Saturday, 1 December 2012

Breaking Dawn: Book vs Film

*Warning: contains some spoilers* 

With Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer brought her Twilight series to a close. The book followed Bella Swan as she marries the love of her life, Edward Cullen, and becomes both a vampire and a mother. With this book, the series took a bizarre turn from the teen angst that had riddled the pages of the earlier three and saw Bella mature into an impressive woman thanks to her new vampiric status. It also offered a shift of perspective for a while as Jacob took centre stage with his wolfpack.

For its adaptation, the book was divided into two films - the first following Bella as she prepared to marry Edward, went on her honeymoon and discovered she was pregnant with his child and the second as she had given birth to their half-vampire, half-human baby and was enjoying life as a newborn vampire herself.  Director Bill Condon was on hand for both parts meaning that the feel and flow of the pair worked well together.

Part One was all about the romance. There was a stunning outdoors wedding, a honeymoon on their very own island and the opportunity to consumate their new marriage. Bella then gets protective over her unborn child that is - quite literally - sucking the life out of her forcing Edward to turn her before she dies.

Though Part Two begins with a happy Bella (Kristen Stewart) revelling in her new life, the drama begins when Alice sees that the Volturi vampires think their daughter Renesmee is an immortal and are coming to kill her. The most important law of the vampire world is that biting a child is forbidden and the Volturi believe the Cullens have broken this law and must stop them. In order to prove that Renesmee was born, not bitten, Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Carlisle travel the world and enlist all the friends they can find to stand with them against the Volturi. As a result, a whole host of new vampires arrive in the town of Forks from across the globe and Jacob, who has imprinted on baby Renesmee so is forever with them all, finds himself outnumbered by red eyes. 

In the film, Stewart took to the vampiric Bella superbly, showing just how talented an actress she really is when given the opportunity to (pardon the reference) shine. Pattinson is able to relax a little here too which makes for a much more amusing Edward than audiences have seen previously. He is no longer living in fear of hurting the woman he loves. He now realises that it is her turn not to hurt him (as she is stronger than him!) and relishes watching his wife in action.

Whereas fans of the series had spent all their time thus far observing the world of the vampires from the outside, Breaking Dawn Part Two offers the chance to experience it from the inside. It is a far more adult book than the earlier three, with marriage, pregnancy, parenthood and lots of vampire sex to boot and Condon handles this well, keeping the theme of young love and Bella and Edward's plans of 'forever' at the forefront while allowing his stars to grow up and develop.

While the book of Breaking Dawn went off on such a random tangent that many fans of the series may have found it jarring and peculiar, the final film managed to add the drama and action seriously lacking in the book - and, more importantly, made it credible. It wasn't action for action's sake and in creating a far more spectacular ending to the film franchise, the film managed to surpass the book. What the book lacked in tension, loss and drama, the film more than made up for with some impressive fight sequences and cinematic blood on snow imagery.

After the release of the first Twilight book, I don't think anyone could have guessed that Bella would become a vampire, a mother and a wife - not even Stephenie Meyer herself. Though no doubt many fans did enjoy the 'happy ending' of it all, this twi-hard found it massively anti-climactic and all too neat and tidy. The film, however, clarified the book's ending with all the tense action necessary to give the series a fitting end.

Book - 3 FOBLES
Film (Part One) - 3 FOBLES
Film (Part Two) - 4 FOBLES

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