Sunday, November 20, 2011

Breaking Dawn, Part 1 Review

Date night was last night (yay!) and we went to see Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (yay again!).  It's my favorite of the Twilight books, so I was hesitantly looking forward to it.  I really didn't want to get my hopes up too high for the movie, especially considering how much I love the book.

We left the theater and I really didn't know what to say about the movie.  Usually I have an immediate reaction, like after Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland - LOVED it!!  But I was really tongue-tied and unsure how I felt about this one. The best I've come up with so is it is an R-rated book that they forced into a PG13 movie.  So I thought I'd write a run-down of each piece of the movie, since I still have had a hard time putting an overall reaction into words. 

The movie begins with various reactions to the wedding invitation.  Jacob runs out in the rain and takes off in wolf-form, Charlie isn't happy (duh), and for some reason Renee seems surprised and needs to make travel plans (shouldn't she have already known about it and not needed the invitation to make plans?).  The wedding itself was very nice, I'm not too sure about the dress, though.  It was beautiful, but not what I pictured.  Probably could have done without Jessica's comment about Bella being pregnant, but I understand why that was thrown in since Bella herself was concerned about people thinking that exact thing.  The wedding toasts were awful, uncomfortable and totally unnecessary.  What was meant to be funny was just terrible.  Then there was the introduction to the Denali vampires.  Oh where do I start on this one?  Carmen and Eleazar are perfectly cast and gorgeous, as they should be.  Tanya, Kate and Irina were scary looking when they are supposed to be beyond beautiful (kinda like Rosalie, but we'll get to that later).  Their eyes were just weird, not the lovely gold of the Cullens, but yellow and wide and just awfully weird.  Even E commented on them!  Oh and to those of you familiar with the book, yes, I said Irina.  She was there and flipped out, making a huge scene that there were werewolves invited to the wedding.  Again, I understand why this was there, to give some back story to the [many] people who obviously are seeing the movies without reading the books [read: our entire movie theater], but coupled with their very strange looks and eyes, it was a very weird scene.  The scene with Jacob and Bella on the outskirts of the reception was fairly true to the story and done well.  Well, except for Edward bringing her out to meet him and saying it was a surprise for her... that wording was weird. 

Ohhhhhhh, the long-awaited "wedding night." Unfortunately the best part of this was seen in the trailers and the trailer made it look amazing.  In the full movie version, the breaking of the headboard and bedframe was silly and made the whole theater laugh, when it should have been super sexy.  The rest of the honeymoon scenes were fine, and went along with the book nicely.  I don't remember as much chess playing in the book, but it got the point across.

Here's where it gets tricky... I think the biggest problem was where it switches over in the book to Jacob's point of view, you get so much information on almost every character and this part of the movie felt extremely superficial.  You don't get any inclination of how much Rosalie wants the baby, or even why Bella would turn to her as an ally.  You get a teeny little feel for the animosity between Rosalie and Jacob, but nowhere near how much there should be.  The same with the pull between Bella and Jacob at this point.  My biggest issue was how they handled the relationship between Bella and Edward at this point.  Edward actually blows up at her, angry that she has forced him into watching her die and making the decision to have the baby without him.  Huh??!!??  Where's the "burning man" that Jacob saw time and time again?  Where is the internal blame in Edward?  Edward never would have yelled at Bella.

There was so much wrong with the wolves and the whole protection detail of Jacob's pack, again there are so many layers to it all in the book that the movie just didn't even touch.  I don't know if it was something that couldn't have been done, like it would have made the movie five hours long,  or what.  E and I agreed that the portrayal of the wolves' internal discussion wasn't done very well.  It was just another weird thing that didn't work.  This was a hard part for me to pull away from, knowing so much from the book, so I really needed E's opinion on it since he hasn't read the books.  He agreed that it was a bit confusing what was happening with Jacob breaking off on his own and all that.  And most of the scenes that should have been Jacob's pack as wolves were done with them in human form and talking to each other.  The whole vampires leaving to go hunt / wolves protecting thing wasn't done right either, but that's pretty minor in the whole scheme of things.

This should have been soooooooo much more than it was.  But I guess that's what happens when you take (yet another) R-rated situation and try to keep it PG13.

They did do an amazing job with CGI transforming Bella's skeleton-like look to vampire-perfection.  And the movie ends with her opening her orange-red eyes.  I was happy with that.  E and I had a little debate over how they made Bella look so skeleton-like to begin with.  I was glad to read this article. There was no way they could have had Kristen Stewart really lose that much weight, so however they did it was really well done.

Misc Items
Kristen Stewart was much better as an actress in this one, which gives me hope that she'll actually be able to portray the change in Bella as a vampire.  I've been concerned that she could only play the awkward Bella and that graceful Bella would just be even more awkward in her hands.  (It also gives me hope for Snow White and the Huntsman.)

Is it me or has not one of the sequel directors heard that vampires don't change?  And yet in each movie the hair of every vampire is different.  I don't mean styling either, they all had shorter hair in this movie than in any other, and Alice and Jasper (our favorites) were the worst.

I'm also confused about Rosalie.  Isn't she supposed to be the most beautiful thing Bella has ever seen?  I don't see it in the movies.  And in Breaking Dawn she looks downright manly in a couple scenes!  (Another detail E brought up to me, so I knew it wasn't just me seeing it.) It's awful since Nikki Reed is so pretty too.

I just think that there is so much detail that was left out, and I don't know how to feel about it.  Do I just chalk it up to the usual movie-to-book translation?  Or am I right to have wanted a bit more depth in the characters?

Finally, I think the thing that drove me the craziest was the fact that it was blatantly obvious that the entire audience we sat with hadn't read the books at all.  And the group of girls who sat next to us (that I came dangerously close to beating the heck out of the group of them) made me nuts.  So, with that, I will continue to be thankful for our home theater and being able to watch movies in the comfort and quiet of our home, and deal with awful teenagers only when I absolutely have to.  And I'll continue to love the Twilight books and be somewhat disappointed in the movies.  Now to find something else to obsess over until BD Pt2 comes out, Vampire Diaries/Secret Circle return in January, and some other movie comes out to tide me over.

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