Breaking Dawn: Is it more than just vampire sex?

Nov 18, 2011

SPOILER ALERT! If you don't want to know what happens in the movie, then come back and read this chat transcript after you've seen it. There will be spoilers.

The wait is over. As of Friday, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is in theaters for glittery vampire fans everywhere to enjoy. Nerd out with Jen Chaney, Monica Hesse and Melissa Bell about the movie in this live discussion Friday at 1 p.m. ET.

Topics being discussed include, but are not limited to:

a) The disgraceful lack of blood.
b) The new game: Name That Thing: It, fetus or baby?
c) Why do we love a movie that promotes anorexia, abusive sex, and misogyny?

Ask questions and submit your opinions about the movie (and/or book!) now.

Also, 30 minutes after seeing the movie, Jen, Melissa and Monica hopped on Gchat to discuss what they just saw. Read the Gchat transcript!

Note from the producer: There will be spoilers in this chat.  If you don't want spoilers, please come back and read the chat transcript after you've seen the movie! It'll be worth it.

We are here and ready to discuss "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" as well as any other Twilight-related issues that are on your mind.

As a starting point, I would just like to point out how awesome this is.

I know I shouldn't ask because so much of the "Twilight" series diverges from traditional vampire mythology, but... Why is Edward such a strange and violent lover? I thought vampires had really smooth moves and could at least charm their girls a bit to make it all a bit more tame. The pseudo-rape scenes (at least in the book) were a little much, especially for a teen novel.

The whole book is about repression of sexuality. Edward isn't a Don Juan, because he is supposed to be holding back to keep Bella from the bodice-ripping danger of being loved by a vampire. And you know what repression does? It makes weird, bad things boil out. 

I am thrilled to hear that we actually get to see the scene where Jacob imprints on ReFetusMe. One question though-he doesnt change her diapers does he? I mean, that's just too much!

I am glad that you recognize that, while it is not at all too much for a grown man to fall in love with the newborn infant that has just been gnawed out of the belly of her mother, who also happens to be the grown man's ex-makeout partner, diaper changing is what would push the storyline over the edge.

Oh, there's a whole 'nother movie with plenty of time for diaper-changing scenes.

No one seems to be addressing the question of the smell. It would seem to trump lust in most cases, wouldn't it?

Oh, excellent. We have someone who thinkgs there are zombies in Twilight. I was hoping we would get a newbie.  Please ask us about the banshees in the series next.

Let's address this issue on Monday, during the Celebritology Walking Dead recap. It is an important one, just not as pertinent to Twilight.

It's also about abortion! Or it brings up the issue in a round-about way.

I think it raises the issue in a pretty apparent way, yet in a way that makes it safe. It's much easier to see both sides of this issue when Bella has -- in Jacob's words -- a potential demon baby growing inside of her.

It's interesting that both men/boys want to have "it" removed while the women, most notably Rosalie and Bella, are more protective of the child. It's an argument that simultaneously suggests this is a woman's choice, but also that the choice should be to keep the child and not abort it.

 

One could also argue that it is about safe medical centers for women, and how those medical centers should typically be stocked with better technology than your 109-year-old husband's vampire teeth.

Speaking of their in-home medical facility, I kept thinking how much grief Tom Cruise got for buying a sonogram kit as a gift for Suri. He should befriend the Cullens.

Change of Topic to Hunger Games - how did you like the Trailer?

The end scene -- the race at the start of the Games -- saved it for me. The rest -- eh. I just wasn't that excited by the visuals. I mean really, Katniss' dress looked like something that random girl who hands out Oscars would wear. You're not going to charm a craven nation with that yawn.

I don't know, I liked it. Maybe I was distracted by the Wes Bentley-ness of it all, but I thought it showed potential to be a film we could take seriously.

I do agree with Melissa that if that dress we saw was indeed the fire outfit, it's kind of a disappointment.

I initially believed I was watching a trailer for a World War II  period flick -- the District 12 scenes are super retro -- followed by a 1980s prom movie (Katniss's dress = No). But I, too, was sold on the end. What did you think?

Who accredits celebritologists??

Jen Chaney anointed us only after we begged her to take us to the movie. But I hear if you compliment Lost a lot, she's open to more pleas for accreditation. 

Melissa speaks truth.

Actually, Celebritology accreditation is officially conferred by the Association of Celebritological Studies (ACS), a group that does some really astonishing scholarly work in the ever-growing field of Celebritology.

Twilight is a story about a young girl's struggle to choose between necrophilia and beastiality. We've all been there, right?

It is also about a young girl's struggle to choose between Jimmy Choos and Converse. I'm not going to spoil the ending for you, though.

And whether to look super-angsty in close-ups or just deeply concerned. Again, these are very hard choices.

Totally. You basically just described junior high for me. I really hope my mom doesn't read this. Hi, Mom!

Taylor Lautner looks better with that facial hair thing he had going on at the wedding. I'm just saying. - @

I would agree with that. This was the first time I saw him in one of these films and thought of him as a potential 18-year-old as opposed to a little boy.

