It's Been Ten Years Since The Premiere Of The First 'Twilight'

It's Been Ten Years Since The Premiere Of The First 'Twilight'

How I got into the “Twilight Saga” and reviews of the books and movies.

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Forgive me in advance, but you're going to read the writing of a fanatic beyond this point. Be warned.

The year was 2009, and I was searching through the titles of my mail order book club to see want books to get into. I read the description of “Twilight” and liked it and put it on my “to read” list. A few months later, “New Moon” popped up — and its premise sounded even better — reminding me to get the first book. It went on my “to read” list. The same patterns followed with “Eclipse” and “Breaking Dawn.”

A year later, a coworker and her two oldest children went to see “New Moon” in the theaters. Once I realized movies of the series I had been dying to read but putting it off came out, I watched bootleg copies of the first three movies before finally buying all the books in 2011 and reading them in two weeks. A “Twilight Saga” Fan was born in me then.

“Twilight” is the story of 17 year old Isabella Swan who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father — the town Sheriff — from Phoenix, Arizona after her mother got remarried. There, she meets and falls in love with Edward Cullen — a boy who is seemingly an 17 year old adopted son of the good Doctor Cullen and his wife. He's actually a vampire living with a coven who drinks animal blood instead of human blood.

I didn't like Edward Cullen. He treated Bella in a hot and cold way for almost half the book! It just didn't seem like he loved her as much as she loved him.

But it was still an exhilarating read. I liked learning more about the world of vampires in Stephanie Meyer's eyes, and I liked the stories and personalities of the many secondary characters in Edward's and Bella's lives. It was utterly ordinary — which ironically made the story more interesting because how can a ordinary story with a ordinary girl with an ordinary life suddenly become something more.

The hottest, most unattainable guy in school suddenly can't stay away from you? What girl didn't dream of that once or twice when they were in high school???

The movie was awesome! I didn't like that it was changed from the book, and it had a blue-ish/gray picture throughout to me. The Cullens weren't even pale like traditional vampires! But the budding teenage love scenes and the action scenes were cool.

“New Moon” is about the vampire Edward Cullen leaving Isabella Swan — to keep her safe from their enemies and himself — so she can have a chance at a normal human life. Bella is devastated, but finds comfort and love with a new suitor, Jacob Black, the 16 year-old Indian son of her father's best friend. He also has a secret: he shape shifts into a werewolf.

Bella is extremely annoying in this second installment of the “Twilight Saga.” She keeps going back and forth between her love for Edward and sadness over his leaving her and her growing love for Jacob. Its not that I didn't identify with her sadness over Edward leaving — because the book described her pain flawlessly, and captured it perfectly — but I just couldn't understand why she couldn't be happy and grateful that she had someone better in Jacob.

I mean, their fathers were best friends, they've been in each others lives since they were kids, they were both human (sort of) balancing supernatural aspects in their lives, and she was generally physically attracted to the guy! Team Jacob and Bella Forever!!!

The movie was exactly the same as the book.

“Eclipse” is not only about the battle to destroy the Cullen coven and Isabella by an army of newborn vampires, but also the battle between vampire Edward Cullen and werewolf Jacob Black for Bella's heart.

This was my favorite book in the “Twilight Saga.” The insults Edward and Jacob threw at each other were so funny! And I almost switched to Team Edward when he left a note for Bella saying something like, “Take care of my heart, I've left it for you.”

But, I think this third installment really showed how stupid and one track minded Bella was because Jacob pulled out ALL the stops on her to be with him instead — and she kept refusing! Even when she finally realized how much she really loved him — she still gave him up for Edward.

The movie almost completely captures Bella's indecision about choosing Edward or Jacob — but it cut out key scenes of her anguish for scenes focusing more on the temporary newborn vampire Bree Tanner's experience in Seattle. But, it was still very epic. The battle for Bella's heart was hella intense by the time the climax of this movie came about.

“Breaking Dawn” is about the marriage of Isabella Swan to vampire Edward Cullen, the birth of their half-human/half-vampire daughter Renesme, and finally, Bella's death/transformation into a vampire.

This was the most intense book of the “Twilight Saga.” Bella finally marries her vampire Edward and Jacob is left behind scrambling to figure out where he still fits in her life. Which turns out — Jacob's heart is meant for Bella and Edward's half-human/half-vampire daughter Renesme.

It reads like a totally different kind of book once Bella is finally transformed into a vampire. It’s like, in “Twilight,” Bella was balancing her primary human life with vampire life. In “New Moon,” she was balancing her primary human life with wolf life. In “Eclipse,” she was balancing her primary human life with vampire and wolf lives. In the first half of “Breaking Dawn,” she was bidding farewell to her primary human life while integrating into a vampire life and balancing wolf life. In the second half of “Breaking Dawn,” she balances a primary vampire life with wolf and human life.

