Nov 19, 2012
10 Thoughts on Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2
1. I’ve only read the first 80% of Twilight in book form, but I’ve seen four out of the five movies. I skipped the third one because I thought the second one was kind of awful, but for some reason I went back when Breaking Dawn Part 1 came to theaters. I thought Part 1 was so entertaining that I was actually quite eager to see Part 2. By entertaining I mean: fun, funny, dramatic, and campy in the best B movie way. Part 2 totally fulfilled my expectations! I totally enjoyed it.
2. I saw it on Friday night of opening weekend, in a theater full of screaming — and I mean SCREAMING — teen girls. I think this is absolutely the perfect way to see these movies! The girls’ excitement was both hilarious and heartwarming. I just loved that they loved this movie experience so much. And no, I’m not being ironic. I felt the love!
3. I think it’s awesome that the girls in that audience felt so free to express their enthusiasm for a series of books so openly. Especially after reading this bizarre op-ed in the New York Times that simultaneously critiques and romanticizes hipster irony. Check out this excerpt:
“Where can we find other examples of nonironic living? What does it look like? Nonironic models include very young children, elderly people, deeply religious people, people with severe mental or physical disabilities, people who have suffered, and those from economically or politically challenged places where seriousness is the governing state of mind.”
Another place you can find nonionic living? Among fans! Fans love what they love with a fervor that can sometimes be terrifying, but is also genuine. I love fan culture! That’s what was on display in all its real world glory on Friday night at the movie theater.
4. There are a zillion ways to interpret and analyze Twilight, and I think that’s because Twilight is very much a fairy tale. Like other fairy tales, the story is archetypal enough to lend itself to countless interpretations. I realized this when I saw the closing credits, which show nostalgic, black-and-white photos of the actors who played each role. The closing credits were like a yearbook memorializing everyone in the film series. When it arrived at Kristen Stewart, she was shown as Bella on her wedding day.
In contemporary American culture (and in plenty of others too), a woman’s wedding day is often believed to be the happiest day of her life (topped only by the birth of her children). Using that image in the closing credits instead of one of the many other images of Bella available showed the primacy of matrimony in this tale, just as in many other fairy tales. In a way, Twilight is a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” but this time Beauty becomes another beast on the way to her happy ending.
5. I know that plenty of people hate Twilight and will probably think I am insane because I don’t hate it. But I pretty much agree with
Shannon Hale Mette Ivie Harrison, who was quoted on Shannon’s blog (sorry Mette!) on this:
“Look, I have plenty of problems with Twilight. And I don’t mind a fair discussion of those problems, in a situation in which the people speaking have all read the book and perhaps some other YA novels and some romance fiction to compare it to. People who are not reading simply to make fun, but out of love for these kinds of fiction. People who are willing to see things from differing points of view. But the disdain which is heaped on Twilight has become a kind of self-congratulatory, aren’t we all so smart that we don’t read stupid books like this, high school is so juvenile kind of anger against a woman who is successful that it becomes distasteful and rather nakedly pleading.”
6. Just as it’s become a popular thing to hate on Twilight, it’s become a popular thing to hate on Kristen Stewart, which became glaringly apparent in the totally sexist response to those tabloid photos of her over the summer. In case you didn’t read this back then, you should check out Jodie Foster’s response to that fiasco.
Anyway, a lot of the reviews I’ve read of the Twilight movies criticize Stewart for her wooden, unexpressive acting. I must not be watching the same movies, because for some reason I’ve never felt her acting was wooden or unexpressive. Maybe it’s because the first movie I saw Stewart in was Panic Room with Jodie Foster, which I really enjoyed. Or maybe it’s because I also saw Stewart in The Runaways, where she played Joan Jett, and all that “wooden” and “unexpressive” stuff largely translated to being cool. So, long story short, I thought KStew was perfectly fine as Bella.
7. But because I saw The Runaways, I couldn’t help but think of that movie when Bella confronts the evil vampire Jane, played by Dakota Fanning, across a snowy field. They didn’t actually touch or anything in Breaking Dawn 2, but they had some seriously intense eye contact! I bet that was improved by their work together on The Runaways, where they did actually touch.
What, you want a video clip? OK, here you go:
8. Where was I? Oh yeah, Breaking Dawn Part 2. So, you might be surprised to hear that my favorite scene actually had nothing to do with the ladies. It was the scene in which Jacob Black disrobes in front of Bella’s dad (he has a reason). I didn’t love it because of Taylor Lautner’s fine abs (though really: congrats on those, Taylor — great work!), but because of the girls who erupted into massive shrieking during that scene. I have no idea what Jacob was saying to Bella’s dad at all; I couldn’t hear it through the screams. It was like a junior version of Magic Mike! I love it when girls say what they like. (Er, so maybe that scene was about the ladies after all.)
9. The most touching scene of the movie for me was the closing credits, which showed actual pages from the book during its yearbook montage. OMG, the printed page! On the big screen! Bookworm swoon.
10. Most fun of all? The giant climactic battle scene, in which “Heads pop like Champagne corks,” as the New York Times describes. This is when Bella finally gets to use her secret power, which is apparently acting as a giant maternal shield, and involves squinting her face a lot to project a wavery, blurry forcefield. OK, I thought the special effects were a little corny here, but the scene itself? Awesome.
P.S. Re: Renesmee and the whole imprinting thing … so it was kinda funny when Jacob tried to explain it to Bella, and she basically kicked his ass out of the Cullen house. However, it’s still freaking creepy. And so was the baby! Practically the whole movie theater went “awww” when the baby first appeared, but I cringed. Hello, demonbaby!
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