(I spent the night discovering pieces I wrote for other sites have disappeared from the internet. Sites die all the time, but I should have saved my drafts for many of these. In an effort to not lose any more work I’ll be unearthing some classic texts and giving them new homes here.
This review comes from 2011.)
Lets get this part out of the way first; I am a white hetero (soon to be) married male in his 30s and thus Twilight is not for me. I get that and I accept it. However, it is fast on its way to becoming the largest film franchise in the movie and Breaking Dawn Part 1 could possibly be the biggest film of the year. Thus it demands and deserves to be talked about by all. All people covering films or horror or vampires or just the greater bubble of what we call pop culture.
I have sat through all previous Twilight films, on their own and with Rifftrax accompaniment. Every movie has something happen that I will be excited for, and would enjoy as its own movie. Alas, it becomes brief background fodder or is solved too quickly and I’m back to…
…watching Bella and Edward take long pauses in the middle of sentences. For example, the story of a single father trying to balance his life as the sheriff and raising his daughter in an isolated area overrun with vampires and werewolves sounds like an amazing story! His struggles to protect the town and his child. He spends so much time saving everyone, but who will save him?! But no. Charlie gets a couple of lines in each movie and ends up looking like more the buffoon than a hero.
All of that is in the previous films though, lets talk about what’s going on right now. Bella is about to get married, and all of the background characters get their invites. Bella’s mom (remember her?!), the little seen non paranormal friends and every other little seen character from the previous films is on their way to the wedding event of the season. Jacob is mad, because that’s what Jacob does. He was mad when he saw the ring in the last movie, mad anytime Bella touches Edward, mad when the two names are mentioned in the same sentence. The problem is he keeps getting mad. And when he gets mad he takes off his shirt. Like a were-Hulk. You wouldn’t like Jacob when he’s angry. Or if you’re of a certain age and female you will like him very much when he’s angry.
“Jacob put on a shirt!” “No!”
Bella wears a stunning, yet apparently affordable, white wedding dress and heels. Because she has remained pure and virginal despite her temptations of fang and fur. Every guest at the wedding who has had a drop to drink is made to look the fool. Young girls, remember, as long as you don’t drink and don’t have sex before marriage you too can have a beautiful storybook wedding and then be whisked away to your honeymoon where your body can be destroyed.
Oh yes, we have arrived.
The day after Bella’s dawn is broken (no? that’s not where the title comes from?) she is covered in bruises. This, I have been told, is toned down from how it was described in the book. Edward grabs her to look at the bruises that he himself left. He feels bad, but its alright, because it was how he was expressing his love. Edward backs off of Bella, physically, and she begs him for more vampire loving. She even tells him that the pain wont matter, she can take it. That’s right kids! Its okay if your lover leaves you bruises if he loves you. Also, if you’re bruised again it must be because you asked for it, begged for it even.
Bella becomes pregnant, and its a mutant baby. She and Edward come home and… oh Jacob, when did this story become about you? One would think that the story of a woman who falls in love with a vampire, marries him and is now being killed by the hybrid growing inside her would be the focus of the story. Tell this tale from a female point of view, as only a woman can truly express what pregnancy is like, vampiric or otherwise. Nope, see you later Bella we don’t want to hear from women any more. For the first time in the franchise, let’s make someone else the star.
Jacob becomes the focus of the movie. He leaves his pack, has others leave with him, and refuses to lead either group. He has a show down with his alpha wolf, Sam, and for a moment I think a good idea lies ahead. There’s a movie! A young wolfman who refuses the call and then has to form his own pack. In the end he faces off against his former friend and now enemy. No? That’s not what’s going on here? Just brief doggie battles and then some bowing down followed up by slowly backing off and running into the woods? No, that’s not a dramatic or interesting story at all.
Thankfully Jacob goes to visit Bella, so we can see what’s going on with the former focus of the movie. Bella is dying from the baby. Jacob comes in and knows all. Not only does he know more about in utero care, but he knows more than the mother (because girls are dumb) and more about baby vampires than vampires! Doctor Vampires! This is everything from thinking that a baby vampire, much like a full-grown one, might want blood all the way to figuring out the shivering girl is cold. Are blankets, along with wooden stakes, anathema to vampires?
Then there’s the birth in which everything gets thrown out the window. First off, Bella picks the worst possible name for her daughter. I’d look it up but the pain of knowing I stopped what I was doing to figure out how to spell some made up name will follow me for life. Second, for being a male dog Jacob becomes quite a bitch. He stands there and watches, while the girl he thinks he loves kisses, dates, marries, has sex, is killed and eaten by another. The best way to combat such heart-break is with shirtless brooding. Also, it takes a certain lack of self-respect to stand by and watch while another man performs orally on the woman you (think you) love. That’s right. Edward has to eat, literally, Bella’s nether regions to extract the baby. Sex is death, foreplay is life.
Of course all of this sex and love is much easier when you commit yourself to someone. “Imprint” yourself onto them if you will. Jacob has spent years lusting after Bella, only to discover it wasn’t Bella he wanted at all. It was her not yet existent baby he has been yearning for all this time. Turn to your pregnant friend and tell her, I have no desire in you but in 18 years I am going to have my way with your baby. And they say romance is dead.
Bella dies and is only revived from Edward’s generous love bites across her body. Her insides are coated in silver faster than taking a pill in the Matrix. All of this was too much for the movie theater I had the joy of sitting in. Some woman in her mid 20s was far too confused by Bella’s transformation of turning into a vampire, and reawakening with red eyes. “I don’t get it, so is she dead or what?!” Yes, many times coroners can only tell someone is dead by measuring the redness of their open and functioning eyes!
I’m sorry but I don’t see how anyone can see this story as anything good. At least the movie looks very pretty. Give all credit to backgrounds and settings, its gorgeous. But every other bit of the movie should be considered insulting to smart women and dangerous to ones too young to yet know better.