“Breaking Dawn” really takes the readers on a whole new and exciting reality for Bella's fans. The girl who becomes a wife, has her virginity taken, has a baby, dies, becomes reborn as a vampire, and saves her entire family and friends with her super power! She really is the heroine of the entire saga.

What surprised me was that a forth of the first half of the book was told from Jacob's perspective — not Bella's (as it had been since Twilight). Then, his imprinting on Renesme. It made sense because at first I wasn't going to read “Breaking Dawn” since Bella made her choice — and it wasn't Jacob. So why did I need to read more?

But my curiosity about what Stephanie Meyer had in store next for these characters after “Eclipse” intrigued me. And Stephanie must have read my mind — because in the beginning pages of “Breaking Dawn,” Bella remarks on how she didn't want Jacob to think that she had just danced off into the sunset with Edward and forgot about him — which is what I thought “Breaking Dawn” would be about actually.

When I read that Bella thought that, I felt like Stephanie was speaking directly to Jacob fans through the character Bella's thoughts. I wanted to read about what was in store for Jacob and the wolves now that Bella had officially chosen Edward. Him imprinting on Renesme was weird — but it worked out for him.

Now he had a comfortable way of still being in Bella's life. I loved how Stephanie Meyer brought together everyone. The vampires and wolves were finally friends. The humans we were exposed to from “Twilight” were still valued and included in the harmony. Renee is ignorantly happy in Florida, Charlie gets Sue and Bella now has 2 wolf step-siblings (who are also part of Jacob's pack), all Bella's high school buds are blissfully ignorant in college — its all good.

Even one of the new cast of vampires gets a happy ending (i.e. Kate and Garrett). And, the Volturi are defeated. I actually wanted a battle though — I almost threw the book down when nobody fought in the end! What a let down!

But, Stephanie brought almost every character to a happy ending — well, all except Leah and Irina. Life will forever suck for them (Irina more so cause she dies!). Turns out, “Breaking Dawn” wasn't just a book for Bella and Edward fans — but a book for vampire fans, the human character fans, Jacob fans, and wolf fans as well.

The movie of “Breaking Dawn” part one was beautiful. Just beautiful. It captured Bella's emotions throughout her experiences perfectly. Just as the book did.

I was so sad for Jacob throughout this. He matured so much – yet he was still holding on desperately to love he felt for the girl who chose someone else – his enemy – over him.

I loved the things they added (a fight with the wolves) and how emotional this saga really was. I also really liked how accurate the gory parts of this movie were. Her drinking the blood, and even though some of the delivery of Renesme parts were taken out of the movie version, it was still pretty disgusting, and gory, and heartstoppingly scary.

The “Breaking Dawn” part two movie felt like a completely different kind of movie – just like the second half of the book read differently than all the other books. It captured all the emotions, drama, and evolution of characters – plus gave justice to all the other characters that were introduced as well.

And the twist the director Bill Condon added brought more fans to the series and kept the current fans on the edge of our seats!

I was very glad they did that cause that pissed me off in the book that they didn't do it! I only wish they could've done more with Bella's shield – and the movie wasn't so rushed. It felt too fast-paced and vital parts were missing that could've made it an even more perfect ending for the saga. But, it was still an epic cinematic end regardless.

Personally, the mantra for the ENTIRE Twilight saga should've been, “The Twilight Saga; It all begins…with a choice.”

So of course on Sunday, October 21st I had to go see the tenth anniversary screening of the first movie which was released back in theaters! I saw it at Crocker Park's Regal Cinemas. Attendees got a free promotional poster, a bonus showing of ten years since clip beforehand, and just a really cool experience to be back among other fanatics like myself.

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The 9 Eras Of Disney Animation

The evolution of Disney animation over the years
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As a kid I always loved movies, and no movies did it quite for me like Disney movies did. Whether they were old or new, there was something about Disney movies that just spoke to me. The music the characters, the stories-- they all helped to shape some of my fondest childhood memories and are responsible for many of my interests and beliefs today. But what I always found most interesting is the history behind these films, how the time they came out influenced their themes and meanings. So today I’ll be exploring just that-- the nine eras of Disney animations.

1923-1928: The Silent Era and the Origins of Disney

The history of Disney begins with the Silent Era. In 1923, Walt Disney, working for Laugh-O-Gram studios out of Kansas City, Missouri, created a short film called Alice’s Wonderland, which would serve as the first of the Alice Comedies. After the company declared bankruptcy, Walt moved to Hollywood, where he and his brother Roy formed Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios. They worked out a deal with Winkler Productions to produce the Alice Comedies and eventually, in 1926, moved their company to Hyperion Street, where it was renamed Walt Disney Studios. After the decline of the Alice Comedies, Walt created his first ever original character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and produced 26 short comedies starring the character before a falling out with Charles Mintz, who had by 1928 taken over Winkler Productions. Legally, Oswald belonged to Mintz and his company, so he took the character and four of Disney’s animators and started a new animation company, Snappy Comedies.

