A reaction to The Twilight Saga and Breaking Dawn Part 2. Spoilers abound.
I think it is best to start with introductions. I am a girl in my dying twenties with a little piece of my heart still pinned to adolescence, which should explain my predilection to pick up something from the chic-lit side of the bookstore. Now Twihards will be hell bent to dispel the branding of Stephenie Meyer‘s work as chic-lit, but as most people would not be bothered to specifically categorize, I will drop that argument from the get go.
My literary BFF introduced me to the first book, and we both were in love with Edward and imagining we were Bella long before it became a joke. The prose was not perfect, yes. At times, it was long, dragging and self-indulging. The characters have their moments being one-dimensional, but for all these faults it was the dynamics that worked, and that unique take on the vampire romance. I guess we’ve all been well exposed to how vampires are romanticized, it was easy to take a huge bite at the first offering that showed the most heart and the least gore.
Soon after I was sitting through the Twilight movie with all intents of liking it. It was a heavy chore. The chemistry between the actors was alive and breathing, but the film was glaringly low budget, the make up was too white and the lighting too blue, and I felt the direction was too raw. But then again all hands on deck thought they were only making an indie film, so the treatment was forgiven. It had an awesome soundtrack, and I walked away from the theater shipping RPatz and KStew.
It was smoother sailing for the New Moon and Eclipse. The movies were shot more beautifully, and to all their critics I think the acting improved throughout. Kristen Stewart had Bella’s awkward courage, Robert Pattinson had Edward’s standoffish wit and Taylor Lautner had Jacob‘s abs and boy-next-door charm. To their credit, they were working on limiting literary material, and they made it work. I guess that is the mindset I have whenever I spend money on another Twilight Saga installment, to manage expectations. And that technique worked best for the last book.
Breaking Dawn was my least favorite book. It started nice and sweet with a girly white wedding, but a few chapters on and I was over it and I thought it was all over the place. I couldn’t finish it fast enough. I felt like it suffered the same problem authors have when tasked to finish series–it is never easy to tie everything up in a nice little bow. You tend to throw in everything you have because it is the final installment, and the end result looks like it needs to go back to editing. The book did have its moments, and it was those positive thoughts that I clung onto when I took my seat.
Part 1 was promising, so I was excited going into Part 2. As I have come to accept with this franchise, it starts a bit slow and lags around, with spikes of emotions and excitement here and there, true to the book, but ends with a good dash of action and romance. The Bella and Edward romance never gets old for me, thank you very much, specially now that Edward was a lot less brooding. Jacob and Bella’s scenes always had that special spark, and though the Renesmee-Jacob moments made me nervous, I thought they were far from creepy. I must say my heart clenched in a tense knot when the first vampire head was uprooted from its torso, and in that form it stayed until the scene ended. In hindsight, it was not an original trick and I should have expected that, but in that darkened theater among my fellow fans I was simply consumed by the ride. And I guess, at the end of the day, that is all there is to it.
The Twilight Saga is not an intellectual series. It was never meant to be so. Ergo the films were never made to wow critics. If it was the moms and the tweeners and the hopeless romantics who fell for the chaste lion and lamb love story, so be it. We enjoyed it anyway. Haters will always hate, but for all its imperfections, the story has a place in every adolescent heart.
P.S. For a less biased, intellectual man-on-the-street take, click here.