I - along with the rest of the world - went to see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I this past weekend. I laughed, I cried (from the laughing) and I have some thoughts. Here they are in no particular order:
Warning, full of spoilers. Though, anyone who is going to see this movie has read the book so they know what happens in the plot.
What happened to the sparkling?
Please don't get me wrong. I am VERY happy that Bill Condon played down the whole vampires who sparkle in the sun concept. I've always hated that plot device. But there was NO explanation for it. I've been to Rio. A lot. They have sun there. A lot. Even Bella had a tan. How did no one notice this guy with her sparkling??? They showed them frolicking outside quite a bit. I'm not demanding, all I needed was one throw away line about it being a cloudy week. Or him going outside only at night. Or thank God there was no one else on this island or they would have noticed him sparkling. But to have a housekeeper who suspects he's a vampire not because he is sparkling when he opens the door in full sunlight but just because she's heard legend is really annoying to me. Ditto having an outdoor wedding. I get that they were under trees but one errant beam of sunlight and 1/2 the guests will look like a bunch of strippers on a Saturday night.
Speaking of the outdoor wedding...
Ummmm, you guys live in Seattle. Where it is known to rain. A lot. Is planning an entirely outdoor wedding and reception smart? I suppose you can fanwank that Alice can see the future and knew it wouldn't rain. But it had to have been a little muddy no? I'd be pissed if I showed up to a wedding wearing a nice dress and heels and be asked to walk through the mud and sit on a mossy bench. And again, how hard would it have been to have Alice say something like "I've seen that there won't be any rain"?? Not hard at all!
Bella get your damn hair out of your face!
Seriously! They make a whole big deal about the make-up and Rosalie doing Bella's hair and how grown up she looks and she still has these messy locks of hair in her face. Not even tendrils (which I don't approve of stylistically - but at least they are a choice)! It seemed unfinished and messy. But then how else would Kristen Stewart look awkward and immature during her walk down the aisle?
Speaking of the walk down the aisle...
COME ON! This is a young woman who is supposed to be so in love with the guy that she can't stand being apart from him. Why does Kristen Stewart insist on playing Bella as a shy, nervous, awkward girl? I get it for the first movie. That was how she was. But the idea was that Bella has a) grown up and b) found such a connection with Edward that she is absolutely sure she wants to be with him for eternity. I don't agree with her decision (firmly Team Jacob over here) but she should be confidant in that decision. To have it seem like her father was dragging her down the aisle while she clutched at his arm unable to even lift her head or make eye contact with anyone while she bit her lip and whimpered made ZERO sense. Damn you K. Stew and your acting ticks!
Taylor Lautner saves this mess!
I felt this way during Eclipse too, but Taylor Lautner and the rest of the wolf pack really are the brief shining moments in the entire franchise. I love how the pack members play together almost like puppies even in their human forms. T. Laut has excellent comedic timing and wonderful "are you kidding me" facial expressions. And have you seen his abs? Within seconds of the movie starting, he has ripped off his shirt and runs towards the screen. Thank you editors.
Speaking of Team Jacob....
Did K. Stew get the memo that Bella chooses Edward? She essentially flinches any time Robert Pattinson touches her (a fact that is even more jarring since they are dating in real life) and yet when she sees Jacob at the wedding, she launches herself at him, presses her body against him and nuzzles into his neck. Don't get me wrong, if I were within 10 feet of Taylor Lautner, I'd do the same thing. But I'm not being paid to act a certain way. No wonder Jacob thinks he's in love with Bella, every time she sees him she grabs at his clothing, touches his arm and coquettishly plays with her hair. Tease!
There is suspension of disbelief and then there are completely uncharacteristic actions!
When Bella and Edward arrive at their honeymoon island, she is visibly nervous and goes to get ready for her first time having sex. What follows is what I assume is supposed to be a "funny" montage of Bella prepping. But it is so awkward and uncomfortable. She grimaces as she's brushing her teeth, she bites her lip and sighs a lot as she violently brushes her hair and then she shaves her legs. And that is where I have to audibly sigh. Because my friends, as annoying as the rest of K. Stew's ticks are during this scene I am struck by one thing and that is: There is NO WAY that Alice would have let Bella leave the house that morning without being fully waxed/plucked/Alaised from head to toe. None. Never. The vampire who insisted that Bella wear 4 inch sparkly heels and a sheer backed dress and painstakingly did Bella's make-up would have insisted that she get fully waxed or lasered pre-wedding. There is no doubt in my mind.
