Even the biggest Twi-hards can admit that Stephenie Meyer's final book in the Twilight series was a bit of a train wreck. Where the first three books (and movies) dealt with chaste, repressed teenage lust and soul-shattering true love, Breaking Dawn threw all logic out the window when Bella (the human teenager) and Edward (the century-old vampire teenager) get married so they could finally get it on. But that was just the beginning of the book... Crazed fans, slogging through the story's bizarre plot twists, created petitions and web pages demanding that Meyer throw Breaking Dawn in the trash and write a new book... you know, this time for real. But, you know what? If that had happened, we wouldn't have gotten one of the weirdest, most entertaining pop culture movies I've seen in a long time!
Admittedly, the first half or so of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 takes its time. Bella (Kristen Stewart) has some wedding jitters, having nightmares about the wedding guests piled in a tower of death, their blood sucked dry by the new in-laws. But the wedding goes without a hitch, and I could hear fans snuffling in the theater whilst giggling with anticipation.
The action then moves to the long, drawn-out honeymoon. Edward takes Bella to a "secret" location, which turns out to be a gorgeous tropical island off the coast of Rio. Bella has some (admittedly cute) honeymoon jitters, but then they get all hot n' busy. Alas, with three movies worth of sexual tension, the Big Love Scene is quite tame, as it quickly fades to the next morning, where we see that the bed had been broken, furniture is strewn, feather pillows have exploded, and Bella has bruises as a souvenir. Ah, vampire love. But the newlyweds' idyllic honeymoon comes to an end quickly after Bella pukes up some fried chicken, and, to her alarm, realizes that she is pregnant.
Fans and critics weren't the first to question this. When Bella and Edward rush home to the safety of the secretive Cullen clan of vampires, all of the Cullens express disbelief as well. WHAT??!?
So, let me take a moment to let Stephenie Meyer explain:
"The normal reactions of arousal are still present in vampires, made possible by venom-related fluids that cause tissues to react similarly as they do to an influx of blood. Like with vampire skin—which looks similar to human skin and has the same basic function—fluids closely related to seminal fluids still exist in male vampires, which carry genetic information and are capable of bonding with a human ovum."
- (From Breaking Dawn FAQ: http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/bd_faq.html)
So, let's just say the second half of the BD-PT1 follows Bella's alarming accelerated pregnancy with the Tooth Baby. Tooth Baby is quite literally sucking the life from its host mother. Bella wastes away (actually this effect is very well done and creepy) and everyone around her wrings their hands with worry and fear. Ultimately, the birthing scene is a doozy, and I'm not saying that with a smirk. As far as what happens then... well, you'll have to wait until Part 2!
Some of my favorite things about Breaking Dawn-Part 1:
* The wedding scene introduced some of my new favorite characters, "the cousins from Alaska"—a trio of blonde, Barbie-doll vampires with terrible googly gold-contact lenses (and vacant stares to match). I thought Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) had the best pained/panicked/hungry/vacant stare, but I think he has been trumped by these howl-inducing vamps.
* There is a silly scene in the forest where Jacob (Taylor Lautner) hugs and twirls Bella after the wedding, and it is obvious they put him on a box out in the moss so that he could rest his chin on her head. But other than this scene, the filmmakers make no attempts later in the film to hide the fact that Lautner is a little man despite his brawn.
* Speaking of Jacob, he rips his shirt off in the rain a mere SECONDS, yes, SECONDS into the movie (to the delighted screams of the audience).
* But, perhaps my favorite moment (of many that made me giggle) was an impressively baffling scene where the Wolf Pack communicated telepathically. It was just like Snow Buddies, but with wolves! Growly human voices emitted from the big, bad, snarly wolves, and you could sense the discomfort in the audience... which quickly erupted into laughter when the scene ended. Awesome.
Out of all the Twilight movies (yep, seen them all), this is the first one that I actually really enjoyed. Maybe the cast and crew sheepishly admitted that the storyline completely jumped the shark, so they finally decided to quit taking it all so seriously. Maybe this movie was actually directed well (despite the still-horrid acting by half the cast). Maybe it was just exactly what I needed on a cool, rainy night. I have to admit, Breaking Dawn-Part 1 is the perfect kind of campy escapist movie that is best enjoyed in a theater of screaming girls. Don't be afraid.