The best place to begin “The Twilight Saga” is with the first movie, “Twilight.” Released in 2008, this movie is the one that started it all. We’re introduced to Bella Swan, a high schooler who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington, to live with her dad. As she settles into her new life, she is meets Edward Cullen, a handsome but very aloof student who, as the pair get to know each other better, reveals himself to be a vampire who has been alive for more than a century.
A few notable aspects of “Twilight” help lay the groundwork for the global hit franchise it will rapidly evolve into in the ensuing years. First off, “Twilight” is a movie that feels both like a contained, indie movie with a supernatural twist and a sweeping, big screen drama all at one. That’s partially due to the well-adapted story penned by screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, partially thanks to Catherine Hardwicke’s insightful-yet-offbeat direction, and partially thanks to Pattinson and Stewart’s tangible onscreen chemistry, which serves as the foundation for the rest of the franchise. “Twilight” is also a perfect first movie in this official watch order because of all the great world-building it does right from the start. The cinematography helps establish the moody, dramatic world of the Pacific Northwest, where most of the franchise’s action will play out. There’s also plenty of screen time given to introducing each key character in Bella and Edward’s respective families. And it also helps that “Twilight” treats the supernatural elements of the story seriously, taking time to lay out vampire history and lore through Edward’s monologues and even making the rules of being of sparkly vampire sound plausible.