I bought Breaking Dawn the day it came out, and I stayed up all night reading it. Aghast and horrified about two-thirds through the book, my first thought was HOW IN THE HELL are they going to make this into a movie? And keep it PG-13???
Well, I just got to see the movie tonight, and I am happy to say that it was VERY well done. In fact, I daresay, it's the best movie of the entire franchise. Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order, having seen it for the first time.
- The opening scene of the movie is Jacob running out into the rain and ripping his shirt off. I guess if you're into that sort of thing, then you'll enjoy that.
- The general tone of the movie is quite tongue-in-cheek, and that's good. I don't know how anyone COULD make a movie out of this book that takes itself seriously and still have it be good.
- Say what you want about Kristen Stewart's acting, but one thing I have always appreciated about her portrayal of Bella is that she makes Bella FAR FAR FAR less whiny and annoying and "Oh Edward! Sigh!" than she is in the book. I found Bella to be the least sympathetic in the first half of BD, so I appreciated that in the movie, she's actually tolerable.
- Jasper's hair has gotten marginally better. However, his constant look of constipation has not.
- My my, Edward and Carlisle have filled out a little! Personally, I find it more attractive, and I know it can't be avoided in reality, but it's a little distracting thinking about how the vampires have gained weight.
- In the book, the night before her wedding, Bella has a nightmare about a child with red eyes. In the movie, she has a nightmare where she and Edward are standing at the altar with the Volturi presiding. There is blood everywhere, and she realizes that they are standing atop a ginormous wedding-cake-shaped pile of the bodies of all her human guests, including her parents. OMFG SO AWESOME.
- THE WEDDING DRESS. Please note that whatever dress you see bits of in the commercials and trailer, it is totally a DECOY dress, which I think is fabulously clever. The real dress itself is quite beautiful, and the slow reveal of what it looks like was quite well done. (I wonder if this will be the popular style at prom this year.) It's elegant, even a little sexy, and though I know nothing of the fashion from 19-oh-something Chicago, I think it looks appropriately "old-fashioned."
- The wedding! It was quite lovely. If I were to want to have a wedding, and I had my own fashionista rich vampire sister-in-law-to-be, I'd want it to look kinda like that. The Iron & Wine song from the first movie (from the dancing-in-the-gazebo scene at the prom) was playing in the background as Edward and Bella said their vows, and I really liked that. Another awesome not-in-the-book moment: the wedding toasts!!!!! They were just priceless. I really loved that sequence.
- The scenes between Bella and her parents, especially Charlie, kinda made me tear up a little. Not gonna lie. Also, Charlie has the best lines.
- Isle Esme is beautiful. I wish someone would give ME a beautiful island retreat.
- The sex. You can't talk about Breaking Dawn without talking about the sex because it's the moment that all Twilight fans (and even non fans) have been waiting for the entire franchise. Given that they were working under a ratings constraint, I think the love scenes were tasteful and appropriate without being sugar-coated. It wasn't treated as taboo, it wasn't dumbed down, it wasn't glossed-over - it felt authentic. So I appreciated that.
- More funny moments: Bella's getting-ready montage and Bella trying to get Edward's attention by wearing skimpy lingerie. Hilarity!
- Speaking of not sugar-coating and shying away from things, let's talk about the gruesome parts, because that's the other aspect of this book that gave me pause. Bella gets very, very sick from her pregnancy, and the movie doesn't hold back on that either. She is emaciated and broken, and at one point, as she removes her robe for a bath, we see just how bad it's gotten. And it's BAD. I give major kudos to the special effects/makeup people, because she really DID look like she was dying. After the baby is removed from her (you don't see Edward biting her, but um, you see him pull the baby out, all bloody, cord still attached), she pretty much looks dead. And it's kind of hard to watch this part because she is pretty much shot in closeup, and it's uncomfortable. And you can see her terrifyingly thin shoulders and her shrunk-down-to-nothing legs, and she looks like a zombie. Or a shriveled alien, since she's so pale and gray. And then there's a terrifying montage after we see the venom initially making its way to her heart (I swear, it was kind of like something out of a horror movie). Like I said, this movie did NOT hold back on showing the bad parts.
- Edward, it's all well and good to put her blood in a styrofoam to-go cup, but a CLEAR straw? REALLY?
- And speaking of gruesome, we're very close-in on Bella's face as she's drinking the blood, and they made sure to include fleeting glimpses of her BLOOD-STAINED TEETH. WTF.
- *Added later to my post* Um, there was a certain moment of the birth scene that was QUITE reminiscent of Pulp Fiction. You'll know what I mean. Only it doesn't have quite the same result.
- The wolf pack's mental voices were basically the actors' voices put through a processor. Which made the initial confrontation scene kind of cornball, but I have to admit, the moment when Sam is trying to make Jacob stand down and Jacob decides to rebel was kind of awesome.
- Seth is such a cutie pie!
- LOL- the fleeting reference to Quil imprinting on a two-year-old. I don't think that this particularly gets mentioned in New Moon or Eclipse, but I'm glad it got brought up here, because it's too ridiculous not to include.
- Dear Melissa Rosenberg, THANK YOU for leaving out Edward's line to Jacob where he tells Jacob that it's total fine with him if Bella wants to have his puppies (or something like that). That part of the story was even more effed up than the C-section from hell, to be quite honest. ("Please convince my wife to abort our hybrid fetus! I'll let you impregnate her as much as you want!")
- Also, kudos about Edward's speech to Bella about not being given a choice. I kind of remember Book Edward as being quite a non-entity through this entire process. He turns into this wimpy mess of self-loathing, and I was constantly like, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO MAN UP. And I'm glad he does.
- I'm a leeeetle disappointed that I didn't get to see Jacob chuck a metal bowl at Rosalie's head. In fact, those hilarious exchanges between the two of them (and all the blonde jokes) were what made this part of the book tolerable. But it's okay, just a minor complaint.
- The scene where Bella talks about her baby's possible names = hilarious, because we all absolutely agree that her name choices are stupid.
- The big imprinting scene - it was kind of corny, especially with the CGI eyes on the baby and the CGI future-Renesmee.
- Lastly, the closing scene of Bella's body slowly being healed, set to the sounds of her heartbeat, and the moment when she opens her eyes... awesome.
Most of the good stuff happens in this part of the book - I'm not sure how Breaking Dawn part 2 will be remotely as interesting, aside from getting to see the new Bella and Renesmee. The climactic standoff was kind of disappointing. But hey, maybe they can make the second one as good as this one.
All in all, I think they hit it out of the park with this one. I might even like it better than the book itself, except that the book has all these funny chapter titles during the Jacob section.