"The Twilight Saga" Countdown: Ranking the Worst to Best Movies of the Series

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Twilight is the vampire film that cashed in big on the science fiction trend in Hollywood. Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz all became household names as a result of this 2008 fantasy film. Stephenie Meyers is the author of the popular novels from which the movies are based. In this installment, a young girl named Bella (Stewart) is sent to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington. Then she meets the mysterious and dazzling Edward Cullen (Pattinson), whose unlike any boy she's ever met. The two are swept up in a passionate romance, though it's quickly threatened when the Cullens' mortal vampire enemies come to Forks looking for Bella.
Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment
November 1st, 2013

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"The Twilight Saga" Countdown: Ranking the Worst to Best Movies of the Series

While there are sure to be more special editions of "The Twilight Saga," the celluloid story of an ordinary girl and the werewolf and the vampire who loved her has officially ended. For fans who feel "Twilight" nostalgia or those people who never watched this supernatural love story unfold, here's a breakdown, from the worst to the best, of the movies that form this pentalogy.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1"

The largest flaw in "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" is an insufficient plot to sustain a movie nearly two hours long. Instead, filmmakers deliver what seems made strictly for superfans of the "Twilight" series. Just getting heroine Bella married to vampire Edward takes thirty minutes of screen time, and the honeymoon takes another thirty minutes to complete. Therefore, it's not until an hour into the film that Bella is impregnated with a vampire baby.

The last hour of the film redeems the preceding half as this movie veers into the body-horror genre. The special effects that make Bella appear a shadow of her former self are first rate. However, even as Bella gets grotesquely thinner due to the vampire baby she carries, there's still a lot of sitting around. Impassioned arguments about abortion and some fights among talking werewolves occur, but it's still a strangely sedate movie considering that a possibly evil vampire baby is slowly killing Bella. Once again, admirers of the"Twilight" books should definitely see it, but it's not a film that will earn this series any new fans.

"The Twilight Saga: New Moon"

"New Moon" boasts a killer soundtrack, inspiration from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," and enough shirtless beefcake to rival a Chippendales revue. While all those elements should form a highly entertaining film, there are also a lot of pining characters and involved backstories to slog through.

Although the movie's pacing is problematic, there are plenty of other things to enjoy. Both Michael Sheen and Anna Kendrick light up their scenes, and most audience members will be able to empathize with Kristen Stewart's Bella mourning her lost love. Also, although Bella does most of the onscreen pining, she also manages to save Edward.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2"

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" had two potentially problematic plot points to address, and it manages to overcome both hurdles with aplomb. Only in the "Twilight" world could a male teenager fall in romantic love with a baby, but the script manages to gloss over the ickier implications of this plot twist. Also, fans will know that the book's final confrontation ends with a heated conversation. Although the movie remains true to the book's ending, it also manages to sneakily add enough action into the script to satisfy those audience members who wanted a physical fight.

It's also fun to watch Bella, who has stumbled and stuttered her way through the first four films, become the vampire she always wanted to be. Sure, the movie concludes with an ending that's almost sickly sweet, but, after all, it's the finale to a teenage-vampire-romance series.

"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"

The love triangle between Bella, Edward, and werewolf Jacob provides the foundation for the third film in "The Twilight Saga." There's a lot of potential for melodrama, but director David Slade also adds a significant amount of humor and self awareness into the mix. The main plot, which requires vampires and werewolves to unite against a common enemy, also keeps the movie's pace humming along.

Most importantly, "Eclipse" provides some payoff for storylines that started in the first film. The dangerous vampire Victoria is neutralized, and Bella finally makes her choice between the two leading men. "Eclipse" also includes flashbacks that give important depth to other members of Edward's vampire family. The result is an enjoyable film that even "Twilight Saga" skeptics might find worthwhile.

"Twilight"

Most fans of movie franchises will tell you the best movie is always the film that starts the franchise. This general principle is true for "The Twilight Saga" as well. "Twilight" was made to appeal to teenage fans of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, but it still manages to charm people outside of that narrow demographic. There's a palpable chemistry between the two leads and a cast of likeable secondary characters. Plus, cinematographer Elliot Davis' camera makes the Pacific Northwest look breathtakingly beautiful. There are some dialogue misfires and an inexplicable vampire baseball game, but the movie still manages to make a successful contribution to the romance genre.

At approximately ten hours running time, watching the entire "The Twilight Saga" is an easy way to spend a sick day or a lazy weekend. However, for fans looking for a quick reminder of what they loved about the series, the original "Twilight" film is the answer to their yearnings.

 

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