As a big reader, it’s rare for me to catch two films in a year much less two in 24 hours. But that’s what I managed last Thursday, sacrificing sleep in order to see two films I’ve long, long been waiting to see: Breaking Dawn and We Need To Talk About Kevin.
Both were much-anticipated adaptations of bestselling books. Both were films I knew would be, for vastly different but no less complex reasons, difficult to translate to the silver screen.
I’ll tackle each in this two-part blog, starting with Breaking Dawn, which is part one of a two-part film adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s final vampire-romance hit series. I’ll start tackling it by saying: OMG is was bad but gold.
Fans of Meyer’s series will admit that Breaking Dawn the book bordered on—if not tipped over into—the ridiculous. Critics of it will say that the whole series did. Nevertheless, the pregnancy with the half-human, half-vampire baby, the uber-juvenile ‘Renesmee’ naming (seriously, that’s the kind of name you make up when you’re 12), and the imprinting took it to a whole new, previously inconceivable level. I think it was a case of an author becoming too successful and no editor being game to reign her in.
Nor was I sure how the film would handle what had been silly enough on paper, especially as its lead actors weren’t known for their strong performances. Oh, and I was desperate to see Bella’s wedding dress.
It’s become something of a tradition that I go to the midnight screening by myself and I loved that the cinema broke into spontaneous applause when the film started. And I laughed out loud when Jacob took his shirt off less than 20 seconds in. Seriously, that’s faster than even in the trailer we’ve all obsessively been watching for months and made the price of the ticket worth it there and then.
Even better, it continued to be good in its traditional, so-bad-it’s-good, laughing-at-itself way. The wedding was done well. Bella and Edward both looked hot. I didn’t hate the dress, although I’ll admit I didn’t like the front of it—‘frontally offensive’ was how my friend Carody later described it.
The honeymoon was romantic, even if it was slightly too long—truthfully, though, after three books/movies of no action and bucketloads of sexual tension, had they skimped on that there might well have been an in-cinema riot.
Bella looked suitably gaunt and anorexic during the pregnancy and the aspects of the baby breaking her from the inside out were cleverly and correctly underplayed. Even the imprinting part wasn’t too corny and, in fact, the naming part, which they cleverly took the p*ss out of, warranted a wry smile and a sigh of relief—they showed that they too know how stupid the name is.
Sure, there were some OTT moments. The CGI werewolves, which haven’t worked at the best of times, had a serious, heckle-raised showdown that was so lame all dramatic tension was rendered completely undone.
The dummy they used during the whole CPR scene was quite obviously a dummy. And Bella’s concave stomach was never going to pass for pregnant—I think every girl in the universe secretly despised Kirsten Stewart in that ‘oh look at how impossibly perfect my body is, but I’m going to pretend I’m pregnant’ scene.
Mostly, though, the film took us through the book with a nod and a wink. It even included a great scene and a joke after the final credits that editors or sticklers for spelling, punctuation, and grammar would enjoy. I can’t wait for Part 2.