Yes, fans of “The Twilight Saga,” that ongoing, coming-of-age, blood-soaked vampire soap opera based upon the best-selling novels of Stephenie Meyer, received their long-awaited, most recent transfusion when “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” opened nationwide recently. Predictably, the film is raking in multi-millions both domestically and abroad, and the overwhelming success of this series is a bloody mystery to me.
“Breaking Dawn” is the fourth novel in the series, but Hollywood decided to divide the story in half for the big screen. For anyone who may have been comatose for the past three or four years, the first three films – “Twilight,” “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” which have taken in a whopping $1.8 billion worldwide, told the story of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart, a 17-year-old who moves to Forks, Wash., with her father.
One of Bella’s classmates at her new school is Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a mysteriously standoffish guy who seems to reject Bella’s attempt at friendship, but the mutual attraction is too strong for them ignore. And even when Edward confesses to Bella that he is vampire, she still is drawn to him. One of Bella’s problems, however, is that her other best friend is Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who just happens to be a werewolf.
The latest installment of the saga begins with people receiving invitations to the eagerly anticipated wedding of Bella the human being and Edward the vampire. Edward has refrained from turning Bella into a vampire, and this makes the nuptials all the more interesting. Of course when Jacob receives his invitation, he responds by dashing into the woods and morphing into a werewolf.
As the time for her wedding draws near, Bella becomes increasingly anxious about the whole thing, and her malaise is exacerbated when Jacob goes ballistic after finding out that Bella plans to embark on her honeymoon as a human being. Apparently sex between humans and vampires can be dangerous. But despite Jacob’s concern and whatever misgivings she may have had, Bella ultimately conquers her fears, and the wedding comes off without a hitch, or I should say with a hitch because the two of them are married.
The ensuing honeymoon is just a bit bizarre because a number or strange things that I won’t divulge here occur, but I will tell you that Bella and her new husband have sex. That should be no surprise, but what is a bit unusual is that only 14 days later, Bella finds herself carrying a live fetus. Now because the two of them didn’t engage in sexual activity before the wedding, the only conclusion to draw is that male vampires produce super sperm.
From this point on the film deals with Bella’s pregnancy and the impending birth of whatever inhabits her womb. Nobody can find out what’s in there, however, because ultrasounds and needles are incapable of penetrating the embryonic sack. Thus we’re left to speculate as Bella’s health continues to decline until the little whatever-it-is decides to make its entrance into the world.
Although I haven’t read any of Meyer’s books, I have suffered through all four films spawned by them, and I really fail to find what is so special about this story. In fact, there is something that really bothers me about the vampires as they are portrayed here. Call me a traditionalist, but I grew up believing that vampires were nocturnal beings that found sunlight either extremely uncomfortable or fatal. Yet in this movie, Bella and Edward are married outdoors in the bright sunlight, and they subsequently spend their honeymoon swimming and playing chess outdoors in sunny Brazil. What in the hell happened to sleeping in coffins in dank basements?
And here’s something about this story that really puzzled me. On the night of the honeymoon, Edward asks Bella if she would like to take a swim. She accepts and sends him to the beach promising that she will join him soon. So what does she do as soon as he is out of sight? She brushes her teeth. I get it. She doesn’t want to have bad breath when she kisses him. (Of course Edward is centuries old. Can you imagine what his breath must smell like?) Then she combs her hair. Got it. She wants to look her best. But then she shaves her legs! Now what kind of woman waits until her wedding night to shave her legs. Did she forget to do this earlier? Or are her legs subject to a five-o’clock shadow?
As far as the overall film is concerned, I thought it was mediocre at best. The acting is passable, but it certainly isn’t superior, and most of film leading up to the birth in the final 20 minutes or so is relatively dull. Of course I understand that the books and the films are meant to appeal primarily to a female audience, but I’ve seen any number of “chick flicks” that I found both more entertaining and enjoyable than this one.
I must admit, however, that I did love a particular line in the film. First, let me say that I do not like either Bella or Edward. I think she is weak and annoying, and I find him a disgrace to all the vampires I have encountered in either books and films because he is a whining, wishy-washy wimp. And he’s certainly not good looking. If Bella had any sense, she would have married Jacob because he’s handsome and much more masculine than Edward. And if she had picked Jacob, she wouldn’t have had to worry about shaving her legs ever again.
Jacob is the only character I remotely like in this film, and, during an argument with Bella when she is the latter stage of her pregnancy delivers the line to which I referred earlier. He’s expressing his concern over watching the fetus sap her strength, and she says, “I can do this, Jacob. I’m strong enough.”
And he replies, “Come on. You can spout that crap to your bloodsucker, but you can’t fool me.”
Is that profound or what?
“Breaking Dawn – Part 1” (Give it a final score of five because Jacob is a cool werewolf.) already has earned massive millions at the box office, and I’m sure it will continue to suck money from those willing to pay to see it. I also have no doubt that those who are into the series are willing to overlook the mostly lackluster performances and the absence of any dynamic action to watch these irritating characters (with the exception of Jacob) attempt to deal with their mundane problems.
And those who care will have to wait until “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” to find out whether Edward, Bella, and their little offspring get to sit around the television sipping blood and watching old Dracula movies. The rest of us can only hope that before then perhaps a sharpened wooden stake will find its way into Edward’s heart.