So someone suggested on Plurk the other day that the reason that critical reception and audience reaction to Breaking Dawn on www.rottentomatoes.com is so disparate (28% and 92% respectively as of this writing) is that the only people who actually go to see it are people who are fans of the popular series of romance novels by Stephanie Meyer. Other people have the sense to avoid anything having to do with the franchise like they would a fat, naked plague carrier with large, exploding pustules all over his body.
I am not one of those people.
Now I could say that I watched Breaking Dawn so that I could write about my ordeal and hence, warn others away from this awful example of the deteriorating collective intelligence of the human race, or say that I was forced at knifepoint into the theater as an elaborate form of torture designed to pry the location of that $100,000,000.00 in gold I stashed away after that heist in Singapore, but the truth is that I, like so many before me, went because my girlfriend wanted to see it.
Let me start by saying that it is as bad as you thought it would be. It is every bit as awful as they the critics say it is. There is NOTHING in this movie that redeems it in anyway.
First off, if you’re just passing by and this is your first visit to planet Earth, then you’ll need to know the back story to this. Kristen Stewart plays Bella Swanson, the sad little ugly duckling that falls in love with a vampire. Only it’s not the kind of vampire that most cultures on the planet recognize as a vampire. These are vegetarian vampires who sparkle in the sun. The aforementioned vampire, Edward Cullen, is played by Robert Pattinson, an equally broody mope-man.
The reason I hate this movie so much is that I can’t believe any part of it. The first few movies were about Bella and Edward versus evil vampires (these drank blood and made other vampires, but they still sparkled), or fighting the tribe of Native American werewolves who lived in the woods of Oregon. Even if it wasn’t the best adaptation of the material, that made sense to me.
This does not.
The first hour of the 117 minute runtime is dedicated to material that could have been cut down to about 30 minutes. Bella and Edward marry and go off on their honeymoon (to a tropical island off Brazil that his father happens to own – wtf?). They have unprotected sex. She gets pregnant.
I still can’t get over this leap of logic, but in Meyer’s world, the undead can get an erection and father children on the living. Not only that, but those children grow at an alarming rate. If a normal human’s gestation takes 9 months, vampire babies are ready to go in about 3 weeks. Freaked out by this, Edward drags Bella back to his family’s opulent middle-of-nowhere mountain home to convalesce. Only she just gets worse as the demon spawn sucks the life out of her.
It turns out she just needs to drink some blood. Oh, yay.
For the most part, the scenes in this movie do nothing but make you cringe, cry and laugh, but not once did I ever feel real empathy for any of the characters. I just cannot understand why anyone would care what happens to anyone in this movie. Why does Edward, a hundred year old man with all that experience fall in love with this cardboard cutout? Why does Bella, who you’d think would be looking for someone young and vibrant, want this brooding, sickly-looking, walking hair product commercial?
I love how the set pieces evoke a completely wrong reaction from me. I wasn’t the least bit aroused by the sex scene. Yes, there is a sex scene. No, they don’t show anything. They take off their shirts and kiss a little and boom! It’s morning, the housekeeping is there and they open the door to find the room trashed, the bed completely ruined. We see Edward cringe at his handiwork as Bella reveals bruises all over her body.
Having read up on this asinine series, I know that the bruises are due to the fact that he can’t control his emotions, and hence his strength, when he gets his love up for Bella. You’d think a hundred year old man would have learned the secret to overcoming pre-mature ejaculation. At least the soundtrack tells you what the filmmakers think you should be feeling, because I can’t find one reason to care.
My favorite scene (or perhaps the phrase should be “the most memorable”) is the werewolves having their little “meeting”. Oh, god. It is perhaps the worst bit of film I’ve seen all year. Having been told that Bella is having Rosemary’s Baby, the alpha dog tells his pack that they’ve gotta go in there and kill ‘em all! Only Jacob (Taylor Lautner), Bella’s “best friend,” isn’t going to do that. So an argument ensues and voices are raised as we wait to see who will back down.
Only this is all while they’re in their wolf form.
The whole scene is done in woefully overdone CGI, while the voices of the pack members are laid over the scene. If you’ve watched bits of Japanese Sentai shows, where the Red Ranger needs to shift from elaborate kata stance to elaborate kata stance so you know it’s him talking and not one of the other masked men, then you know how this scene worked out. I was laughing my ass off the whole time, even if the music was telling me I should have been shitting myself and cowering in my seat. It was all so idiotic and completely unnecessary.
Just like this entire movie.