Twilight and its Impact on the Fantasy Film Genre

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‘The Twilight Series’ has grossed $385 million worldwide and has gained followers all over the world, but has decidedly split the critics and the audiences. It’s like the film version of marmite, you either love it or you hate it. For me, I’m rather indifferent to it; it has all of the cinematic tropes which equal big box office success.

First component; big name stars, ‘The Twilight Saga’ boasts an impressive cast. The two leads are portrayed by Kristen Stewart and Brit Robert Pattinson, and the supporting cast include Taylor Lautner and ex child star Dakota Fanning.

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Second component; universal themes, ‘The Twilight Saga’ is known for its themes of identity, love and sexual awakening, which all appeal to its pre-teen audience.

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Final component; fantasy, this big budget film series would be nothing without the fantastical element, vampires and werewolves, at war. And, similar to the ‘Harry Potter Series’ all of the action happens in our modern day humdrum world.  

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What these successful films show is that evidently, this is a genre which is still relevant in Modern day society. Films are a way to escape the humdrum of life, to forget our worries if only for a couple of hours. What the Fantasy Film genre proves, is that we need to escape our lives, through the genre of Fantasy film.

Of course, in order for the studios to keep producing fantastic, indie films, they must create these big budget fantasy films to keep their business going. ‘The Twilight Saga’ is only one example of a big budget fantasy film and with ‘Beautiful Creatures’ set to be released next month, it seems the industry isn’t quite finished with this cocktail of films.

Naomi Jeffreys, Film Editor

On the Road

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Words by Yazen Al Samen

The Beat generation, like the Paris Avant-garde generation before it and the Woodstock generation after it, celebrated sex, drugs and Surrealism/Jazz/Rock’n Roll, and it had its leading documentarians.

The Avant-gardes’ had Luis Bunuel, Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein and Picasso; the Woodstocks had Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Pete Townshend, and the Beats had Allen Ginsberg, William Seward Burroughs and of course, Jack Kerouac.

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All of these intellectual movements had a familiarity between its members, where everybody knows everybody. Kerouac’s 1957 novel ‘On the Road’ is about that familiarity and fondness. It is about Sal, a young writer, Kerouac’s alter ego, who is struggling to finish a novel.

He meets a fellow called Dean, a young hipster, before hipster was hip, who has just married a sixteen year old girl, and the three of them begin a road trip that takes them from New York to Denver to San Francisco and eventually Mexico.

Walter Salles’ adaptation of the novel captures some of that energy and excitement, even if the movie feels passionless and at the end, with no real direction.

Sam Riley stars as Sal, the young troubled writer, in a nuanced, observant performance, serving as a guide to the film’s real star. Riley has such a calm, deep voice and his narration here is nostalgic, fond and it adds depth to the film.

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Apart from the period settings and culture, the real find here is Garrett Hedlund, as Dean Moriarty. This is one of the performances of the year, probably Oscar-worthy, it is the sort of performance comparable with Jennifer Lawrence’s work in ‘Winter’s Bone’,  a star making performance.

The film contains an all-star cast, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi, Tom Sturridge, Terrence Howard and Elizabeth Moss. At points you do wonder why so many big stars were needed in this, but anyway, this film remains a fascinating watch, simply because of the novel it was adapted from.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Behind the Scenes

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

The fourth in the Harry Potter series, the Goblet of Fire was considerably darker than the previous films.

Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and starred Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. It was the first film in the series which dealt with teenage  troubles, love, hormones and well, a Triwizard Tournament.

According to online sources, ‘as of July 2011, the film holds an 87% “Certified Fresh” overall approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Likewise atMetacritic, the film received a score of 81, which indicates “universal acclaim”‘. What’s more, ‘the young actors were praised for demonstrating a “greater range of subtle emotions”‘.

The film’s budget was $150 million and the film was a box office smash, grossing $896,911,078 worldwide.

Check out the behind the scenes images below: