Why Harry Potter movies are (mostly) good, while Twilight movies are not

I will be seeing the new Twilight: Eclipse movie tomorrow, because of the reason depicted in this cartoon.

You know how Harry Potter fans get up in arms about every little detail in the Harry Potter films? How they deviate from the books? I honestly get frustrated with some of the decisions made by the directors and producers myself. Ultimately it’s something we can live with, because we understand that the movies can’t be the same as the books, because they are different mediums. What works for the written word doesn’t necessarily translate to film, and vice versa. It’s difficult at times to translate such a rich story into something that can be digested in two hours. Changes are made that ultimately shape to hopefully make a better final product, and for Harry Potter the movies have more hits than misses.

The Twilight movies are bad for exactly the opposite reason. There’s just not much story at all. Harry Potter plots are intricate. They are most often packed with foreshadowing, mysteries that run throughout, and seemingly innocuous events that turn out to have far-reaching consequences several chapters and even several books later. Twilight has none of that. The only “mystery” is “Who will Bella chose?” and even THAT’S not a mystery. The plot never develops, it just happens. “I’m going to try to kill myself on a motorcycle for no apparent reason. Ghostly apparition of Edward, stop me!”  “Edward’s about to commit suicide out of the blue. Quick, stop him!” “All of the sudden an army of vampires are attacking. Quick, stop them!” And so on.

The movie makers can’t do much with that. And sadly, they don’t have to. Their target audience is female, teenage nutcases– a phrase which is redundant far too often. They don’t care about the story. They just want to see Robert Pattinson sparkle and look like he’s about to vomit, and Taylor Lautner without a shirt on.

When Twilight time comes up, I see it as an opportunity to perform a non-scientific sociological study. Watching and listening to the moviegoers is always more entertaining than the movie, and at least this time I can look forward to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer, which will put the whole of Eclipse to shame.

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