‘The Twilight Saga’, Stephanie Meyer’s bestselling chronicle of lovelorn vampires, hunky werewolves, anguished longing and shag-free romance, currently stands at four volumes: ‘Twilight’, ‘New Moon’, ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Breaking Dawn’.
In terms of adaptations, ‘Twilight’ (directed by Catherine Hardwicke) appeared in 2008. It earned poor reviews, including a scathingly sarcastic one on The Agitation of the Mind. The “twi-hards” lapped it up.
‘New Moon’, with Chris Weitz taking over directorial duties, came out late last year and despite promising my readership that I would subject it to a similar satirical savaging, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it. Reviews were no better than ‘Twilight’ and its IMDb rating is lower. None of which really mattered, since the “twi-hards” once again lapped it up.
‘Eclipse’, with David Slade helming, is on course for a summer release. I’m confidently predicting bad reviews and hysterical “twi-hard” response.
Now, to my way of thinking logic would dictate going straight into pre-production with ‘Breaking Dawn’ while (a) the principle cast can still almost get away with playing teenagers and (b) the “twi-hards” are still interested.
But no, Summit Entertainment have scrapped plans to film ‘Breaking Dawn’ and concentrate instead on rebooting the franchise. Which immediately raises the question: is ‘The Twilight Saga’ a franchise? With only four novels to go at in terms of source material and only two films thus far released, surely it is (as the catch-all title suggests) a saga.
Moreover, aren’t franchise reboots traditionally undertaken when a longstanding series has become moribund and is in need of reinvention, ie. ‘Batman Begins’ or ‘Casino Royale’? Summit haven’t even been able to gauge the box office performance of ‘Eclipse’ yet. Sure, ‘Twilight’ and (from what I’ve heard tell) ‘New Moon’ are lousy examples of the filmmaker’s art, but they’ve proved profitable and the “twi-hards”, as much as I take the piss out of them, seem genuine in their love of both the books and the movies. They’ve made the films successful; the least Summit Entertainment could do is finish what they started and film the last instalment of the saga before going back to the drawing board and reinventing it.
Which raises the question: how exactly does one reboot a high school vampire romance saga. Over to the VP of Summit Entertainment:
“We feel that the series should appeal to a newer generation. We’re pleased that the Twilight saga has reached a number of fans, but we want to expand on that fanbase by putting Bella and Edward in middle school. We also would like to make a grittier, more contemporary take on vampires.”
Now, I’m a limey and I’ll freely admit I don’t have the first clue about the US school system. But middle school? Doesn’t that imply the characters will be younger than in the current films? And how does retarding the protagonists’ ages sit with “a grittier, more contemporary take”? Did somebody go see ‘Let the Right One In’ then walk into a production meeting next day and say “Hey, guys, I’ve got this awesome concept”?
And how does this bode for the future? Can we expect a really down and dirty ‘The Addiction’-meets-‘Near Dark’-stylee incarnation of ‘The Twilight Saga’ when it gets its 2020 reboot and they set it in a toddlers’ playgroup?