Well, the weekend—and thus the unofficial official moratorium on discussing the details of Breaking Dawn—has passed. THANK GOODNESS because I have so many THOUGHTS and FEELINGS to share with you on Le Saga Vampîre!
In my heart of hearts, I really didn’t think this movie was going to happen. Seriously. That book. Everything that happens in it. I figured movie studios/directors would run away screaming. But money overcomes all obstacles, and it was made, and lo! it was ridiculous and awesome. Honestly, it felt like the first and the last half were two entirely different movies. Thusly, my review will schizophrenically cover the con (the first half) and the pro (the WTF-ery).
Con: The Film’s Jaw-Slackening Interpretation of the Honeymoon
ha ha, i see what u did thar
In the movie, Edward’s use of sex as a weapon to maintain power over and press guilt upon Bella was truly, very seriously disturbing. I had a hard time watching it. I was angry and confused; though some elements from the book were shown accurately, I didn’t recall my overall impression of their honeymoon experience being as awful.
So I decided to go back and check. And I was right—it wasn’t.
In Stephenie Meyers’ Breaking Dawn, the scene after the oh-so-disappointing fade to black was much the same as the post-headboard angst-fest portrayed in the movie (#TeamHeadboard): feathers, bruises, patronizing display of sex guilt by Edward. Then, in both the book and the film, Bella gets a spine (more on Bella’s spine later…) and confronts Edward, telling him he’s ruining her post-coitus buzz: “Actually, I’m really pissed at you.” Good job, Bella!
Bella starts thinking of ways to manipulate Edward into giving human-vamp sexy-time another go. Continued efforts to seduce her stone-cold spouse using French lingerie are true in book and movie. But, in the book, she offers up as bait the possibility that she might actually go to college for a while and postpone the whole vampire transformation thing. Then, she realizes that’s actually what she wants to do. All right, Bella! College is cool (I’m going to ignore for now that part where Bella says she’ll probably fail and instead of arguing to the contrary Edward just says “I’ll tutor you”)!
Just as portrayed in the movie, Bella has a dream about sparkle motion with her husband. She wakes up crying and…
I couldn’t tell if he was moved by the tears trembling in my voice, or if he was unprepared to deal with the suddenness of my attack, or if his need was simply as unbearable in that moment as my own. But whatever the reason, he pulled my lips back to his, surrendering with a groan.
And we began where my dream had left off.
They have sex at least twice more during their honeymoon before the whole “demon spawn” thing comes up. The book—and mark your calendars because this is the only time I have ever or will probably ever be able to say this—is much, MUCH more sex-positive than the movie.
In the movie, the moment when Bella wakes to discover that her chess/sex victory was just a cruel dream was legitimately wrenching. And it never got better. Edward withheld, withheld, withheld, and Bella was spun into this horrid microcosm of everything that could get twisted about female sexuality, all in about 15 minutes. First of all, you waited until you got married to get it on, and when you finally got the green light, your vampire now-husband loses control, just like he always said he would. So that makes it your fault! Duh! And, though you feel totally fulfilled and satisfied by the experience, you are wrong to and it can never happen again (while you are human). WOW! I’m sure glad they toned down the thrusting to make this pic PG-13 because I can’t think of a more positive message to send young girls! HURRAY.
And coming on the heels of all of that was the seriously uncomfortable LACK of conversation about whether or not to abort the half-vamp baby. In the book all of this was talked to death! It was confusing and weird because the kid was … well, no one knew what it was, but at least in the book we heard everyone defend their side. Somehow the movie’s “don’t just call it a fetus” line and other brief attempts at discussion didn’t suffice.
The Pros: Everything Insane in One Hour
So, I was feeling quite sketchy about the movie thus far. (Though the quick succession of gratuitous ab shot and Charlie and his Rainier Beer scene [and Charlie watching a University of Washington football game!!] was an excellent way to start the movie, as it meant two drinks from my liquor-enhanced Dr Pepper.) The middle sagged with the weight of CGI wolves and their lupine thespianism. Just, what? I saw plenty of acting-in-jorts in New Moon and it’s impossible to overstate how much I would have preferred a lumber yard scene with some emoting abs over weird, Ent-like echoing voices.
He always looked so alarmed.
But then, coming to lighten the mood as reliably as a Bluth family chicken dance, came Jasper. Here’s how you infuse some humor into your movie about vampire cesarian sections and pedowolves: give JBone* any line. Any line at all. Because his simple “Not YET!” cracked up 200 people in my theater for a solid minute.
And, after all that anticipation, I was baffled to learn that Edward didn’t Google anything—he used Yahoo! Search, like approximately no one else in the 21st century. Though maybe it shouldn’t surprise me to see him using the computer like the technologically-challenged old-world geezer that he is.
So, remember how I said it felt like two movies? Let’s say the first one was something inane, sappy, and with questionable moral content. Like, a Nicholas Sparks movie. The second one was a terrifying horror film where everyone is covered in blood and it gets to the point where you have no clue who you’re actually rooting for. Like ALIEN. (Sorry in advance for that link.)
Watching Bella’ disintegrating physical form was worse than watching that chick from The Ring crawl out of the television. The makeup during that progression was so well done, it almost made up for the last three movies of dime-store wigs and un-dyed eyebrows. (Almost.) Then, the moment when Edward was all “let me pour this human blood into a styrofoam cup so you can pretend it’s just something I picked up at Sonic!” was freaking priceless.
OMG I love you. NO NOT YOU, fugly Jace. NEVER YOU.
The only thing I have to say about the imprinting is: This and this just made my life. But flashing FORWARD during the imprint sequence to a future Renesmee in an effort to somehow make the falling-in-love-with-a-baby thing less grotesque? That was a cop-out, Billy Condon, and you know it. Look at your source material. Look at your choices. Embrace. (Condon certainly didn’t shy away from that whole thing where THE BABY BROKE BELLA’S BACK. What has been seen can never be unseen.)
And I thought RPatz did a decent job at staring, unseeing, into the dark wooded abyss as it dawned on him that Jacob was going to bone his daughter. (And oh yeah, at that moment he thought his wife was dead.) That was … intense. (KINDA LIKE ALIEN. IT WAS ALL SUSPENSE AND TERROR GUYS)
And the “extra scene”? Possibly the best part of the movie. I mean, let’s be honest. What do you think I would do if I was immortal and drunk with power and couldn’t go out in the sunlight? I’ll tell you what—I would mock my minions’ spelling and grammar and cackle as they were dragged to their death, just like Michael Sheen. And that scene alone gave me hope for what is to come in Breaking Dawn II: Just Exactly What The Hell is Going to Happen.
WOW. So what about you guys?? Did you see it? Did you hate it so much you loved it, or vice versa? What are we going to do until NEXT November?!
*Nickname courtesy of Kate Hart