Speaking of the Honeymoon...
So much has been said and written about the big sex scene. I get that they wanted to keep the rating to a PG-13 so that their key demographic could actually see the movie. So that is fine. Kissy kissy, fade to black, wake up covered in feathers. Move on. To then have K. Stew stare at herself biting her lip in the mirror while she flashes back to scenes with a pained expression on her face is just awkward. Again, this is a young woman who could barely control herself around the love of her life and is so wildly attracted to him that they broke a bed. And she looks like she's uncomfortably remembering a date rape event on a Lifetime movie.
I'm a nerd for meta details!
I loved that they had Charlie looking at the graduation cap art and wondering about it. I love that Bella and Edward were playing chess with red and white pieces in homage to the book cover. My cousin Sara spotted Stephanie Meyer in the wedding crowd (and then proclaimed herself a nerd.) Never let it be said that you don't get rewarded for attention to detail. The people seeing this movie have obsessed over the books, movies, websites, blogs and message boards for years. Having little moments of shout out, make us feel special.
Let's talk about casting and costumes shall we?
Oh dear. Casting and costuming really screwed the pooch for the entire series in the first movie. I adore Peter Facinelli but he looks ridiculous as a blond. Ditto Nikki Reed. These are two very attractive actors who have naturally dark hair and olive skin. To see them so heavily caked in pasty make-up and wearing HORRIBLE blond wigs just makes them look bloated and old. And yet, Rosalie is supposed to be the hottest vampire ever. No. She looks like Christina Aguilera after a bender. The CGI people were able to digitally shrink Bella down to skeletal looking form during her pregnancy, but they can't digitally pale the vampire actors? And the clothes they put her in? Seriously, who did Nikki Reed piss off on her first day? They manage to constantly give this gorgeous actress muffin top and uni-boob. Jackson Rathbon and Elizabeth Reaser are looking a little less wooden but they are mostly set props, so I can ignore them. I've mentioned how much I dislike K. Stew and R. Pattz in their roles of Bella and Edward. They both act so awkward around each other and look pained to be in scenes together. I think the whole saga could have been vastly improved by some better casting choices in the first movie. I understand that new directors couldn't recast the actors once they signed on for each movie, but I think they could have studied the previous films and addressed certain acting ticks or costuming that simple did not work.
Speaking of casting...
Kellan Lutz as Emmit is a joy. He is so fun and natural and sarcastic and lovable. He is absolutely perfect for the role of goofy protector. I found myself smiling and giggling every time he was on screen. I believe I've spoken enough about the brilliance of Taylor Lautner as Jacob. I'm very happy he was able to bulk up to keep his role after the first movie. I adore little Seth Clearwater. I found myself watching him in group scenes and loving his reactions. Anna Kendrick was once again spot on as Jessica. Her sarcastic barbs were perfect little moments during the wedding. Can we get a spin off movie of just these characters hanging out together?
There are certain directorial decision that I just can't understand.
Why did the wolves sound like they were speaking through an auto tune? Why couldn't they just use the actors voices and the scene of the wolves communicating telepathically be like Look Who's Talking? The scene where Jacob imprints on Renesmee (don't EVEN get me started on that name! That is an issue with the book not the movie and while I HATE it, I suppose there was nothing that could be done to correct it at this point) is well done until he falls to his knee before her. Literally everyone around me in the theater laughed with the absurdity. I can kind of see the vision behind that direction. But it clearly didn't work. It looked stupid and amateurish and should have been re-shot once they viewed the dailies. Bella looking like she is having one of her night terrors when she is ostensibly having a sexual fantasy dream is once again uncomfortable. Why does K. Stew seem to link sex with pain? Why does no one around her pull her aside and explain the differences in facial expressions to her?
So in summary....
Do I feel like I wasted $10? Yes. Would I go back in time and not see it? No. Will I see the next and final installment in the theaters opening weekend? Probably. What can I say, I'm invested at this point. I am very interested to see how K. Stew will play Bella as a vampire. She better stop biting her lip and staring at the ground all the time or I'll ... well I'll.... probably write a scating blog about it. Ha! That'll show her!
Let me know what you thought of the movie or if I missed anything.