We didn't mention this in our twi-nalysis, but -- spoiler -- I was surprised that he didn't take off his shirt more. I bet if you complain about that at your local Regal or AMC Cinemas they will discount a dollar off your ticket. (No, they probably won't. But try and see what they say.)

Jen, perhaps the lack of total shirtless time was compensated for the immediacy of the shirtlessness? Taylor's bare pectorals made their first appearance about 7 seconds into the movie, and were thus emblazoned on the brain for the next two hours.

That is true. "Breaking Dawn Part 1" absolutely set the record for fastest Lautner-clothed to Lautner-shirtless transition. 

Just as an aside, I love this Buffy/Twilight montage. It came out in 2009, but is totally relevant today. 

Oh, Marvelous!

Awesome. Thanks!

Speaking as a non Twilight reader/movie watcher, are these movies actually watchable in of themselves? Are they fun/thrilling/interesting as a movie or do you need to have read the book to appreciate them?

I'm going to say that it helps, really, a lot if you have read the books. I have been to screenings with people who hadn't read the books, and they spent a lot of the time either confused (The movies assume that you will be a sufficient enough fan to understand what every withering glance means) or annoyed. They also appeared to believe the series was a comedy.

Monica's right. Of course, speaking as a fan of the movies and the books, I too consider it a fine comedic work.

I only read the first book and then once the movies came out, I figured I'd just follow along from there.

I think they're better, as my counterparts said, if you've read the books beforehand. If you haven't, they can seem kind of ridiculous.

Who plays chess on their honeymoon? #BreakingDawn - @

Some people do. Cool people. Not that I'm saying people hosting this chat might have done that. Not that I am saying that at all.

I can see playing a game or two. I also can see how on your honeymoon, you might want to have sex more than once and also that you might have sex without immediately getting pregnant and skipping straight to your second trimester.

But I am admittedly weird that way.

Please tell me you've seen this.

I love you. And I love whoever's mind from which sprung this amazing work.

I have seen it, and it is as mind-blowing as the birth scene in "Breaking Dawn" to me.

It is perplexing, but no moreso than all of the Twilight series in general.

How does the movie promote anorexia?

Have you seen it yet? Since Bella's got a bundle of joy that's basically eating her from the inside out, the filmmakers portrayed her battle of the bulge by making her visually waste away. For the majority of the movie, she's severly underweight with a big ol' belly. I wasn't a fan of making one of the most popular female characters in a huge-budget film so friggin' skinny -- even if it was for the storyline.

I second Melissa. To people with healthy body images, Bella will look absolutely disgusting. To girls with distorted body images and disordered eating patterns, Bella's body could be seen as what the anorexic community calls "thinspirational" -- a perverse goal to strive for. I wasn't a fan of that special effect.

That being said, Bella is perceived as a negative female role models in about 16 other ways, so this might be the least of her fictional concerns.

I think it's valid to wonder whether young girls will see Skeletor Bella as attractive. But I also think anyone who does see her that way already has that propensity toward anorexia or body image problems, and could be pushed over the edge just as easily by imagery they might see elsewheee.

The movie makes it clear that she is sick and something is wrong. And even Jacob says she looks horrible. And obviously no one would volunteer to look horrible to Taylor Lautner, right?

Not really. I just had to drop in and ask you if you think Demi Moore planned to drop her divorce bomb after your chat was over yesterday? I thought her timing was in poor taste. Anyway, back to vampires and werewolves...

I, too, found the timing suspect. My feeling is that Demi realized that Jacob was only going to be single for a few years until ReFetusMe reached an appropriate age, and so she had better act fast if she wanted to hit that.

Monica, that is a fascinating theory.

I actually give Moore credit, in a weird way, for sharing the news the way people share divorce news when it's sad and they'd rather not have the media cover it but recognize they have no choice: around 5 pm with a prepared statement. As opposed to the Kim Kardashian Method, which is to broadcast it on a Monday morning and pretend like you're upset and didn't orchestrate the entire thing as a publicity stunt.

Also, there is no Celebritology chat for two weeks because of Thanksgiving so we can't discuss it for ages. I mean, clearly Moore was thinking about that, too, when she decided when to release her statement.

I'm a weirdo who gets squirmy and grossed out by puking in movies (I've noticed this trend where EVERY movie now has a puke scene regardless if it serves the story). I'm assuming with Bella's morning sickness we will get the puking scenes from the book, but can you tell me are there a lot? Are they graphic? I know I'm a total nerd already for asking this but please help a sister out

The good news: You are NOT a weirdo. It totally and completely bugs me that they do this now. Hollywood: We do not want vomit in our face! The bad news: There is one morning sickness scene. It is short and over fast. But it is still in there. Seriously, moviemakers cut away. We can fill in the rest just fine with our imagination.

The good news: You are given fair warning. Bella makes a run for the bathroom, and you know it's coming. Therefore, I chose that moment to avert my eyes and steal some of Melissa's popcorn.

I'm clearly in the minority here, but I'm pro-puke. We need more vomit in Hollywood movies, and we need it now.

Duh, he already did. Haven't you seen Interview with the Vampire?

Noooooo. The Cullens are terrified by Lestat. That's why the hang out around the happy, hippie people of Washington. They have no New Orleans edge.

