As “Occupy Wall Street” protestors were facing off with their opponents on Thursday, “Twilight” fans were lining up in equally impressive numbers for the epic battle of team Edward versus team Jacob.
I began to think of the latest “Twilight” tale in terms of “Occupy Bella” while discussing the “Breaking Dawn” plotline with my oldest daughter Jennifer the other day. She’s taken issue with all those people butting into Bella’s business.
I’d been awakened in the wee hours the night before by our younger daughter Lizabeth, whose dorm in NYC was under the flight path of all those lovely helicopters flying to and fro as the city cleared both tents and campers from Zuccotti Park.
It’s rarely comforting to hear such noise overhead, or in the streets, when you live only blocks from the World Trade Center. And parents tend to assume the worst when phones ring just hours before dawn breaks.
Some might say that “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I” is the story of Bella’s occupation by her baby. But the baby isn’t the problem. Instead, it’s the friends and family around her – who each try to force their own beliefs onto Bella. They erect barriers, and she tears them down.
But first, of course, she’s got to walk down the aisle. As Bella goes bridal, there are plenty of moments we can all relate to – wistful parents, pre-ceremony jitters, tacky toasts and a handful of guests who are hardly on their best behavior. One-liners abound, most of them quite funny.
The wedding ceremony, like the nightmare of red rose petals falling from the sky that precedes it, is breathtaking. It’s held outdoors amidst trees dripping branches laced with white blossoms. Bella’s gown, designed by Carolina Herrera, is sure to launch a bevy of Bella-inspired bridal wear.
Bella’s honeymoon with Edward is more complicated than most, despite taking place in a setting so swanky that it makes your average day spa look lackluster. Their lavish honeymoon digs, full of lush plants and opulent décor, open up onto the beach. A silvery full moon shines down on deep blue waters as the couple laps up waves, and each other, unfettered by clothing.
There’s sex and blood and bruising that makes the film’s PG-13 rating feel a bit of a stretch. Vampires, it seems, have unusual strength – and so do their offspring. There’s nothing pretty about Bella’s pregnancy, labor or delivery – except for the finished product. And all the glorious scenes of mountains, forests and rivers that surround it.
I’m not particularly wedded to the “Twilight” story arc, but found myself mesmerized by the visual feast of this film — which was shot in Rio, Baton Rouge and British Columbia. The photography is clean and crisp. The editing feels precise. And the directing seems more focused than in previous “Twilight” films. Music and sound ebb and flow as romance and revenge do their delicate dance.
Previous films have seen Bella preoccupied with self. But there’s considerably less brooding in “Breaking Dawn” – on both Bella and Edward’s part. Less whining means more time for other things, which makes both characters more interesting this time around. But one thing still eats at me.
Why is Jacob still hanging around? For younger viewers, there’s a simple answer — because he’s good at stripping shirts off his bulging biceps as he mounts his motorcycle or morphs into wolf mode. But let’s face it, no newlywed husband wants a man who pines for his bride getting too cozy in her presence.
Unless, of course, it’s the lesser of two or more evils. I suppose the fifth and final film in “The Twilight Saga” series will settle the rest of my burning questions. I just hope that Bella, who’s been occupied too often by the wishes of others, goes into it with her eyes wide open.
Coming up: Once upon a “War Horse”