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The Twilight Saga and Its Cultural Value

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In this article, I'm going to delve into the complexity of one of the most famous love triangles of all time. Stephenie Meyer's ‘The Twilight Saga’ has real cultural value, especially considering the film adaptation. The films explore many major themes in and out of production, including feminism, love, choice, and escapism. But this saga is truly life-changing. Even Obama admitted to reading books to bond with his daughters.

The blockbuster series is divided into a five-film franchise – ‘Twilight’, ‘New Moon’, ‘Eclipse’, ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ and ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ - and the rest is a ‘Twihard’ filled history (the official name of the Twilight fan base). The plot begins from the point of view of Bella Swan, an awkward, generic teen, who has recently moved back in with her father, to the constantly bleak and dreary town, Forks, Washington. From then we dive headfirst into the epic vampire and werewolf filled series, that arguably changes the history of cinema. Before filming had even commenced, the series had something little to no films had or even still have, lots of women. In the crew. Behind the scenes. Starting with a female director (Catherine Hardwicke) and accompanied by a female screenplay writer (Melissa Rosenberg) who had adapted the books from the female author (Stephenie Meyer). With women as the powerhouse of the films it allowed them to show off that women can do just as good a job as men, maybe even better. But still, many major film production teams stay consistent with male directors; for example, after 20 male-directed blockbusters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in 2019, the movie ‘Captain Marvel’ became the first film to be directed by a woman and star a female protagonist. The women who shaped ‘The Twilight Saga’ by giving it a unique and distinctive style are the main reasons why they’ve managed to do so overwhelmingly well. In 2008, the Twilight franchise led the way for female representation in the production of Hollywood blockbusters, an achievement that sadly remains a rarity to this day.

Secondly, no one can deny that Twilight isn’t a prominent film in the industry, with being added to Netflix in July 2021 and almost instantly landing within the top ten. It’s safe to say the films continue to be appreciated by Netflix watchers around the globe. When the saga first took to the big screen, it made Hollywood finally notice and take seriously the largely ignored ticket-buying audience of young women. For years the adventure, fantasy world of film had been dedicated to the 12-25-year-old men demographic. I can barely think of another young adult fantasy film that allows a woman to be the protagonist; normally this type of genre reduces women to being either a decorative sidekick or hollow love interest. But these movies captured the imaginations of women and gave them a chance to truly experience the world of fantasy, a world of fantasy with a woman being our protagonist.

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With Bella as the main character, these films manage to captivate teens and young women. Bella is portrayed as the average girl next door, and so it essentially allows her to become the placeholder for many girls to imagine themselves in the desolate town, Forks. All teens want is a normal person they can relate to, and Bella is that person. Bella doesn’t have many outstanding qualities that make her any more different than the other thousands of teenagers in love with a 109-year-old vampire. Bella being this ‘normal girl’ is what captivates the audience and truly transports them into Bella's shoes, and who doesn’t want to be transported to a world in which Robert Pattinson is a vampire who shimmers in the sun?

The Team Edward vs. Team Jacob conundrum was gifted to us in 2008 with the creation of the saga. This is a debate that refuses to settle, with the constant bullets of dispute firing at each of the opposing views. Indeed, many celebs fear to even tread lightly on such a sensitive topic, knowing the possible aftermath of bringing up such a controversial subject, even though Team Edward triumphs on the daily. Thousands of opinions and articles have been written to display every merit and drawback of both Edward and Jacob. But this is a battle that has not and will never end. The reasoning behind this is the Internet fueling itself with these heated arguments. But this type of civil war is the exact reason the saga is so adored, these clashing views allow the series to thrive and sustains growing attachments to the characters and the plot.

On the other hand, many people assassinate these films by labelling them ‘cringe’ and ‘unfunny’. These epithets given to the series creates a stigma around the films, but what these critics don’t understand is that the films thrive off un-ironic humor and they have given us countless iconic moments and quotes such as the beyond awkward wedding speeches and the famous line from Edward, “Hold on tight, spider monkey”. I understand not everyone appreciates the same genre of film but these films just have that special something that allows them to get away with the ‘cringe’ elements, plus there will always be a place for this type of entertainment in the world.

Therefore, not only is The Twilight Saga enjoyable, it manages to achieve things so many production teams only dream of. It allows an escape for millions and its legacy shall continue to be loved for years on end. It quenches the thirst of young women longing for female protagonists; the hope of a future of female-led productions but, most importantly, it gives those ‘Twihard’ cinephiles a powerful love story t to be proud of for decades to come.

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The Twilight Saga and Its Cultural Value. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-twilight-saga-and-its-cultural-value/
“The Twilight Saga and Its Cultural Value.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/the-twilight-saga-and-its-cultural-value/
The Twilight Saga and Its Cultural Value. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-twilight-saga-and-its-cultural-value/> [Accessed 4 Mar. 2024].
The Twilight Saga and Its Cultural Value [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Mar 01 [cited 2024 Mar 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-twilight-saga-and-its-cultural-value/
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