It's true. If the Cullens were going to be friends with anybody in Ann Rice land, it would be Brad Pitt's tortured "I hate what  I am" character. Whose name I have forgotten because he is not a Cullen.

This raises a question: who were hotter vampires -- Cruise and Pitt or Pattinson and the Cullen crew?

Even though I was not a fan of "Interview," I still have to go Cruise/Pitt. Showing my age there....

Sigh. Why why why why why would I EVER consider seeing this movie (or reading the book in that case)? I read the first book and saw the first movie - only finished them because I wanted to see how laughable they got. Maybe Buffy DOES need to be remade (or at least re-aired) to counteract the whole Twilight phenomenon. Hurmph. Long Live Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I wrote a piece a couple of years ago about Twilight's popularity with smart, grown women who Should Know Better. My idea -- which I still believe -- is that the books are less about humans and vampires than they are about what it feels like to be 17. Whatever you think of the writing -- and most people don't think much of it -- Stephenie Meyer does a fairly amazing job of capturing the melodrama of falling in love for the first time. The books work as teenage time capsules.

I agree with what Monica just said 100-percent. 

From a female empowerment perspective, however, I second your Long Live Buffy motion.

And sometimes I just want a no-brainer, candy-coated, pretty-people book and/or movie. It's soothing.

Strip chess - lose a piece, lose a piece of clothing. Much more fun if it's combined with speed chess.

Bella and Edward did not play strip chess, although Bella did wear short-shorts during at least one game.

And that raises the sauciness level a couple of notches.

In all seriousness, if you want to see a sexy chess movie, you should see "Queen to Play." I really enjoyed it -- French movie with Kevin Kline.

At least one game? That girl wore nothing but itty-bitty, teeny-weeny shorts through the whole thing. Except for when she was parading around in the lingerie her new husband's sister packed for her. Which is just weird.

Jen -- Also "Searching for Bobby Fischer."

I will award ten points to the first person who can make a mashup of "Breaking Dawn" and "Searching for Bobby Fisher."

I thought the score was crazy good. And then I discovered that it's being penned by T. Bone Burnett AND Danny Elfman, and it all made sense. (And I was one of the people who was so disappointed at the back-to-the-wellness of Mockingjay that it was an open question of whether or not I'd see the flick at all.)

I had no idea they were behind it! But you are totally right. I didn't give appropriate points to the music. Go T. Bone.

I knew I would see it, because I can't not see it. And I'm also finally starting to buy Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, after being firmly in the Hailee Steinfeld camp.

And, yeah. Mockingjay was no good, right? It pains me to say, but sometimes trilogies should just be duo-logies. Do those exist? It's hard to think of good two-book series. Connie Willis's WWII time travel series comes to mind.

I stand behind my previous statement that I am looking forward to the movie.

Twilight and Sixteen Candles? Cullen as Ducky?

Well, that would be a Twilight and Pretty in Pink mash-up.

And in that scenario, I think Jacob is Duckie and Edward is Blaine. And Charlie, Bella's dad, is Harry Dean Stanton. And her mother picks up the phone and says, "Traxx. Whadda ya want?"

Not sure who Steff is in this scenario ... maybe Victoria?

Oh, I like this. This screams video mash-up. 

 

But if we really wanted to go 16 Candles, I feel that Anthony Michael Hall displaying Bella's underwear in a boys' bathroom in the middle of a school dance -- that would not at all have been out of place.

Oooo. I'm so Team Jake.

I am also not opposed to some sort of Breakfast Club scenario in which the Cullens have to spend a day in detention.

If you could go back and pick someone else to play Bella who would it be? Not hating on KStew, who is just fine, but wondering who any of you might pick?

I actually saw the first movie before I had read any of the books, so it's hard for me to picture anyone but KStew. Stephenie Meyes has said that while writing the books, she pictured combinations of Alexis Bleidel, Ellen Page and Anna Paquin, among others -- all of whom would have been too old for the part by the time the movie was made.

Yeah, for as much guff as she takes, Stewart is pretty perfect for the part. She's a very pretty young woman, but she's also very relatable -- not so gorgeous that's she unreal. And she has a teen awkwardness thing going for her that makes her seem like someone you could conceivably pass in the hall on the way to Trig class.

If you were casting it now, Shailene Woodley would not be a bad choice. She has similar qualities. And she was pretty greatl in The Descendants.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by to this chat. After seeing the movie, should you have further need to gush and/or groan about Breaking Dawn, please reach out to the three of us on our assorted emails and Twitters. Love -- Team ReFetusMe.

In This Chat
Jen Chaney
Also an accredited Celebritologist, Jen focuses on pop culture news and trends in the entertainment world.

In addition to overseeing movie content for the Post's Web site, she also writes regularly about film, DVDs and stars of screens large and small.

When she isn't blogging or at the movies, she's ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.

Celebritology Live Archive
Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

Read the The Web Hostess Archive .
Melissa Bell
Melissa Bell anchors BlogPost, The Washington Post’s sounding board for news and conversation reverberating online, and is a columnist for Style's Web InSites.
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