The Twilight Saga’s artistic reputation has been venomously disputed since Edward and Bella first arrived on screens in late 2008. Despite the first movie’s relatively small budget, Twilight was a big hit and went on to become one of the most successful fantasy franchises of all time. The Twilight franchise became a particular favourite of ‘emo’ or ‘alternative’ teenagers, given its dark aesthetic and edgy soundtracks, and its influences on pop culture grew to rival that of Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings.
However, despite the numbers and the mega fans, critics have never been particularly kind to the franchise and, over time, their mocking jibes have turned The Twilight Saga into something of a meme in of itself.
When the popularity of the Twilight movies came under fire, two spoof movies donned Vampires Suck and Breaking Wind arrived to mock the films’ wooden acting and unusual morals, fueling the birth of a never-ending cycle of Twilight memes, spoofs and Tik Tok videos, any number of which are still cropping up years after the franchise came to an end.
As the Saga neared its conclusion, it seemed like audiences alongside cast and crew, were becoming less and less enthusiastic about Bella and her vampire boyfriend. The YouTube video made up of snippets from Twilight press junkets, named “Robert Pattinson Hates Twilight”, just about sums up most people’s ill feelings towards the franchise in the end.
Still, it’s no understatement to say that The Twilight Saga divided filmgoers – the polarisation we have come to know in today’s UK politics between the left and the right, and the remainers and the leavers, is nothing compared to the extreme rivalry between the two great camps of Team Edward and Team Jacob. It’s even fair to say a person’s ranking of the Twilight films may depend on their allegiances to a certain team – Team Edward might favour the Breaking Dawn instalments, whereas Team Jacob might hold New Moon in higher regard. This rivalry, alongside the vast well of Twilight jibes and jokes, has jaded many to the hidden depths, accomplishments and failures of each film instalment.
So, putting jokes and mythical hotties to the side for a moment, let’s explore the disputed hierarchy of The Twilight Saga in this special edition of Ranked.
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5. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
At the bottom of the pile is the third film instalment, Eclipse.
Eclipse marks where the film series reaches the peak of its staleness. Due to its heavy back story and overuse of convenient flashbacks, the film felt sluggish and uninteresting.
The movie sees the return of The Cullen family’s long time, flaming red-haired enemy, Victoria (The Cullens beheaded and set fire to her boyfriend in the first movie). To claim her revenge, Victoria is attempting to make an army of new-born vampires, as she believes their significant strength and numbers will be enough to destroy the entire Cullen family.
Luckily, Jasper (we learn via a flashback) has extensive knowledge of new-born vampires and can teach others how to stop them. Although Vampires and Werewolves are mortal enemies, the Quileute tribe (we learn via a flashback) have a treaty with The Cullens and therefore do not hunt them. However, the wolves will not allow any more vampires inside the town of Forks and so agree to fight alongside the vampire family. In the background of the drama is Bella’s determination to become a vampire and Edward’s insistence that they are married before that happens. Edward’s sister Rosalie (we learn via a flashback) did not choose to become a vampire herself and values human life, so opposes Bella’s desire to join her vampire family.
Eclipse is the most ridged of the vampire movies as it sticks very closely to its source material and doesn’t take any creative risks. Although the life of every integral character is at risk, the stakes feel low, and what should be fast-paced, exciting action instead feels completely manageable.
Eclipse was the mud we had to trudge through to get one step closer to the finish line.
High points included Bella punching Jacob directly in the face when he kissed her without her permission, and a few impressive fight sequences. Low points included Bella’s cringy flirting and Edward’s ill-fitting efforts to save Bella’s soul by laying down his no sex before marriage law. Which Catholic School has Edward been attending on the sly?