Trailer Tuesday: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1
The downside of trying to be an informed pop culture commentator is having to subject yourself to the tedious and mind-numbingly mediocre so that your readers don't have to. It's like manning a lighthouse on a stormy night to warn ships away from the jagged rocks below. So, it's for this reason that I'm telling/alerting you that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is drawing near.
Breaking Dawn - Part 1, AKA The One Where Bella and Edward Finally Do It is by far the weakest of Stephenie Meyer's beloved supernatural romance books. It's also the oddest. At times reading the (fourth and final) novel you get the sense that, much like Thomas Harris with Hannibal, Meyer is posing a direct challenge to anyone attempting to adapt her writing for the big screen. Just how exactly do you reconcile dreamy-eyed romance with a grotesque birth scene that sees the heroine writhing around naked, vomiting blood, while her lover rips open her abdomen with his fangs to get to their half-breed offspring?
Sorry for the spoiler there, but in Breaking Dawn recent high school graduate Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and forever teenage vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) finally tie the knot - something he's been insisting on - so that they can "properly" consummate their union. Cue a steamy Brazilian honeymoon, a surprise high-speed pregnancy and ensuing horror as the other vampires, and vampire-hating werewolves - including Bella's best guy mate and almost boyfriend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) - react to the monstrous conception. Suddenly the soggy town of Forks, Washington is the setting for a massive showdown, as the supernaturals take sides over whether or not the newlyweds should die for their actions.
Taking a cue from the big screen adaptation/s of franchise-culminating Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final installment in the Twilight Saga will also be split into 2 films. That's great for fans but potentially a snoozefest for casual viewers. You see, if Deathly Hallows felt tonally unbalanced due to a storyline that tipped almost all emotion into Part 1 and almost all action into Part 2, then Breaking Dawn could easily suffer from the same problem.
Then again, on second thought, perhaps Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2 won't feature the same flaw. This is because the films are based on a book that is massively drawn out, with little happening over almost 800 pages. Again, a spoiler here, but in Breaking Dawn the promised epic battle doesn't even arrive. It's aborted quickly with minimal bloodshed. At least in Harry Potter the curses flew and bodies fell.
Personally though, it isn't the book's agonising pacing that annoyed me as much as its delusional insistence about the nature of love. In Breaking Dawn, characters (both good and evil) love forever as easily as they live forever. The Twilight universe a strangely stagnant, sheltered and idyllic world that doesn't ring true at all.
To be fair though, I'm sure the Twi-hards loved the trailer for Breaking Dawn - Part 1, which tantalizes completely with its attention to detail. The 2 minute trailer is stuffed with fan favourite moments and details that they've been waiting years to see: the clip in Bella's hair on her wedding day, her ring... and, of course, what Twilight trailer would be complete without a shot of Jacob ripping his shirt off? No matter how much I disliked Breaking Dawn as a novel, it made an absolute fortune, and its film version is guaranteed to do much the same at the box office.
For the record, this Twilight film is directed by Oscar winning screenwriter and director Bill (Gods and Monsters) Condon, and will be PG-13. The filmmakers have promised that all depictions of sex and violence will be tastefully handled, but no less potent than on the printed page.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 opens in the United States, South Africa and many other parts of the world on, or within a few days of 18 November 2011. Part 2 is out almost exactly a year later, on 12 November 2012.