If you are a fan of HBO’s True Blood, with all its sex and blood and gothic kink, you realize just how, er, bloodless the Twilight series is. Of course, that makes sense—Twilight is a series aimed at 14-year-old girls. But that inhibition is particularly problematic in this installment of the movie, since it’s all about—how can I put this delicately?—rough vampire sex and gory childbirth. (Hey, don’t blame me. Blame Stephenie Meyer, who combines shmoopy teen romance with vampire freakiness like none other).
Director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), certainly the most talented to helm the Twilight series, tries manfully to make all this work, with mixed results. When Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) consummate their love on their honeymoon, he shows Edward gripping the bed post tightly, then breaking it. Later, we see the aftermath of this session: Down feathers flying, bed frames broken, and Bella covered in bruises. Wow. That must’ve been intense! (Alas, we’ll never know. . .)
As for the child birth scene, there’s some blood, but not nearly enough. It’s more like “oh, that was kind of gross” as opposed to “holy mother of possible hellspawn!”
That being said, before I saw it, I was unfairly calling this film Rosemary’s Baby for Idiots. That’s not accurate. It has at least an average IQ.
I liked the emotional and dreamy wedding—“don’t let me fall, Dad,” Bella says to her father (Billy Burke); “Never,” he replies—although sometimes I couldn’t tell why Bella had such a pained look on her face (ennui? gas?). (Then again, marrying an immortal bloodsucker with the prospect of becoming one yourself is intense. If anyone has an excuse to be a Bridezilla. . .).
And I mostly liked the honeymoon, too, with Edward consumed by even more self-loathing than usual after the rough sexcapades and Bella consumed with lust, cause she’s freaky like that. (Just kidding. Because she loooves him so.) The scene of the two of them playing chess on a red and white chessboard in front of a vast white beach as they attempt to distract themselves from the lure of the bedroom has an iconic beauty.
The werewolf stuff continues to be unintentionally funny—from the opening scene, where studly Taylor Lautner, playing the lovesick Jacob, receives his wedding invitation in the mail and responds by angrily ripping off his shirt (!), to the awkward scene in the woods where Jacob has a showdown with his fellow wolves, who talk in gruff, wolfie versions of their own voices.
The film’s ham-handed product placement also never fails to amuse, especially a scene where Edward actually Yahoo!s for clues about vampire/human spawn (I personally haven’t Yahooed in more than 10 years). Earlier, I had asked the girl sitting next to me in the VIP row of the screening what her connection to the film was. “My dad works for Volvo,” she responded, munching on her popcorn.
Besides its serious lack of sex and gore, Breaking Dawn’s biggest problem is that much of it feels like filler (they split the final book into two movies, Harry Potter-style). There are way too many scenes of a pregnant and emaciated (good job, makeup department!) Bella just sitting around the Cullens’ (admittedly lovely) house, discussing her baby’s future or trying to convince Edward and Jacob to please just get along. After all this inactivity, for a horrifying second, I thought that Bella was going to go into labor off screen. As mentioned, we do get to see the birth, but it wasn’t quite worth the wait. Speaking of which, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II is due in theaters next November.