1928-1937: Pre-Golden Age and Mickey Mouse

The Pre-Golden Age saw Walt recovering from the loss of Oswald and also set the stage for Disney as we know it today. In 1928, Walt, in collaboration with Ub Iwerks, created a new character that he originally named Mortimer Mouse. However, his wife didn’t like the name, so he renamed him Mickey (I think we can all agree this name is much better). Mickey made his first appearance in 1928 in a test screening of the short film called Plane Crazy. However, the film failed to pick up a distributor, so Walt went back to the drawing board and created Steamboat Willie, which was released in 1928. The film was an immediate success due to the fact that it was the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound and established Mickey as the mascot of Disney. After this, a series of Mickey Mouse cartoons were released. This series also saw the introduction of many Disney staple characters, such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy. Donald Duck, another iconic Disney character, first appeared in Disney’s Silly Symphonies, a series of animated short films that were popular for their innovative use of Technicolor. With this, Walt had successfully bounced back from the hardships of the Silent Era and set the stage for the Golden Age of Disney.

1937-1942: The Golden Age

The Golden Age of Disney began in 1937 with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film was the first full-length feature film to use traditional animation and was an immediate commercial success, establishing Disney as one of the leaders of animated filmmaking. Other films that were released during this time include Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi. Although all of these films would go on to become considered classics, at the time of their release only Snow White and Dumbo were commercially successful. What made this time considered the Golden Age wasn’t the commercial success of these films though, but rather the trends they created in terms of Disney filmmaking. Snow White was the first of the fairytale-based movies that Disney is known for and established the “Disney Princesses,” Pinocchio started the concept of taking well-known literature and turning it into a child-friendly film and Bambi explored the possibilities of making a movie through the eyes of a non-human character. Other Disney staples such as exaggerated villains, the use of music and prominent, comedic sidekicks were first introduced during this time as well. Another key characteristic of the films of this time was the inclusion of many dark scenes, which were usually sandwiched between upbeat and light scenes in order to create a mood shift. A similar, toned down version of this techniques would also be used in later films.

1943-1949: The Wartime Era

With the U.S.’s entry into World War II, Disney Studios faced lower budgets and a smaller team of animators as it entered the Wartime Era. Also known as the Package Era, the films of this time included Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, and The Adventures of Icabod and Mr. Toad. What made these films distinct from the Golden Age films is that instead of telling a single, continuous story, these films consisted of multiple short films within each. These films are largely ignored and widely unpopular, with fans criticizing them due to their lack of consistency and tone in each short. The Wartime Era also Disney Studios producing wartime propaganda, which included anti-Nazi commercials and flyers encouraging Americans to support the war.

1950-1967: The Silver Age and the Death of Walt Disney

Disney’s Silver Age, also known as the Restoration Age saw the return of many of the trends set forth by the Golden Age of Disney. Films released during this time include Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book. What made these films distinct from its predecessors was the use of more ornate backgrounds and softer colors. Furthermore, the Silver Age also saw the use of lighter themes balanced with more complex characters, creating many of the well-known characters that are still considered fan-favorites today. The Jungle Book was the last film that Walt himself worked on before his death in 1966, and the movie’s release marked the end of the Silver Age

1970-1988: The Dark Age and the Decline of Disney

Hope you guys have a flashlight ‘cos we’re about to enter a dark place, or rather a dark age (see what I did there?). The Dark Age of Disney, also known as the Bronze Age, saw Disney Studios struggle to find their footing without Walt there to hold the reins. This was a time of trial-and-error in which the animators shied away from traditional storytelling tropes seen in the Golden and Silver Ages and instead shifted toward darker and more secular stories. Films released during this time include The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver and Company. With the exception of The Great Mouse Detective, which was both critically and commercially successful, most of these films only received little success, with The Black Cauldron being a box office flop. These films lacked Walt’s imagination and were criticized for only being intended to bring in money. The greatest criticism of these films was their departure from traditional animation and their use xerography. This saved both time and money, allowing animators to directly print their drawings onto cells. However, this process did have its limits and initially only black lines were possible using this method. As a result, films during this era are known as “Scratchy Films” because of the heavy black lines in their animation. While these films weren’t initially successful upon release, many have gone on to become cult classics. Also, the Disney Dark Age helped set the foundation for the pinnacle of Disney animation

1989-199: The Disney Renaissance and Birth of the Millennials

If you’re a millennial like me, then most of your favorite Disney moments and films likely come from the Disney Renaissance. The Disney Renaissance saw a return to the musical fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Golden and Silver Age while at the same time expanding on many of the themes and techniques introduced in the Bronze Age. Films released during this time include The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan. These films were also the first films that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken worked on, both of whom are key elements to Disney’s musical success. The films during this time also had many important themes that would influence the current views of millennials; Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame taught us not to judge people by their appearances; Mulan and Hercules taught us the importance of making sacrifices; and Aladdin taught us that there’s nothing wrong with being ourselves and that the circumstances of our birth don’t have to dictate who we grow up to be.

