- THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. Carry on reading at your own risk.
- Besides Breaking Dawn, I’ve never read/watched a single text from the Twilight saga/franchise/universe, including fan-made stuff, so let me know if I get some things wrong.
Last week, my sister and I were engaging in our usual Wibbling Rivalry i.e. having an inane discussion over Whatsapp when she suddenly asked: “Want to go and watch Twilight on Sunday?”
Now, I’ve never been a fan of the Twilight saga/franchise because of all the horrendous things I’ve heard about it.
But as the title of the song by The Strokes goes, “I’ll try anything once.” (The line is, sadly, never sung in the song – but that’s another story for another day.)
So I told myself: OK, Laremy. Let’s keep an open mind and go and watch the damn film.
After all, what’s the worse that could happen? Right?
To understand the Twilight saga/franchise/universe, you must first understand that it’s a chick thing and most chicks dig it.
It’s crafted in such a way that all girls get to live out their fantasy vicariously through Bella, the protagonist of the Twilight saga/franchise/universe.
Or for the more canonical-minded among you, Twilight is essentially the Wuthering Heights of the 21st century, and all the girls imagine themselves to be Catherines (Bella) finding love in a hopeless place together with their Heathcliffs (Edward).
My post-post-feminist instincts (LOL) aside, I have no qualms about that; fantasy is fantasy and I, too, enjoy reading s/f texts.
But my only – and my biggest – gripe with Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is that it’s SO f-awrawrawrawrawrawr-ing badly written.
And so the worse did happen: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 now has the dubious honour of being the first film in my entire life that I’ve wanted to walk out from.
However, it also has the dubious honour of being the only film I’ve stayed on to watch because it was so bad that it was hysterically hilarious.
How hysterically hilarious? Let me count the ways (SPOILER ALERT):
- The opening was very Bond-esque but unlike the Bond films, it didn’t seem to have a deeper semiotic/thematic meaning (I could be wrong).
But again, because I have an open mind, I thought: OK, because of this Bond-esque sequence, let’s give this film a shot and try to watch it with the assumption that it has some cinematic value. And so…
- …I made the biggest mistake – and I snorted out loudly in the cinema because of this – by assuming there was a deeper meaning to the ripped-out page.
To explain: Alice, one of the characters, scribbles a note for Bella on a page that she rips out from The Merchant of Venice (for the wankers among you: desecrating the canon; post-post-modernist revisionist yada yada yada).
The moment I saw it, though, I immediately started thinking: OK, maybe it has something to do with a “pound of flesh” and all that jazz.
But imagine my amused, snorting horror when it was revealed that the ripped page was just that – a page ripped out from The Merchant of Venice because it was convenient to do so!
After that, I just gave up and started taking the show at face value – which I should’ve done from the very beginning.
But still, there were other exceptionally literal moments…
- …such as The Volturi.
I initially heard it as The Vulturi and was quite impressed because of the connotations – menacing scavengers a la vultures; policing the skies; ridding the land of carrion because they have transgressed the laws of life; etc.
But then I come home… and realise it’s spelt as Volturi.
Like, what the f-awrawrawrawrawrawr, man. I know there’s an attempt at historical significance – but calling them the Volturi is so f-awrawrawrawrawrawr-ing unthinkingly lazy!
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates how much more aesthetically pleasing it would’ve been if the f-awrawrawrawrawrawr-ers had been named The Vulturi who live in Volterra. Right? Right?
But was this the only incongruity in this universe? No…
- …there was also the incongruity of other laws of nature established in the universe.
Some background information: in s/f texts, the universe that’s created is different from the one we inhabit.
So there are alternate (social, environment, legal, biological, etc.) laws in this reality that must be intricately crafted and then connected together, otherwise the premise of the text falls apart.
In the Twilight world, the vampires have supernatural sensory perception e.g. Irina, one of the members of the Volturi, is able to see Renesmee from afar (like, 20km away).
And in that instant, she assumes that Renesmee is a vampire child and therefore, the Cullen coven have broken the vampire laws.
Which doesn’t make sense because the other vampires can see and smell and hear things like heartbeats, the warmth of blood coursing through veins and werewolf scent – and this is demonstrated throughout the entire movie.
So why couldn’t Irina have done this and saved everyone the trouble? Right? Right?
Cringing yet? Don’t, because this isn’t the most cringe-worthy moment…
- …especially when you compare it to the unbelievable dialogue, which is SO contrived that it’s like eating Mega Sour Lemon Candy – on an empty stomach.
Example (I’ve paraphrased to the best of my memory):
Setting – intimate scene between BELLA and EDWARD. EDWARD sensuously and slowly unbuttons BELLA’s top.
Bella: I know how to undress myself.
Edward: But I can do it better than you.
What? What? Who speaks like that? Who?
- But the winningest moment of the movie was when ‘he-woke-up-and-found-out-that-it-was-all-just-a-dream’.
To explain: the audience is made to believe that the fight sequence between the Volturi and Edward and Bella’s gang is real.
However, it’s subsequently revealed that the fight sequence is actually part of a vision shown to Aro by Alice of a possible ending (that goes badly for him) if he chooses to fight Edward and Bella’s gang.
The only redeeming grace of Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is that it (strangely enough) can be read as an allegory of Singapore society.
Or maybe I was just trying to make myself feel better about watching such a horrendous show…
For what it’s worth:
- The vampire covens are like the [redacted] people of Singapore – concerned about petty things (e.g. “imprinting”??? WTF man!), not wanting to speak up when it’s time to do so, not wanting to be involved in conflicts with the Gahmen, not wanting to be quoted in the newspapers… the list goes on.
- The werewolf packs are [redacted because Singapore but can ask me in private].
- The Volturi are – jang jang jang! – the PAP government which governs vampire (Singapore) society.
- Vampire society respects the Volturi out of fear; it’s an uneasy relationship between the vampires and the Volturi but so long as vampires can carry on cavorting in fields of violets, the status quo is allowed to remain.
- The Volturi want to clamp down on what they perceive as potential threats to their power, but they frame it as potential threats to vampire society (perpetual siege mentality/crisis mode).
- When vampire society decides to challenge the Volturi, there is a very high possibility that the Volturi might be undermined/overthrown (a la GE2011).
- Hence, the Volturi make some concessions to vampire society – which allows the Volturi to remain in power and vampire society to continue cavorting in fields of violets (artificial/constructed social compact).
- The threat of the Volturi snapping off the heads of vampires stil remains (climate of fear).
- Last but not least, Vladimir and Stefan are the SDP, which wants to be involved in any democratic conflict with the PAP government regardless of what the conflict is.
When the conflict is averted and the the artificial social compact allowed to remain, Vladimir and Stefan stage a protest.
When no one pays them any heed, Vladimir and Stefan run away to lick their wounds… and possibly avoid bankruptcy so they can return to fight another day (or in another election, at least).
* f-awrawrawrawrawrawr: Werewolvian for “fuck”.