Saturday, December 3, 2011

Breaking Dawn, Part 1 in Theaters

I went out to a movie by myself a few nights ago. After a month of never being alone, it was nice, and I enjoyed myself. The movie was Breaking Dawn. Now, I may already have lost some of you a sentence ago, but hear me out.

I have been a fan of the books all along, and I've enjoyed the movies, however different from the books they have been. Twilight has been my favorite book of the series, with Breaking Dawn right behind it. Though others were put off by Bella's moodiness, I didn't mind it. In fact, I sort of empathized. Maybe I would have a different view now, re-reading the books, I don't know. But one thing has changed. I noticed Bella's sadness and depression in this movie like I hadn't in the ones before, perhaps because I've been surrounded by people pointing it out to me, and finally, I grew tired of it. I guess I must admit, I've been drinking the Kool-Aid, and my taste buds are looking for something new.

I still enjoyed myself, and I am still very much looking forward to Breaking Dawn, Part 2, which will correspond to my favorite part of the book anyway. I expect Bella, also, to be a changed person, but maybe that's just my hopes and not reality. The second half of the story is much more about vampires, and (SPOILERS for those of you who haven't read the books or seen this most recent movie), Bella makes a cool vampire. I think audiences will appreciate the high-stakes danger of the last part of the story, which while still about love, goes deeper than human infatuation with perfection.

I guess Bella's depression has never bothered me as much as certain aspects of her relationship with Edward. I never completely jumped ship to the Jacob fan club, believing that for Bella (as opposed to any other teenage girl), Edward was really the best choice. But I did have a problem with some of Edward's possessiveness and the way, in Bella's eyes, he could do no wrong. Undeniably, if this were a romance between two humans, we would call it a dangerous and potentially abusive relationship. And I acknowledge, Bella has never been a great role model for girls. No problem for me since I'm not looking to Bella for advice on life, but I suppose many teenage girls might be, and that is definitely a problem.

In Breaking Dawn, specifically, my attention was called to the fact that Bella is not excited to be getting married. That always bothered me. I don't have a problem with her marrying young, like some do, but she should be happy with her choice, not letting it be made for her. I did appreciate Bella's protectiveness of her unborn child. She begins to take responsibility and made her own decisions, and I don't think she should be put down for that.

I'm not thrilled about the sex scenes in the movie, PG-13 as they may be, but if they have to be there, I'm glad they take place after marriage. Small concessions. And, finally, a word about the gruesomeness of the last scenes of this first half of Breaking Dawn. The book was bad, and I was afraid of what the movie might recreate. Honestly, it wasn't as bad as the book, but for the visual media, it was bad enough. Bella grows skeletal, and the birth scene is gory. Not as much blood as you might expect, but the ideas portrayed on and off the screen tell a tale of absolute horror. Edward rips the baby out with his teeth, for instance (off the screen, but still...). I don't have a problem suspending disbelief that such a birth situation is even possible. A big deal was made about that in a magazine issue of Entertainment Weekly. So what? It's fiction. It's vampires. In that fantasy world, it makes enough sense to get away with it. But I mention the gruesomeness because it's on an R-rated level in a PG-13 movie (which probably shouldn't have been for the sex alone). I'm not sure younger teens should be going to see this, and I'm betting a lot younger than that are.

So, as a Twilight fan but not a fanatic, my overall impression of this movie was that it was slow, sometimes inappropriate, yet vaguely enjoyable on a first watch. I'd even give it three stars, but that rating is for Twilight fans. If you aren't one, don't go see this.

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