Sunday, 20 November 2011

Twilight: Breaking Dawn

No, I don't care that its full name is The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. That is not a snappy title for a blog post. Or a movie, for that matter.

So it is I'll admit, with only a twinge of shame, that I saw Breaking Dawn the other night (instead of writing my blog post on time!). Wasn't sure what I was going to write about anyway, so since I've gone and done it I might as well review a popular new release film. I actually enjoyed my experience in the cinema watching this - perhaps in part because my local Hoyts just opened up a new and especially large screen in time for it. Also, I'm grateful that my girlfriend is not a die-hard fan of the series, so if I feel the need to laugh at a scene, she'll just slap me and smirk.

For the purpose of this review, I'll assume a little familiarity with the Twilight franchise, as I'm sure most people probably have. I've only seen the first two movies myself, and never read the books. I'll start with what I liked about Breaking Dawn...

Firstly: the Dad. I liked him from the very first film - not only does he have the best one liners in all the movies (I know he'll be a good husband... Because I own a gun.), but he's the only character I find that I really sympathise with emotionally. As he walks her down the aisle in an early scene, I could feel the conflict inside of him more than whatever Bella was feeling. You can see it in his eyes; he isn't completely sure about the wedding, but he wants his daughter to be happy, and he wants to trust her judgement.


There are also two scenes in particular that stand out as awesomely intense - at least in the theatre I was in. One scene when Jacob is fleeing in anger (his main purpose in this film) and Bella... psychically calls him... or something? I don't know, but it was confusing and cool, even if I'm not sure there was a purpose to it. It's solid, well-directed filmmaking, at least for these scenes. The other is the delivery scene, which is pretty graphic and really intense for a series aimed at kids. The sound, the blurriness, the confusion, the imagery, the heavy red saturation... it's a well cut sequence which delivers the horror without the gore of a cross-bred monster tearing its mother apart from the inside. Mind you, once she's out, she's really not that much of a monster. She looks like a normal, albeit 2-month-old, newborn.

And having seen that bit where her back snaps as she goes into labor, I cringe every time I read the title... "Breaking Dawn"

Ok, what was bad? A lot. But I'll try and focus on what stood out for me the most: character relationships.

I may have missed a lot of this love triangle drama in the third film, but what is up with Bella and Jacob? Every scene that these two are in together is really uncomfortable... especially if Edward is also there. I gather they are supposed to be friends? Why do they dance so close, snuggle so much, and have whatever psychic connection nonsense? If she knows how frustrated he is that he can't have her, why does she lead him on like that? If he knows she's just going to tease him, why does he keep coming back? When Edward and Jacob interact it's fine. It's like two dudes have to get stuff done, and they might have some history, but whatever, they're dudes. Bella just brings in an uncomfortable, disconcerting group dynamic whenever she's with them.

In fact, everyone seems so desperate to stick their neck out for Bella... BUT WHY?? She's being stupid and stubborn about something that's dangerous to herself and others. It's like bad news doesn't affect her - in her mind, as long as she acts tough and sees it through it will all be fine. Her well thought-out retort to Jacobs attempts to reason with her is "Everything will be alright." Even in the face of the doctor saying "It will kill you before you can give birth", she's straight down the line. What happened to that anyway? The movie seemed to just ignore that seemingly solid piece of evidence, and proceed with a deus ex machina series of coincidences which systematically saves everyone, and resolves everything peacefully. Don't worry young girls, if you're stubborn enough, the world will be a happier place. Goodness comes from wanting things your way, and getting it.

In short; I don't hate Twilight. What I hate are the lessons that it teaches, and the fact that this franchise is so astoundingly popular. It's not even that surprising, but it is tragic.

PS. Ranting is fun! I hit 800 words... I'm not very good at this cap thing.