Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (August 2, 2008)
Director: Bill Condon
Screenwriter: Melissa Rosenberg
Running Time: 117 minutes
Really? Twilight again?? So true confessions. I like the Twilight series almost as much as I enjoy making fun of it. It’s a hot mess and everything I should loathe, most particularly a heroine who is literally nothing without her man. The very idea offends and me, and yet, like the proverbial train wreck, I read every book when it came out and will continue to watch the movies. Sure, it’s juvenile, but in the spirit of fun train wrecks, I thought I’d do an old fashioned Book v. Movie post. I mean, after all, what’s really worse? The book or the movie?
The Gist: In Breaking Dawn (the book), our heroine, young Bella Swan gets what she’s been longing for during the last three books, namely Edward. Writer Stephenie Meyer gives Bella and Edward the perfect setting to consummate their overly complicated relationship-an exotic private island with a bedroom to die for, all white gauze and lush ocean views. Bella and Edward have perfect sex their very first try, at least we assume so since the action largely takes place off the pages. All we are witness to is Bella’s smug satisfaction and the fact that the massive bed in which they slept was completely demolished sometime during all the perfectly perfect love-making. As will happen, they also make a baby, Bella’s “nudger” that is growing at an alarmingly rapid rate. Edward is anxious to “get that thing out of her” as he is concerned about Bella living through the pregnancy, but Bella is immediately in love with her unborn child and so begins a surprising alliance with her new sister-in-law, Rosalie, to keep the baby from being aborted. Add to this gothic mess an angry and newly divided werewolf pack, most bent on destroying Bella before the child is born, with one holdout bent on protecting Bella at all costs.
Breaking Dawn Part I, the movie, remains largely true to the spirit of Meyer’s novel. Certain bits are pared down or left out entirely (Jacob’s disappearance is played down a bit), while other scenes are greatly expanded, (the epic bed-destroying love scene, and can I just tell you that the two women behind me in the theatre were cracking me up with fervent whispers along the line of “now, that’s what I’m talking about!”). I especially enjoyed the playful quality of Charlie’s reluctance culminating in one of the most awkward, yet pointed, wedding toasts ever as well as Jessica’s snide comments about whether or not Bella would be “showing” yet, particularly in light of events yet to play out on screen.
The birthing scene is probably the second most anticipated moment in the film and Bill Condon delivers. It’s a sickeningly violent event with lots of blood and gore. I won’t spoil you if you’re planning on seeing it, or sicken you out with a detailed description if you plan on avoiding this film like the plague. The imprinting scene, which I was dreading because good Jiminy Cricket, that’s a disturbing concept, was actually well constructed and did not inspire the gross-out I was expecting.
Finally, it ends on the perfect note, right where I would have ended it I were the one making the movie.
The Bottom Line: The book wins. Haven’t you been paying attention to our Book v. Movie posts??? The book always wins. In fairness, with this particular series, that’s not saying much. But I did kind of like the movie. Don’t judge me.