bella's vampire ability will be, as she already possesses it as a human. Then she actually becomes a vampire and can shield more than just herself from oncoming vampire attacks. From the moment Bella and Edward meet, we know something is off. When we find out Edward can't read her thoughts, and very much to their frustration, Jane and Aro's abilities also have no effect on her, it's clear that Bella has some human superpower (and to me, was always meant to be supernatural). The first words we hear of the whole series are from Bella when she says, "I've never given much thought to how I would die, but dying in the place of someone you love seems like a good way to go." It wasn't her saying it for her health; it was our first hint of her ability. She was always a shield, and she was always the weakest (and clumsiest) person in the room who would put herself in front of anyone she loved, supernatural or not, so they wouldn't get hurt. To me, this was beautifully done and told us from the first moment exactly who Bella was at her core.
Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 12. Aged like a vamp: The soundtrack
It always has to be said that
Robert Pattinson was giving us MOMENTS on the original Twilight soundtrack. One of the best parts of the whole series is the score and music. From snagging Muse for the soundtracks to having Bon Iver, Paramore, Death Cab For Cutie, and Christina Perri on the albums. The songs made specifically for the films and the ones sourced by the music supervisor are just perfect. The Twilight soundtracks are full of songs that are totally opposite to what you think most people in the target audience would be listening to. This soundtrack was ahead of its time, and I don't think it got nearly enough credit back in the day. Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 13. Aged like a vamp: The baseball scene
One of the most notorious scenes of the
entire series is the infamous baseball scene. All they had was a blue filter, an empty field, a thunderstorm, a fire Muse track, and a dream. It was such a fun way for them to finally put on full display exactly what the Cullens were physically capable of. Not only was it a fun scene for us Twilight fans, but it's just a visually fun scene to watch in general. The quick editing cuts, the deep and eerie filter over everything, and the sound effects of the ball hitting the bat or the Cullens flying into each other matching perfectly in sync with the beats of the song are what really make this scene great. It's high-intensity and extremely fun, only to be breathtakingly stripped away from us in an instant when James, Victoria, and Laurent show up. Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 14. Aged like a vamp: The Breaking Dawn: Part 2 battle
Anyone who saw this on opening night can probably still hear the bloodcurdling gasps and screams that erupted in the theaters when this happened. If you aren't familiar with the books but have seen the movies, yeah, that whole situation where Carlisle dies was enough to send a book reader into an immediate heart attack. Serioulsy, all you heard in the theater were either gasps, screams, sobs, or people repeatedly saying, "Wait, this didn't happen in the book! None of this happened!" To have the final chapter of one of the most beloved series come to a close and have one of everyone's favorite characters be seen without his body attached to his head was just downright evil and absolutely groundbreaking. We were watching fave after fave get obliterated, and all we could do was watch in horror, thinking it was a completely canon event. It's one of those things that you wish you could experience for the first time all over again.
Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 15. Aged like a vamp: The Cullen family dynamic
The Cullen family was not only an incredibly powerful and highly regarded family, but they were also "reformed" vampires. They found (or were working to find) the strength within themselves to fight the very thing that makes them who they are: feeding on blood. They all held each other so accountable for being the best people they could be. It was truly a beautiful testament to how chosen or adoptive families can build a bond just as strong, if not stronger, than your blood family. It's a sentiment that usually gets brushed over in the grand scheme of the series, but the Cullens were a wonderful show of what being a family (blood or not) means.
Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com 16. Aged like a vamp: The lasting impact
People love to rag on this series, hell, even the cast loves to rag on the series. Regardless, the cast was perfect and captured everything I loved about the characters I only knew as words on a page. Say what you will, but
Twilight never set out to be some groundbreaking movement that sparked political debate or even a series meant to sweep the Oscars. When you watch it back and hear things like, "This is the skin of a killer Bella," it's camp and exactly what most young girls who fantasized about a forbidden or "dangerous" romance wanted to hear. It was a series of its time for teenage girls, and that aspect will forever hold up. It will always be regarded as the face of an entire cultural movement. For almost a decade, we couldn't escape campy teen shows rooted in the supernatural. When I go back and watch Twilight, I do it not only because I love it but because it's something that reminds me of home. It reminds me of a time when life was simpler and takes me right back to the house I grew up in. Little me, sitting on the sofa, reading about Bella and Edward's eternal forbidden love. Frank Trapper / Corbis via Getty Images