If we look back to 2005 when Twilight first arrived on our shelves, not many people acknowledged its existence. For those who read it, it was either a novelty, a sham to all original vampire stories, or a classic romance with a vampiric twist. A friend of mine lent me the book in late 2008 and I was mesmerized - ergo making me the latter category. I was never much of a vampire fan before, but this book opened up a whole new world of fantasy to me - and besides, I was enraptured with Edward and Bella.
Fast-forward to the second, third and fourth books and you quickly discover how captivating this series can be. I read the 3 in quick succession; one after the other on the Topdeck bus that was taking myself & a group of 40 around Europe. I found myself feverish having to wait to read the fourth, and I kind of thank my lucky stars that I had read the books after they were all published, otherwise I would have been a madhouse.
The release of the first movie caused a ripple effect of criticism and controversy. Many said the movie missed key elements expressed in the book (which it did) and others were simply flabbergasted that it even made it to cinemas. I, like so many other twi-hards however, enjoyed the movie purely because it was bringing our favourite vampire-human couple to life.
(I like to think that despite their cold souls, critics really do feel something for the epic romance that is Twilight; they just have too much experience being critics to really appreciate the simple things in life anymore) Oh my. Did I just say that? ;) Let's continue.
The subsequent releases of New Moon and Eclipse had the same mixed reactions, but more and more people began to appreciate the hard work and effort that was going into making these movies (and the efforts of directors and screen writers alike to keep as much to the books as possible). Fans were delighted - to say the least - at how much detail was retained and at the casting choices for memorable characters such as Aro, Caius and Marcus. While nothing can compete with the books, these two movies were a significant improvement on the first installment and gained legions more respect by twi-hards worldwide.
But now we come to Breaking Dawn and the first part of a two-part tale that delves into the trickier moments of Edward, Bella and Jacob's journeys as our three main characters. Bella and Edward are getting married, Jacob is still stewing over Bella's choice to marry Edward, the Volturi's threat is still on the horizon and Bella's decision to become a vampire is weighing heavily on her heart and those around her. It is the beginning of the end, and truthfully, I found the movie more interesting than the book (in this circumstance).
- The wedding: by far the most anticipated portion of the entire saga. And frankly, I do not think it disappointed at all. Without spoiling too much, the wedding was what I imagine any fancy wedding to be - beautiful and tied in with a myriad of cute wedding-day memoirs that occur to most people on their special day (jitters, awkward family speeches, crazy dancing).
- On that note, Bella's dress: I had supremely high expectations for this dress. I had pictured a dress that was both elegant but classic, classy but sexy, and princess-like rather than modern. What the movie delivered was both elegant and vintage, but more Kate Middleton- worthy than Cinderella-style. After time to think about it, I really loved the design; the train and veil. Lovely.
- Jacob's arrival at the wedding: Truly touching moment between him and Bella. Taylor Lautner is becoming quite the savvy little actor. I'm impressed.
- The honeymoon and the time leading up to Isle Esme: Robert Pattinson usually takes my breath away, but somehow, seeing his portrayal of Edward "in happy honeymoon bliss" sent my heart into overdrive. I don't think I wiped the grin off my face for the entire sequence leading up to Isle Esme - the dancing in Rio, the power boat ride, the traditional sweeping-the-bride-off-her-feet-and-carrying-her-over-the-threshold. His adoring gaze kept me captivated.
- Moments on the island: there was a waterfall scene that was particularly gorgeous, and some chess games that were both soulful and adorable. I will leave it at that.
- The sex: we were discussing this after the movie (great car conversation ;)) and came to the conclusion that while the fire was there, there still wasn't enough passion. Still, seeing the headboard break? Totally worth the wait.
- Rosalie and her obsession with 'demon baby': as soon as Bella told Rosalie about baby, Rosalie took to protective lioness like a charm. The entire second half of the movie I was in love with Nikki Reed's portrayal of Rose's obsession. Perfection.
- Bella's nightmares: always a treat. This time, they were especially terrifying. An American Horror Story would be proud.
- Leah Clearwater: just brilliant. Julia Jones? Just gorgeous. She took that broken heart and threw her all into it. I hope there's more of her in Part 2.
- The wolf-pack's reaction to 'demon baby': while I'll get to the ridiculousness of the voice-overs, I have to say I enjoyed the tension and reactions of the wolf pack when they found out about the 'abomination'. It gave us what the book was lacking - more intensity.
