Yup. I saw it.
And I want my two hours back. Because it’s not just that the plot is one of the most ridiculous things that’s ever been committed to film. And it’s not just that this film is full of themes that are old fashioned at best and misogynistic at worst. It committed the cardinal sin in storytelling.
This film is boring.
I read almost all of the Twilight series (up to the end of Breaking Dawn, Part 1, basically), because although I hated the characters and the plot, I found it all hilariously addictive. Sparkly vampires! 1oo-and-something year old virgin! “Marriage is too much of a commitment, but I want you to make me a vampire so we can be together ALWAYS!” DEATH BY SPARKLING. Seriously, this stuff is comedy gold. But the film didn’t manage to capitalize on this stuff.
Breaking Dawn is not “so bad it’s good.” It’s just dull. I could hardly bare to finish it. Almost nothing happens throughout the entire movie – it could seriously have been edited down to about five or ten minutes long. At several points during their honeymoon, Bella and Edward play chess on screen, because apparently even they are completely bored with events in this movie.
There were a couple of unintentionally amusing moments. The werewolf pack talking via voiceover, their voices made slightly robotic-sounding like the dogs in Up, was a highlight. Not enough to carry the movie, but it brought out some chuckles in me.
I do think that the whole thing is made more enjoyable if you think of it as a horror movie, where an innocent (if rather boring) teenage girl falls under a vampire’s thrall and is willing to undergo any number of horrors as a result. Kristin Stewart’s acting certainly helps in this regard. As she walks down the aisle, she just looks like she’s about to throw up. She cries when she dances with Jacob, as if this were her last chance for freedom. Then her new husband takes her to a remote island (where no one can hear her scream!) and has such rough sex with her that the bed breaks entirely and she is left covered in bruises. “I’m fine,” she tells him, when he apologizes. “I think its amazing.” And then a pale, clammy terrified Bella realizes that there’s a DEMON BABY growing inside of her. “I swear something just moved inside me,” she says, in the first of many lines straight out of a horror film. She looks like a skeleton, with bruises for eyes, because “it’s strong, and it’s growing.” “It’s crushing you from the inside out.” And then her husband tears the baby out of her while she screams and writhes in agony. There are DRAMATIC CLOSE UPS! Everything is TINTED RED! Edward injects venom right into her heart! Meanwhile, the only sane character, Jacob, runs and cries as he realizes that he has imprinted on the demon spawn and will spend the rest of his life in love with a baby.
And then Bella turns into a snow white, photoshop-skinned creature of the night, with glowing red eyes. As always happens at the end of these tales.
As a 10 second summary, it is mildly amusing. As a two hour movie? Not so much.
But the most horrifying part, and the fact that I can’t forget, is that this is all presented as a serious, swoon-worthy romance. All of the arguments and jokes have been made before, but even if you watch it to laugh, already knowing exactly what will happen, some lines just strike you with their sheer horror. And you think, “Screaming twelve year olds are watching this. Loving it. Setting their views of perfect romance on this.” After a night of sex which left her with horrific, vivid bruises, for example, Bella comments that it was “the best time a person could ever have, as a human.” It’s OK if your boyfriend bruises you, girls! He only does it because he’s so passionate about you!
But the most disturbing exchange, to me, came later in the story. It’s been said, and said, and said, that Twilight sets a horrible example for women. That it is misogynistic drivel about how you should marry your creepy, controlling stalker boyfriend straight out of high school, because it is true love. Yet here, unexpectedly, the most jaw-dropping exchange for me happened between Rosaline and Alice.
Alice: The fetus isn’t good for Bella.
Rosaline: Say the word, Alice. Baby. It’s just a little baby.
Yay for political agendas in movies for young teens! Remember, kids, abortion is murder, even if the baby is slowly killing you from the inside out. You can never ever harm this precious little life, especially not my having an abortion, because fetus = baby, and its potential life is worth far more than yours.
Bella can choose to continue her pregnancy, despite the risks. Of course she can choose. Feminism is, after all, about providing free choice for women. But considering the political state that the U.S. is in right now, with personhood amendments appearing left, right and center, that exchange snapped me straight out of my bored mockery back into sadness and concern. It didn’t sound like part of a ridiculous fantasy series, not even a romance one. It was a clear, blunt statement of the ideas perpetuated by this series. Sex outside marriage makes you impure. Stalkers are just super into you. Boyfriends only hurt you because they really super love you. You should let your entire life be consumed by your relationship. And even if your fetus is eating your insides, it is a baby, dammit, and you will let it live.