Gutenfilm Presents: Twi Hard: Breaking Dawn Part 1
I’m thankful to finally be at the end of Twi Hard, at least for a year. Once next November rolls around, I’ll be able to do a follow-up article on Part 2 of this…groundbreaking (dawnbreaking?) series. I’ll have to think of something truly special to commemorate the final chapter of the saga.
I was going to do a proper review for Breaking Dawn Part 1, but I think it’s fairly obvious to everyone at this point what I think of the series, so I decided that actually writing a review would be pointless, and switching over to a natural continuation of Twi Hard would be more sensible, and hopefully more entertaining.
I had the immense, glorious privilege of sitting in front of four of the hardest actual Twilight fans for this screening. Me, a humble Harry Potter fan, sitting a mere vampire biting distance from some real life Twi Hards! And they got into the movie, too: gasping at all the right parts, sighing at the wedding, letting out groans of disgust at the nasty bits: one would think that Summit Entertainment had paid them as part of a viral marketing campaign to broadcast passionate audience response to the film. They even whispered to each other how excited they were for the movie to start as the lights went down five seconds before the movie started! What a treat. If I can claim any sincerity in this entire feature, it is my elation at actually getting within close proximity of a hardcore Twilight fan during the actual movie.
Breaking Dawn Part 1‘s opening moments involve everyone getting invitations to the Cullen wedding. Naturally, Jacob pops his shirt off literally twenty seconds into the film and everyone else acts emotional at the news that the couple are getting married. What follows is a desperately boring, mercilessly extended wedding sequence. It was even worse than actually having to watch a real wedding, because all of the weddings I’ve been to actually had interesting people in them (although I should note a pretty amusing dream sequence where Bella sees everyone dead and flowers decaying and rose petals turning into blood, but alas, it was just a dream. Hey, you can’t win ’em all). Then they went on their honeymoon, vacationing to a house on an island that Edward’s family owns. Bella finally talks Edward into vampire sexing her (preceded by Bella’s nervousness over getting naked in front of Edward, it was so cute ^_^) and then they go skinny dipping, and then finally have sex, and apparently it’s so good that Edward punches the shit out of their bed, ripping a chunk out of the headboard and causing the whole thing to collapse. Bella awakens the next morning surrounded by feathers from the bed, because apparently the sex was also pillow biting good. Yep, it seems that Edward literally ripped apart the pillow and mattress during the deed. I don’t know what those vampires are doing or taking, but I want to know their secret.
But not all is well in the world of teenage romance sex fantasy fulfillment. It seems that Edward accidentally bruised Bella the previous night, in a sexual romp that was not only furniture smashing, mattress biting intense, but also wife-beating intense (because this is a healthy relationship, apparently) The couple experiences some turmoil, but not too much because this is Edward and Bella. We all know everything is fine because they’re married now. But no it’s not! Because Bella is preggers! And it’s a vampire human hybrid and it wants OUT! It wants BLOOD! The next large chunk of the movie consists of Bella’s child kicking the crap out of her from inside her womb, along with the Twilight standard-issue brooding. Jacob’s brood-o-meter is broken. The needle has shattered the glass. Remember when I said he broods more than an entire cast of a CW show? This time, he broods more than the entire lineup of CW shows. Put together. I’m surprised Taylor Lautner’s face isn’t broken (although judging by his other movie Abducted, maybe it is).
Also, the vampire-werewolf truce is about to be broken because of the baby, because I’m…really not exactly sure now that I think about it. Actually, wait a second. Why should the werewolves care if there’s a hybrid baby growing in Bella’s belly (Bella’s belly baby. Say that ten times fast. I crack myself up)? I think it had something to do with the pack worried about the child being a threat, but oh wait, this is Twilight and this story is about relationships, not badass human/vampire hybrid children with demon powers. Anyway, a quick jaunt to Wikipedia (and another refusal to donate to them) later does not yield any answers. But Jacob is like, the sweetest, and he breaks away from his manly angst pack to protect the baby, who is either going to be named Renesmee if it’s a girl and E.J. (Edward Jacob) if it’s a boy. If you ask me, I think Stephenie Meyer got blasted on Jack’s while she was trying to think of a baby name. There’s also during this whole thing a thin and irritatingly veiled abortion debate, where everyone wants Bella to kill the child but Bella refuses because she feels a connection to it.
