Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Breaking Dawn Countdown: Twilight

As all my fellow Twihards prepare for Friday's premiere of Breaking Dawn: Part 1, I have decided to take it upon myself to watch and review the previous three films. It's hard work to watch hot sparkly vampires suffer through teenage drama and existential angst, but dammit, someone's got to do it. This post takes it as a given that the audience is familiar with the pretentiously deemed Twilight Saga, so I won't be discussing the merits and drawbacks of perpetual high-school attendance, vampire vegetarianism, and whether obsessively sneaking into a girl's bedroom and watching her sleep does or does not count as stalking. (If you want my more academically serious treatment of Twilight's contribution to vampire mythology, Facebook message me, or check out my contribution to this volume.) For the purposes of this post, I'm writing to the faithful--you have been warned.

What I'm not ashamed to admit works:
  • The setting: Director Catherine Hardwick was one and done in the Twilight franchise, but I think she got the significance of the Pacific Northwest atmosphere just right. The damp, overgrown, and riotously green Washington-state landscape is a nice counterpoint to the arrested development of the vampiric Cullen clan, always depicted in washed-out cool tones. 
Not to mention how perfectly the deep green offsets Edward's auburn hair and amber eyes.
  • The casting: Though Kristen Stewart provokes in me a visceral repulsion, her diffidence and awkwardness works for Bella. Rob Pat folds in enough snarky haughtiness to temper any Bieber-esque preciousness in his performance as Edward, and Oscar-nominated (certainly not for this) Anna Kendrick as Bella's frenemy Jessica is straight-up awesome.
What I'm quite ashamed to admit works for me:
  • If you're team Twilight, you're already willing to overlook the series' gender politics, which would be more familiar in a pre-historic cave. This film unapologetically celebrates Edward's rabid protectiveness of and obsession with Bella.

Aggression and bloodlust are sexy, right?

What is admittedly quite lame:
  • The Google product placement. 
    She actually looks up "vampire." Haven't you ever seen Lost Boys, Bella?
  • Rosalie Cullen, who is supposed to be the hottest undead girl alive, isn't pretty enough. 
Meh. I prefer Alice.
  • Edward's simian scamper up a tree is more slapstick then superhero (the madness happens at about 2:13).

 This film is a suitable introduction to the series, but only my second favorite of the cinematic adaptations. Stay tuned for tomorrow's treatment of the lycanthropic New Moon!

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