Twilight: Breaking Dawn – A Cynic’s Guide

If you found yourself picking bits of our global system of interconnected computer networks out of your face yesterday it’s more than likely due to the internet exploding with all things Twilight. It cleaned up at the MTV Movie Awards, it’s main lead Robert Pattinson said a naughty word and kissed a man, and to top it all off the first official trailer for Breaking Dawn: Part One was released.

As the sound of a bajillion teens screaming a high pitch wail at Taylor Lautner removing his shirt (34 seconds into the clip if you’re wondering) dissipates into the ether, we take a look at the best and worst of the franchise, and what the next may have in store.


The Good

Edward is a role-model
I stand by this assertion. If any horny teenage boys are looking to get laid they should take a leaf out of Edward’s book. It may be a long-game but the results, as the trailer above contends, are more than satisfactory. All you need is a will(y) of steel and the ability to pretend you simply can not, must not, under any circumstances hop on the good foot and do the bad thing. If you can, refuse sex so much that the womanfolk simply melt at the prospect of a slight arm rub.

The soundtrack’s always kick-ass
Often hitting the top spot in the Billboard charts, the ‘songs in the key of Edward’ are phenomenons in their own right. Beck, The Black Keys, Grizzly Bear, Bands of both Horses and Skulls and even one Mr. Thom Yorke plopped himself at piano and microphone to record an original piece for New Moon. Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer has such a hard-on for Muse it’s a wonder kids don’t follow her around singing songs about her and rhyming tree with G.

The Bad

Acting with a Toblerone up your arse
Kirsten Stewart can act: See Panic Room and Into The Wild. Robert Pattinson can act (just): See Little Ashes and Water For Elephants. Taylor Lautner can, okay, maybe Taylor can’t but the simple fact is none of the principal cast have been as bad in anything as they are in the Twilight films. The much commented on long-looks and lip-biting. The pauses so large you’d think a bear entered the room. The angry screwed-up faces as the male leads struggle to de-shirt fast enough. Even the usually dependable Michael Sheen as a panto vampire seems dragged down by those around him.

Director pedigree
What should be a plus point, ‘interesting directors’, turns into a negative when each and every movie looks and feels like they’ve been made by committee. David Slade made the really quite excellent Hard Candy, which contains more bite in one tooth than in Twilight‘s entire dentures. So expect any impact Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey) might make to be heavily lessened. As for lasting effects, only time will tell, but original director Catherine Hardwicke went from Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown prior to Twilight to Red Riding Hood after.

The Boredom

“When is it gonna start!”
To quote mid-90’s Scottish band Del Amitri, “Nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all. The needle returns to the start of the song and we all go along like before”. Or to quote Phoebe Buffay from mid-90’s American sit-com Friends, “Lather, rinse, repeat, lather rinse, repeat. As needed”. (NME is well current, yeah!) The first three Twilight films have an almost circular structure, resetting the status quo to fill more screen time.

But like Harry Potter before it, there is a sense that perhaps, finally we’re building up to something resembling a story. Y’know the kind that films have with action and drama and incident.

But what say you? Brilliant or baffling? Tweemendous or Twi-Twi-Twi-would any God allow this to happen? Answers on a postcard below. The best ones win some sparkly body paint!*

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*We have no sparkly body paint.