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 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 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 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.
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.
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