Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part 1

I’ve had very mixed feelings going into watching this movie. The book is something of a train wreck – featuring an awkward wedding, a stunted honeymoon, a creepy demon baby and the most horrific birth scene I’ve ever witnessed depicted (this is coming from a woman who has witnessed four live births, mind you). 

And that’s just in the first half.

SIDE NOTE: I love you Mom and enjoy experiencing the Twilight fandom with you. But this is gonna get brutal, so avert your eyes. 🙂

THE GOOD:

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 Movie PosterThe wedding scenes with Bella and her parents – especially the Charlie Swan from the movies whom I’ve come to love more than the Charlie Swan of the books (the book Charlie is a huge shipper/manipulator of the relationship between Bella and Jacob). Bella’s Mom has always been a bit of a tool, but she was motherly and weepy. Movie Charlie, for me, is really the soul of the series. He’s completely innocent of anything that’s happening and just loves the shit out of his daughter, but doesn’t continually place her in harm’s way. Me Gusta.

The emotional climax for Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner was spot-on. Really. I was impressed with how both of them dealt with their big “Bella died giving birth scene.” Pattinson especially displayed some real emotion. It’s fun to watch him progress through the series from a comically bad actor to someone who is able to provide much more range and inspire some real sympathy. Which is difficult when you’re playing sparkly abusive boyfriend/husband vamp man.

The wolf pack inter-relations were much more compelling to me than the martyr Bella dying for her demon baby plot-line. It’s so refreshing to see native people (or really, any person of color), depicted on-screen in a major big budget Hollywood flick. I’m so pleased that the Twilight franchise is making these kinds of gains. Seth Clearwater was adorbs and I just wanted to pinch his cheeks whenever he was on-screen. Leah Clearwater was another tool and it was difficult watching Jacob treat her like such an ass.

THE BAD:

The depiction of Native peoples in general was a little wonky. I’ve felt like most of the other movies didn’t go out of their way to stereotype First Nation people, but the “sparkling firewater” comment during the wedding threw me a bit for a loop. And then I swear I heard weird Taiko drumming during all the scenes with the werewolves. I mean, really?

I will briefly comment that the wedding and honeymoon were boring. I get that they needed to stretch out the material (90 minutes would have been fine, production team) but the long, lingering shots of the dress and the ring and her hair were just…blargh. I was over it by about 30 minutes in. And the sex scenes? Too brief. Plus the post-coital bruises. What. The. Fuck. That is not sexy. Maybe one or two choice bruises. But it’s so…rapey.

The whole messy business of imprinting. Yegh. Are you serious ya’ll? Why does poor Jacob have to get stuck loving a creepy vampire baby? Why not Leah Clearwater who shares his wolf thoughts and is real flesh and blood? I can see him feeling super protective of the baby because it’s part Bella…but everything else after that. Yikes. Especially with the recent media attention on child abuse (ala Penn State). Loving babies is cool. But Luuuuving babies, is not. There’s no talking your way around that.

THE UGLY:

The entire pregnancy was disturbing to watch. As was the not-so-subtle pro-life message depicted on-screen: “I will have this baby even if it kills me.” And the birth scene. My goodness. I’ve watched a lot of horror movies and witnessed the birth of four nephews but nothing has quite traumatized me like the scene from last night. Bella’s sunken, gaunt wasted body covered in her own blood.

Hey guys, remember that time when the most romantic love story of all time turned into a highly disturbing horror show? Remember Bella in that beautiful white dress and honeymoon on a deserted island? It ends in blood and tears!!

There was no time for morphine!? You mean her last moments were feeling the full effects of her spine breaking, a baby eating its way out of her womb and being feraled by the man she loves? There is something highly disturbing about all those things. Shit, just one of those things.

Look people, if a demon baby is ever munching through my broken body…there is always time for morphine.

What intrigues me about this particular spin on pro-life, is the emphasis by the director and screen-writer on CHOICE. Bella insists that having this baby is her choice. She gets to choose because she can. Right? The Catch-22 of every discussion about abortion ever. I am definitely pro-Bella’s having a choice ya’ll. So there.

CONCLUSION:

If watching live births is the best birth control I’ve encountered – re-witnessing that frightening, epic demon baby hatch was like, enough to keep me on the pill until I’m 80. I guess I can be glad of one thing. Most pregnant ladies don’t have to drink blood (a few just eat dirt and chalk). I’m really impressed that many other people in the theatre laughed during the “Mmmm, delicious blood shake” scene. And the whole Renesmee/EJ debacle. Bella is the worst baby name selector in the history of baby names.

Bechdel Test”Breaking Dawn: Part One” features more than two female characters with names and therefore DOES PASS the women test, DOES PASS the men test and does feature more than two minority characters who have names, and speak to one another about something other than white people so it DOES PASS the race test.

LINK LOVE:

This article is feeling the Anti-Abortion vibe too

Women in Hollywood weighs in on Breaking Dawn: Part One

READ OTHER TWILIGHT RELATED POSTS HERE:

Eclipse Review

Treatise on Twilight Fans

Twilight Bites and Sucks

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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

6 responses to “Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part 1”

  1. Jillian Clinton says :

    Nicely done Mindy. Can you believe Kurt is letting me leave early to go catch a screening with Sherrie and Nieka? Cool boss. Anyway, I read the books and like you, was very turned off by the weird religious-y, conservative, anti feminist subtext of the story. Good thing we smart woman have you out there to scrutinize the pabulum that Hollywood is so found of feeding us. Not that I’m not at least somewhat excited for the sheer fun and idiocy of a watching a teen vampire flick, because I am!

  2. Karen Crouchley says :

    My dear daughter Mindy I applaud your honesty no matter what it is about. I agree that the scene with Edward was just wrong in so many ways. Having said that I will probably drag your dad there to see it with me after the baby shower on Sunday. You are eloquent as always in expressing the content of what you see. I love ya and your thoughts. XOXO

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  4. Janet Yearling says :

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  5. Hemi Halliwell says :

    So this is about 2 months late but I just found this blog.

    I have read the Twilight series and watched the movies. Book/movie 1 was ok.
    Book 2 was good, Movie 2 was better.
    Book 3 was iffey/Movie 3 was awful. I keep hoping Jacob would push Bella off the mountian.
    Book 4 was awful/Movie 4, part 1 was horrible.

    I like the idea of Twilight (eternal love) more than the actual books/movies. My husband hates it all and leaves the room if I mention it, haha. My friend describes it as a car wreck or natural disaster: You know it’s wrong but you just can’t look away.

    I will watch BD Pt. 2 and hope for better things. **Spolier alert** Stephenie Meyer should have let a few characters die in the big final battle. At least a few of the minor characters. And that whole imprinting with the mutant baby- ugh! Couldn’t she at least give Jacob a teenaged girlfriend? I think he & Leah would have been perfect!!

    Love your blog.

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