- The scene where Jacob thinks Bella is dead: no words can express how depressed I felt for him in this moment. Kudos Taylor. Just kudos.
- The sickly-looking Bella: my congratulations to the entire production team for portraying the way Renesmee was tearing apart Bella's body. The gaunt, hallowed look that slowly overcame Bella's features; the deathly paleness - thrilling. And then the way she 'recovered' - it wasn't rushed and it was believable that the blood was helping. Kristen Stewart shone in this part; by far the best I have seen her across all 4 movies.
- When Edward 'hears' Renesmee: if looks could move the earth, surely Edward's would have created the entire Grand Canyon. The adorable couply/first baby air that washed over Bella and Edward in this moment captured my heart. Beautiful and simple and touching.
- The maid's reaction to Bella's pregnancy: done according to the book. I have no qualms.
- Funny quips by Jasper and Emmett: always a treat.
- Charlie and his fatherly instincts: I love Charlie. He was adorable in the books, and Billy Burke has improved his character in leaps and bounds.
- Alice: never anything bad to say about her. Ashley Greene you are delightful.
- Carlisle is still a dish: Peter Fanchelli is such a delicious daddy. Just saying.
- The flashbacks during Bella's transformation: a touching way to remind us about everything that's happened throughout the first 3 movies. I adored it.
I had many favourite moments but I also had a few moments I wished were done differently or left out altogether. (Suppose I'm having a critics moment! Eep)
- The wolf pack's 'physic link': I nearly went into spasms of laughter from the sheer idiocy of this. As something that should have been addressed 2 movies ago, the link of thoughts between the wolves came across tacky and a pathetic attempt to right some wrong of leaving it out. Voice-overs were shocking. Sorry, but you will see what I mean once you see it.
- The gore: I think it was too much - purely based on the fact that the other movies were hardly gory at all. IF the saga was to be done again I would definitely LOVE a darker undertone, with 'evil' actually feeling 'evil'.
- The birthing scene: just as disgusting in the book, if not worse. I suppose I'm slightly impressed with the more vampiric nature of Edward in this part, but still grose.
- Stephenie Meyer's cameo: words can't express how truly annoyed this made me. Stupid and dumb all rolled into one.
- The slight Spiderman-feel that came with 'a changing heart': shots of the venom shooting through Bella's veins - just reminded me of Peter Parker in Spiderman when he was bitten. A little too CGI, a little too much (once again, I think from the very different nature of this movie compared to the first 3).
- Bella's not-so-awesome attempt at being angry at Edward: the morning-after buzz was ruined, and Bella hardly made a move. I wanted angry Bella. That is all.
- The imprinting thing: still weird. Will never be used to that.
- Bella's red eyes: I could only laugh. Wait and see.
- Irina's spack at the wedding: just a minor note. While I love Maggie Grace with my whole heart, that little mental she had was a tad annoying.
What I missed most
- Eggs for breakfast: nearly died when I realised this wasn't included. One of the cutest parts about Edward and Bella's honeymoon. Oh well.
- The dog bowl commentary between Rose and Jacob: while there were a few funny snaps between the two about 'dogs', I seriously missed this moment. Rosalie throwing that dog bowl at Jacob's head was one of the funniest moments in the book.
- Bella's car: most people wouldn't have noticed, but right at the start of Breaking Dawn Stephenie Meyer makes a huge deal over the car Edward gave Bella - a Mercedes Guardian. Ridiculous, and I know it was made-up, but I love cars. I just wanted a silly armor-plated car that Bella could drive. I'll just leave that now.
- More Jacob-related side of things: an entire chunk of the book was dedicated to how Jacob felt and from his side of things. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but I NEEDED to see more of Jacob's pain. Foolish, yes.
Overall I was impressed with the nature of Breaking Dawn Part 1. I believe it stayed true to the book and ergo pleased millions of fans across the world. I believe the production team took on board feedback from fans and created a movie that is both appealing, intoxicating and delightful. While it still lacks the 'scary' side of things, it takes us through the impossible journey of Bella, Edward and Jacob and only leaves one hanging for more. Outstanding performances by Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson, and gutting portrayals by Kristen Stewart and Julia Jones. I will definitely be taking the time to see this movie again in cinemas. Maybe a few times. And I look forward to Part 2 - drat those 12 months of waiting!
There you go lovelies. Tell me what you thought of the movie. I am all ears.