And then, finally, the birth scene. There was a lot of noise raised about this scene because in the book it’s apparently super duper intense because Edward has to give Bella a c-section using his freakin’ teeth and other stuff happens. Despite heartthrob Robert Pattinson’s (Edward) remarks that the scene would have made the movie NC-17 if they hadn’t cut it down, it was pretty disappointing even though I’m a sucker for POV camera angles and it was mostly shot from Bella’s perspective. I’m holding out hope for an unrated DVD but who knows. Then there is some more conflict and Jacob and Edward still hate each other. But OMG I almost forgot that before the baby was born Edward’s doctor-father-who-might-not-actually-be-a-doctor-because-it-was-just-a-cover-story-but-I-don’t-know-who-gives-a-crap decides that maybe Bella should try drinking blood because her baby is sucking up all her nutrients. They give her blood in a Styrofoam cup with a straw and she drinks it and likes it. She also gets a little healthier because her baby likes it too. After the childbirth, Bella flatlines so Edward injects her with his “venom” in the biggest damn syringe you’ll ever see. It doesn’t work so Edward panics and starts biting her all over the place in a feverish attempt to change her into a vampire so she doesn’t die. EMOTION!!
Anyway, there is some more conflict about the werewolves and vampires fighting or something. Jacob waffles between protecting Bella and wanting to kill her baby or both, because that’s what best friends do. When Bella dies during childbirth, Jacob goes into ultra-brood-cry mode, totally not manly, and finally decides to kill the baby, which is manly but really not very nice. Then he imprints on the child, which is a thing werewolves do where they see someone and suddenly decide to become unhealthily obsessed with them forever. So kind of like a high school girl but with more muscles. Then there’s a big stand-off outside the Cullen house, and the truce is broken, preparing for a huge battle in the next film (but probably not). Everything seems OK for now, but then there is an epilogue with the evil Voulturi vampire order, scheming so hard I wish I had saved the broken face joke for them instead of using it on Taylor Lautner.
I should mention, because I found this extremely funny, the novel’s cover art. Stephenie Meyer said that the cover is a metaphor for Bella and that she started out as a pawn (the weakest piece) but now she’s a queen (the strongest). Whatever the hell that means. She also said that she almost called the book Forever Dawn but it sounded too cheesy so she went with Breaking Dawn because it adds a sense of disaster and signifies a new day. Whatever you say, Stephenie. Whatever you say. Maybe for your next book you can actually be grammatically correct and capitalize the title!
Although I did speak at length of the stupid stylistic decisions made in the first two films, I found myself deeply missing them in the dreary Eclipse, which was depressingly straightforward even if it did have a couple of minutes of neat action. Breaking Dawn Part 1 is a refreshing return to the strange cinematic flair of the other films, and while it does not have any inexplicable panning and strange camera movements, it does attempt at least some of the weird crap featured in the other films, such as at the wedding when Bella and Edward kiss. The camera spins around them and all of a sudden the area no longer has any people because oh my gosh it’s so romantic it’s like they are the only ones there! To director Bill Condon’s credit, he’s assembled a nice-looking film here. It’s colorful, even if these are some of the most green screen-ass backgrounds I’ve seen since 300.
Seriously though, I cannot in good conscience deny Condon credit for at least getting Kristen Stewart to emote for ten seconds when Bella was nervous as her dad walked her down the aisle (was it only ten seconds? It seemed so much longer because of how intense and amazing the scene was!). Condon seems to be the most capable director of the series so far, but that’s like saying Breaking Dawn Part 1 is the best Twilight film or that shingles is the best skin disease to get.
To be honest, Breaking Dawn Part 1 really is the best mixture of all of the worst and most unintentionally hilarious moments from the previous films. This film brings the campiness of the previous three films to an absolute fever pitch, to the point of unintentional but extremely noticeable self-parody. The scene in which Jacob imprints on the new child, and the child, with it’s downright unnerving CGI face, turns to look at him to imprint in return, is hysterically weird and almost creepy. There’s also a part near the end where Bella drops her cup of blood and she tries to catch it her back literally snaps in twain. Then my back broke because I was laughing. Just joking. But seriously. It did.
So ends Twi Hard. For now. As you’ve all seen these past couple of weekends, it has been quite a struggle. As much fun as I have had blasting the films, it is also a relief to be free of them for a year. Watching all of these horrible uninteresting people interact and conduct the most wooden line readings since erectile dysfunction medication infomercials has been a trashy sort of fun, but in the most painful way imaginable. I hope everyone enjoyed it.