By: BabyRuth (Six Pack) –
Hear that shrieking at your local cineplex? Yup, it’s Twilight time again! Run for your lives!
Fans of the series based on Stephenie Meyer’s novels, “Twihards”, are certainly a funny breed. But when you really think about it, fandom is funny thing. It makes people sort of stupid. And everyone is a fan of something.
I mention this because the night before seeing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part One based on the novel Push by Sapphire, I attended a Guns N’ Roses concert. (Yes, it’s Axl and his new band, so many people have a hard time accepting them as Guns N’ Roses, but I’m not going to get into that whole thing.) The band didn’t go on until 11:30PM and then played for three hours. Many reviews of the tour have complained about the long wait time and the even longer length of the show, which many critics referred to as “bloated.” (I’m going somewhere with this, really.)
Similarly, Twilight fans have waited over a year for the current installment of the series, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Down – Part One, The Revenge, will need to wait another year for Part Two (twice the movies, twice the money!), and at just under two hours, Part One, one half of the final novel in the series stretched and filled to a feature length film, has also been called “bloated.” However, diehard fans of both the band (guilty) and the films (not so much) gladly wait (and wait, and wait) in hopeful anticipation with nary a complaint and to them, “bloated” just means more of a good thing. Superfans are also willing to overlook things that nonfans are quick to criticize.
So with that, sleep-deprived and nursing a hangover while preparing to view the film, I thought to myself, I really shouldn’t knock the Twihards because Twilight to them is like GN’R is to me, and that would make me a hypocrite right? Since I can sort of relate to them, maybe if I really try, I can understand the fascination and get some kind of enjoyment out of the movie rather than just dismissing it as brainless drivel (as I did with the first three films, which I had been obligated to watch due to being the daughter of a proud Twihard). I realized this would be the equivalent of a hipster attempting to unironically appreciate Chinese Democracy, but dammit, I would try my hardest.
I was doing okay with this for the first twenty or so minutes of the film.
It begins on the night before Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) wedding. Everyone is looking forward to the big day (including Bella, I think) and is perfectly fine with an 18-year old marrying a vampire instead of maybe exploring her options a little first. Well everyone, that is, except Jacob (Oscar hopeful Taylor Lautner), who dramatically throws down his invitation and rips his shirt off in disgust. Like I said: so far, so good.
The wedding is beautifully staged and there’s even a bit of comic relief in the toasts (Hi Anna Kendrick!).
“You do? Are you sure Bella? Cause you don’t look very happy.”
At this point, it seemed to me that director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters) and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg were doing a decent job of keeping a lighter tone on Stephenie Meyer’s ludicrous story in the same kind of way that made Eclipse work better than the first two installments.
Yeah, that all goes out the window once Edward and Bella go on their honeymoon. Shit starts getting bonkers fast and is treated as darkly and dramatically as possible. There’s still plenty of comic relief, mind you, but it’s unintentional. For instance, there’s Edward and Bella’s first sexual encounter, which I’m sure you’ve heard about by now. Bella decides to wait on being turned into a vampire because she wants to experience her first time as a human. This may be dangerous though, because Edward is a lean, mean, undead lovemaking machine and may just be too violent for a mere human to handle.
Note to Edward and Bella: This problem could have been very easily solved: safeword.
Though it’s very graphically detailed in the book, due to the PG-13 rating we don’t get to see much of the session, so following the fade-out (during which I imagined Bella getting shot up to the ceiling a la Scary Movie–but it’s, you know, sparkly…), we see the aftermath of the not-so-sweet lovin’ with post-coital Bella covered in pillow feathers and a wrecked bedroom. (Cue audience guffaws!) In addition to the feathers, Bella is also covered in bruises. (Stop audience guffaws!) Edward feels terrible and refuses to touch Bella again, instead hoping to satiate her appetite for the sex with some rousing chess games. But Bella, that freak, wants more nookie. So Edward finally gives in (Should I be saying Spoiler Alert? Okay, Spoiler Alert) Exactly two minutes later, Bella’s pregnant. But with what?
Let’s recap: Interspecies marriage, kinky violent sex, domestic abuse, and teen pregnancy. Fantastic! And we haven’t even gotten to the pedophilia and bestiality yet!
Yes, I said pedophilia and bestiality. Together! It’s in there. To his credit, Condon does the best he can in an attempt to make it not creepy and weird.
But there is no way to make it not creepy and weird.
Especially with this whole thing still fresh in our minds.
Nearly every negative review of the Twilight series has pointed a finger at the acting. Kristen Stewart usually gets the brunt of it: the dead eyes, the lip-biting, the mouth-breathing… She’s guilty of all of it again here, but for me, she wasn’t the worst part.
Jacob sad. Abduction bomb.
There’s a reason Taylor Lautner was shirtless for most of the first three films of the series. It’s very apparent in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part One, Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood because after the first scene, he is fully clothed for the duration of the movie, allowing us to focus on his uh, abilities?
You’d think with the tens of millions of dollars and past criticism of them, that the special effects would have improved by now. Not so! I’ve seen no-budget horror movies with better effects. Okay fine, the wolves look a little better and Bella’s pregnancy weight loss is pretty impressive, but Edward’s super-speed power just looks like someone hit the fast-forward button (if only the whole movie could have been like this!). Then there are Bella’s internal organ sequences, which are nothing we haven’t seen a million times before in movies and countless television medical dramas. Also something we’ve seen before? The closing shot.
I saved the best for last. There’s a wolf conference. They speak to each other. While in wolf form. It’s sorta like this:
The more you drink, the more hilarious it is. This scene will totally make it into the Academy Awards’ parody montage cold open, I guarantee it.
I tried, I swear. But it’s just too ridiculous, wrong-headed, overly dramatic, and yes, bloated (which is actually kind of impressive because there isn’t a whole lot of a plot.) Of course, none of this is going to stop it from being one of the highest grossing movies of the year, and probably all-time. Fans of the books and films are going to see it and most will probably love it. But if you’re not a fan, this film certainly isn’t going to make you one.
Bonus Drinking Game (Fun suggestion: substitute Bloody Marys )
Take a Drink: every time Bella’s mouth is open.
Take a Drink: every time anyone talks about Bella losing her virginity.
Take a Drink: every time you see blood.
Take a Drink: every time an angsty pop song plays accompanying Bella looking constipated.
Take a Drink: every time Jacob wears a shirt.
Take a Drink: every time Alice says “fetus.”
Take a Drink: whenever you wonder what the hell this is teaching young girls about love, sex, and childbearing.
Don’t Take a Drink: during the werewolf conference (I don’t want you to choke).
Chug: during the creepy CGI baby/ “imprinting” scene.