Name of the Book:
By: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Number of Pages: 754
Reason for Reading: a movie adaptation usually calls for a re-read
Part 2 of Breaking Dawn is one long vampire UN as vampire allies from all over the world congregate in Forks to bear witness that Renesmee, the half-human, half-vampire spawn of Bella and Edward, is not a child vampire, a species forbidden in the vampire world because of their inability to progress physically or emotionally past the age they were when turned. I enjoyed the introduction to other vampire clans and nomads and the potential vampiric force that could have been brought to bear against the campily evil Volturi would have been fantastic. But Meyer chose to end her saga with a whimper rather than a bang, as (SPOILER ALERT, but honestly haven’t you already read – or heard about – this by now??) the epic battle becomes a chess game, with Bella – and how could it be otherwise – as the Queen, the biggest, baddest, and still the most clueless player on the board.
There’s just so much creepiness to Breaking Dawn, and I’m not talking solely about the Romanian contingent. From imprinting to the golden, sparkly vampire sex (but okay, mostly the imprinting) Breaking Dawn is just..gross and weird. Meyer tried, but it just doesn’t work. I will never ever be okay with Jacob imprinting on Renesmee just as I will never ever be okay with the name, Renesmee. Ya’ll, it’s stupid.
Breaking Dawn had moments. I will admit to feeling a sense of joy as Bella discovered her new-found vampire grace. I loved Kate’s unrelenting assault on Bella while training her to stretch her psychic shields. And Garrett. I loved Garrett. But, in general, Breaking Dawn annoyed me much more than it thrilled me.
Out of the entire saga, which honestly felt like a train wreck I couldn’t tear my eyes away from, Breaking Dawn was my favorite. I thought it was the most interesting of them all. Some crazy weird shite happens, that’s for sure, what with the grotesque weeks long pregnancy to Jacob imprinting to the name Renesmee (terrible name with an even worse nickname). However, Bella as a character finally gets interesting! I’ve felt ambivalent about her at best, but as a vampire she won me over. Bella finally grows a spine and some spark.
The Cullens have to prepare for serious battle potential. It was gratifying to see the vampires and wolf packs work together. The onslaught of vampires from various parts of the world were fascinating. The Romanian vampires were full on creepy but I thoroughly enjoyed their vendetta against the Volturi. Those dudes hold waaay too much power and definitely could stand to be taken down several pegs. I also really liked the Egyptian vampire Benjamin who could manipulate the elements. And Garrett, he was a joy (even more so played by Lee Pace, but I digress. . . )
Now, this imprinting thing, Meyer knew what she was doing and set it up several books back with Quil and Claire. So it wasn’t a shock in that sense, more of a shock in the wow-Jacob-is-free-from-Bella sense. The whole concept is definitely weird for sure, but it didn’t bother me much. It is bizarre and slightly creepy, but I was able to suspend my disbelief enough to accept it. I think the fact that it breaks Jacob from his masochistic attachment to Bella made me more okay with it.
The ending of the book was, in a word, anticlimactic. It was thrilling to witness the chess-like interplay of conversation, but man when the Volturi turn around and slink back to Italy, it was not quite as satisfying as an epic battle would have been. Although, watching Bella and her badass shield thwart Jane and Alec was pretty awesome.
All in all despite being too long (seriously all the books could use a good dose of downsizing), Breaking Dawn, held my interest much more than any of the previous books.
As an aside, I have to mention the section of the book told from Jacob’s point of view: entertaining and hi-larious.
Name of Movie:
Breaking Dawn, Part II
Director: Bill Condon
Release Date: November 16, 2012
Running Time: 115 minutes
Let’s just cut to the chase. I’ll try not to spoil here, but that ending…that ending was 90% perfection, 10% cheap cop-out, and 100% worth it. I got excited the moment the Volturi, who by the way, appear to use the same hairstylist as Lucius Malfoy, stormed that snowy field in Forks.
At last the actors appear to be in on the joke and the final installment of the Twilight saga unabashedly embraces the absurdity of the entire storyline. The acting is…well, it’s BAD, but who cares because they finally seem to be having fun. And Lee Pace as nomadic vampire, Garrett, is essentially a gift from God, for which we should all be grateful. The rest of the vampire UN doesn’t have nearly as much to do, but everyone (except the Irish contingent, which blows because I liked them a lot in the book) gets a chance to posture vampirically. Taylor Lautner continues to rise above the material and in one memorable scene says out loud exactly what the audience was already thinking about Count One and Count Two from Romania. I defy anyone not to start an internal monologue (Von, von, Volturi bastard, Ah, Ah, Ah!!! Two, two Volturi bastards, Ah, Ah, Ah!!!…) every time either of them speak. And, finally, Billy Burke is still the best thing about the entire film series. His introduction to the supernatural world is hilarious. I’m so glad that particular scene, only referenced in the book, made it into the film, because it is perfection, as is Charlie’s dry observation concerning Renesmee’s growth spurts.
But the ending…it was FUN and incited multiple audible reactions from the theatre audience, everything from gasps of shock to choking laughter. I have to admit there was something truly satisfying about seeing Bella and Edward working in tandem with a very common goal.
This may very well be the best of the bunch, right here. I still resent that they split the last book in two parts (seriously do we need a two hour long rendition of grotesquely pregnant Bella?), but this movie sped by. The first installment the time passed agonizingly slowly and I couldn’t help thinking every so often, is it almost over yet? And then of course, when Bella opens her red eyes, and my heart thumped in anticipation, the credits started rolling. Sigh.
But! This second installment more than made up for it. It was over before I knew it. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Aside from Bella and Edward, the other actors were awesome. (Can I just say how much I LOVE Ashley Greene as Alice?) It seemed like they finally starting enjoying themselves. The rest of the Cullen family seemed to have more than cameo appearances, and I felt like I had a better sense of who they were. However, the primary actors just fell absolutely flat. Their performance was so monotonous it was comical. It wasn’t until the very end that they sprang to life and I glimpsed the early Bella and Edward. They seem to have forgotten to get into character, which was disappointing because I’ve enjoyed these actors outside their Twilight roles.
But let’s skip to the end, it was SO.MUCH.FUN! Izzy and I had a conversation by email, speculating how the final battle would play out as we both know that is not how the book ended. We mused out loud how the movie would explain such a turn. In an offhanded remark, I pretty much summed up the explanation the movie gave (which, I won’t spoil here on the off chance you haven’t seen it yet). Izzy feels like it was a cop-out ending, and while I would love to see Aro writhing on the ground permanently, I feel like the ending maintained the integrity of the story, while still satisfying cinematic requirements. Because really, an ending without a bit of violence would most likely incite violent disappointment. It was thrilling and shocking and almost tear-making until the big reveal. And, on a fresh re-read of the ending, the ending of the movie did retain several elements from the final showdown in the book.
Ya’ll this may be the first, and possibly the last, time but…the movie. Hands down.
Jehara: I have to agree with Izzy on this one. The movie ending totally wins over the book.