I finally saw Breaking Dawn. Obviously, I’ve seen it very late in the game–it came out months ago.
The fact that I’m a vampire author needs to be put aside here. The Twilight series, as much as it shares the vampire romance genre my book Forever Fifteen occupies, is as different from my book as night and day. Though they share certain ideas, my book has almost nothing in common with Twilight save the first books being set in high school, so let’s move on.
Breaking Dawn is, hands down, one of the worst films I have ever seen. I have not and will not read the rest of the Twilight books, even though I own them. I enjoyed the first book, but I found the reading of the second to be incredibly tedious and not worth my time. I needn’t explain my philosophy that my life is too short for bad books.
Breaking Dawn begins by falling flat. In an obvious concession to the primarily female audience, the first minute of the film features Jacob tearing off his own shirt, as if the director was trying to throw us a bone because he knew how terrible the rest of the film would be. Vampire Edward and human Bella are getting married, a plot point that cannot stand on its own if you haven’t seen the other movies. A painful, drawn out ceremony has a constipated-looking bride looking nearly as pale and fragile as her milquetoast vampire fiancee. Like many women of an older generation, I do not find Robert Pattinson attractive. He has always appeared to me to have been hit in the face with a shovel. The wedding is as dull as dishwater with Bella wearing a schizophrenic dress that is 19th century butt-cleavage couture from the back and Forever 21 super-sale rack from the front. The whiny teenagers marry, with Jacob the Werewolf inserting some contrarian whining at the reception.
Off to the tragic honeymoon in Brazil. The weird, no-questions-asked nature of Bella’s parental relationship is spotlighted when Bella refuses to tell her own father where she’ll be honeymooning with her new husband. Daddy doesn’t know his little girl married a vampire to begin with, so it’s just another glaring hole in the plot to diminish our suspension of disbelief in the whole Twilight construct. Once in Rio, there is an odd, 80’s music video scene of Brazilians dancing and making out in the street.
Finally, the scene that supposedly we’ve all been waiting for arrives. Bella’s precious virginity, the object of grandiose, cultish suffering on the part of Edward and the entire Twilight audience, is finally about to make its final exit. Bella freaks out, appears to be constipated, and brushes her teeth messily before meeting Edward in the ocean for a watery rendezvous.
After they do the deed, the hotel room is trashed and Bella’s got two bruises that could be hickeys. Edward vows not to touch Bella again, even though they’re married. Edward is unable to resist his wife and they do it again.
All seems normal until Bella realizes her period is late. This is where we first encounter, face-on, the inherent colonial racism of Twilight. Edward begs an Indian woman (assigned to clean the trashed honeymoon suite) to tell him what to expect when you’re an expecting vampire dad. She knows because she’s Indian, right? And Indians are ancient, right? Honestly, I’m old enough to remember horrible commercials where laundry detergent was praised as an “Ancient Chinese Secret” by the Asian equivalent of Uncle Tom. Those commercials have nothing on Twilight’s depictions of native peoples. Also, another gaping plot hole presents itself. Vampires who have existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years, have no answers as Bella calls the Cullen coven? Never in the long existence of vamps has a vampire accidentally impregnated a human? I find that hard to believe.
Anyway, Bella is with child and the predicament is HORRIFYING. She goes home and pretends she’s in a spa in Switzerland to her credulous father and mother. Meanwhile, she’s two weeks going on ten months pregnant. The baby is eating her from the inside out. Kristen Stewart, who already looks anorexic in her normal state, is CGI’d to look like an Auchwitz resident circa 1943.
There is no semblance of a plot in Breaking Dawn until the movie is past the hour mark, when Bella is actually pregnant. I felt this was not a forgivable movie sin. Jacob spends most of his time acting like a beta male to Edward’s non-alpha, running around with the motley collection of “Indian” werewolves. Obviously in the minds of the Twilight casting department, Native peoples include anyone with dark skin and dark eyes, be they half-Asian, Hispanic, Brazilian, Israeli, etc.
MORE SPOILERS. The movie becomes grotesque and cringeworthy, though slightly more exciting as it nears its finish. The starvation CGI was good, but I’m not sure the same team worked on the werewolves.
As in past Twilight movies, the werewolves were very video-gameish. Their movements were herky-jerky and overall too exaggerated and fast, about on the same par as the thrown together CGI of the Nature Channel.
As a lame consolation prize for losing Bella, Jacob is bonded to his ex-girlfriend’s infant in a creepy montage tailor made for a breed of lonely bachelor who spends all his time surfing certain password protected virus-infested pay-per-view channels of the internet.
Speaking of profoundly disturbing aspects of BD, the soundtrack is klunky and jarring, featuring the whiniest indie bands of the Repetitive Jackhammer School of Musical Styling.
The first and second Twilight movies had quite a few redeeming qualities, in my opinion. Watching the last two films brings to mind a fruit that is rotten and maggoty in the center–there is little of value here and I wish the story could have been resolved in a better way, with better writing, a better director, and a better special effects team.