Friday, November 18, 2011

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I

As you all know, I am a Twi-nerd... a twilight fan, soon to be a Twi-mom. Today is the opening day of the fourth Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part I. As it opened today, the midnight opening was at 12:01am this morning (last night).

I love midnight openings. There is something in the air! The excitement, the joint purpose, the celebration. Its a crowd experience unlike any other. I have been told that I should take advantage of midnight openings while I can, as when the baby arrives they will become an impossibility. I am not sure if this is entirely true, but they certainly are much easier now then they will be in a month or two. So, I took yesterday and today off work and indulged my addiction. Why two days off? Because when I went to the HP8 midnight showing in July at 16th it took my ALL weekend to recover afterwards and I thought a little preparation would shorten the recovery. So, yesterday I spend the day relaxing, napping, laying down, I went swimming, walked the dogs with DH, basically trying to be as relaxed, comfortable, and well rested as possible. Then, at 8:30pm I headed over to the theater and met up with my aunt and cousin. We had tickets for "The Twilight Experience", a special double feature where they showed the third Twilight movie, Eclipse, at 9:30pm before the midnight release. It was a ton of fun! It was good seeing Eclipse on the big screen again and having all the crowd reactions, oohs, ahhs, and applause. The midnight came, and the real excitement!!


In short, I loved the movie!! I recognize a million flaws in it, a million things that people who see and think "wow, is that cheesy" or "what?!?", and I still love it. I recognize some significant and substantive changes from the book, and I still love it. Where to even begin? The movie starts out with the wedding (or pre-wedding events) of Bella and Edward. The screenplay filled this with good laughs and sentimentality, punctuated by some serious moments that indulge us with some of Edward's history and Bella's subconscious fears about the upcoming events. Everything is very well done visually. In the actual wedding/reception, they add a lot of little tidbits that were not in the book, but they all are fitting. The most important scene from the book, Jacob's visit, is very well done. I feel like in general, Taylor Lautner's acting was much improved in this compared to the previous three movies. The wedding scene between Jacob and Bella is awkward even in the book (WHY oh WHY is she talking to him about her sex life with his rival??), but the movie makes it work somewhat naturally. Wedding accomplished, we are off to the honeymoon, where Kristen Stewart and the directors do an excellent job conveying the wedding night jitters and Bella's "morning after" fantasies, which are perfectly interrupted by Edwards sullen self-deprication. There are some CGI issues with some of the water scenes, both the wedding night in the ocean, and later a waterfall scene. While they cut some to get to the pregnancy reveal, the reveal itself is spot on, with Edward freezing up, and the realization of both the positive and negatives of the situation.
The transition to Jacob's perspective is somewhat rocky, but I am not sure what they could do better. You can't exactly have a section break in the movie. Everything surrounding the pregnancy and Bella's declining health was masterful. Another moment of CGI awkwardness came w/the wolves. Here though I am not really sure what they could have done better. How do you make giant telepathic wolves communicating and fighting with each other not see cheesy? LOL. Because it was consistent with the movie, I loved it despite the difficult execution.
Here really is the major plot change. In the book, the main source of conflict through this section is (1) suspense about Bella's fate, and (2) Jacob's internal struggle about what to do - his torment over losing Bella but inability to let her die. Neither of these is sufficient to drive a movie plot as they are both extremely low key/internal, so the screenplay adds a level of drama by having the conflict between the two wolf packs drag out extensively and even come to physical blows at the birth of Renesme. I am not a huge fan of this but I understand entirely why they did it and think that they managed to pull it off decently.
Ok, think that is enough review. They are releasing Breaking Dawn Part II in November 2012. Don't know why they are waiting that long, but they say they are. We will see whether I get to go to this "last" midnight release, as I am uncertain what movie will warrant it for me once Twilight is over.

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