2000-2009: Post-Renaissance Era

Also known as the Second Dark Age, the Post-Renaissance Era was unique in that whereas previous eras were marked with having a common theme about them, this era was defined as a time in which Disney tried their hands at new methods in storytelling, similar to the Bronze Age. Films from this time include Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt. These films explored new storytelling elements marketed towards kids and more mature themes marketed towards the kids that had grown up during the Disney Renaissance that were now teenagers and young adults. While Lilo and Stitch was a commercial success, spawning several sequels and a T.V. show, most of the other films released during this time only received moderate success. This was in part due to the fact that they also had to contend with huge movie franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Despite not doing as well as their predecessors, the films released during the Second Dark Age are well known for their innovation. Dinosaur was the first Disney film that used CGI animation, which would become a popular element of this era’s successor.

2010-present: Marvel, Star Wars, and the Second Disney Renaissance

Just as a Renaissance followed the first Disney Dark Age, a Second Disney Renaissance followed this Second Dark Age. Also known as the Revival Era, this era marked a return to the fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Gold and Silver Ages as well as the first Disney Renaissance. During this time, Disney bought the rights to Marvel and Lucasfilm, meaning they no longer had to worry about trying to market their films toward older audiences since the MCU and Star Wars did that for them. Films released during this time include Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6. Like the first Disney Renaissance, the Second Disney Renaissance built off several things introduced by its predecessor. Tangled, for example, used the CGI techniques first used by Dinosaur. Most of the films of this era have been met with great popularity, with Frozen being the highest grossing animated film of all time and Big Hero 6 being the highest audience-rated film of this time period.

And there you have it, the nine eras of Disney animations. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about the history of Disney and its growth through the years. I personally loved writing this article and look forward to writing more like this one.

Cover Image Credit: Travel and Leisure

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The Academy Might Love 'A Star Is Born,' But I Wasn't Wowed

I think it's good, just not an instant classic as some would lead you to believe.

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The film nominated for Best Picture that has generated the most buzz is probably "A Star Is Born." I saw this film a few months ago, and while it really was quite good, featuring some nice musical numbers and good acting, I wasn't as blown away as some other critics, or members of the Academy were.

"A Star Is Born" was nominated for Best Song, Best Sound Mixing, Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, leading all films with a whopping eight nominations.

A STAR IS BORN - Official Trailer 1 YouTube

The film features Lady Gaga as Ally, the main protagonist who is the star who is born, relating to the title. I typically don't like musical performers who venture into serious acting, but Gaga does a pretty good job of adopting her character as well as flexing her vocal muscles. While there were some cringe-worthy moments for sure, I think that has more to do with the writing, which we will get to later.

"Star" also features Bradley Cooper who was nominated for his role. While I thought he was good, I didn't think he was really anything better. He plays a very stereotypical alcoholic pop star, it's not as if anything new was brought to this role. He definitely won't win his category, but it was a decent performance. I'll definitely say that his performance wasn't nearly as inspiring as Ethan Hawke's in "First Reformed."

Sam Elliot was also somehow nominated for his role, which doesn't really make sense to me because he was barely in the movie. I'm thinking it was based on name recognition alone.

However, in terms of what I really liked about the film, I was really touched by the general ambiance of the film. There are some movies that just make you feel like you're immersed in the story, and "Star" does a great job of that. The music is phenomenal and Lady Gaga does an excellent job of bringing her stunning voice to the big screen. I also am a big fan of the original narrative, but I'm not convinced this writing does it justice. Still, it's a nice story.

Where I think this film really didn't succeed is in it's writing. I found myself cringing at a lot of the character-defining scenes, as well as some of the really weird lines. For example, I cringed so hard when Lady Gaga just starts full-out belting in the middle of a parking lot. Literally, nobody does that. I understand it's a movie, but surely there was a better way to introduce Gaga's character-defining song.

Is it worth it?

Overall, I liked "A Star Is Born" but not to the extent that the Academy likes it. I think it's good, just not an instant classic as some would lead you to believe. It's themes of mental illness, background, and trust are all relatable and make for a nice film.

Final Score: 7.2/10, Worth It

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