Laura Byrne-Cristiano is a co-owner of The Twilight Lexicon, the longest continuously operating Twilight Saga fansite on the web. You can read her Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn column here on Movies.com every other Thursday.
After receiving our first tempting glimpse of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 footage back in June when the teaser debuted at the MTV Movie Awards, fans were elated to get the full trailer on September 13th, Bella Swan’s birthday. So how does this trailer stack up against its predecessors? Are there any elements that were left out, or were too many liberties with storyline taken? There are a couple of key elements to look at.
The first area, without question, is romance. Above all what attracts fans to The Twilight Saga is the romance factor. It’s classic Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. With all that in mind, stunningly, not since the original Twilight movie has the romance played such a significant part in any trailer. In the Breaking Dawn Part 1 trailer Bill Condon and company clearly deliver with multiple wedding and honeymoon shots. It leaves fans wanting to see those scenes and wonder what else he has in store.
Next up is CGI. We’ve come a long way from Twilight and its meager budget. Remember the cheesy effects of the fast moving vampires? In Twilight they were smudgy blurs that looked like they were created in iMovie by someone who dropped out of film school. Chris Weitz first raised the bar in the New Moon trailer with the explosive wolves, and David Slade took it up another level in Eclipse with the newborn battle. Now it looks like Bill Condon has improved on both those elements. The Cullens do battle for Bella and Renesmee with Ashley Greene, with Jackson Rathbone clearly seen leading the charge. More importantly is that Condon has created a wolf pack where every wolf is highly distinct in color, bulk, and expression.
The element of danger is clearly present in this trailer too. Whereas the first three films had one enemy to worry about each time, this trailer makes clear that we have a battle on two fronts and each front is given equal time: the wolf pack and the baby. There are also glimmers of a third front, the Volturi, that won’t fully play out until the second movie.
The trailer itself has over 100 highly unique shots. This is impressive in of itself, but it’s the details in these shots that’s really amazing. Fans can spend hours freeze-framing and picking out subtleties. I spent roughly an hour screen capping and gawking at the richness in the pictures. Many of these were highly faithful to the novel. Some of my favorites include Jacob zooming to the Cullen’s house on his bike, his heartfelt dance with Bella, and the teary-eyed shot when he realizes his world is completely falling apart. I adored the honeymoon sequence and Edward’s profession of last night being the best night of his existence. My all time favorite, however, was the transformation of Bella from nervous bride, to afterglow with feathers, to the drastic, death-mask look of her pregnancy.
Of course as with any movie there are departures from the novel. Since the novel Breaking Dawn is told from Bella’s and Jacob’s points of view, there are clearly things that happen, but aren’t seen by the readers because those two characters aren’t physically there. One of my favorite parts of the Twilight Saga movies is seeing these alternate points of view brought to life. In the current trailer seeing the anguish on Charlie’s face, and Aro’s scheming in Volterra are the first two that leap to mind.
The only departure that is meeting with a little bit of fan controversy is what seems to be an out-in-out battle between the Cullens and the wolf pack. In the novels a battle is threatened but it never comes to fruition. On the other hand, maybe it did -- could confrontation have happened while Bella was giving birth while Edward, Jacob, and Bella were focused on other things? Then when Bella wakes up three days later no one really mentions it? Who knows? Regardless, a wolf battle with Edward and Jacob present is certainly not part of the books, but is it a deal breaker for fans? Does it ruin the movie? In my opinion, no.
So all-in-all how does this trailer rate among fans? If a poll I ran over at the Twilight Lexicon is any indication, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is everyone’s favorite by a landslide. A whopping 85% (at the time of this writing) rated it as their favorite with the original Twilight coming in a distant second. Mitzie from our Facebook page said, “It makes you want to go and read the book again!!” and Melanie from the same page echoed ,“ It’s 20 out of 10! This one looks like it's going to be the best one yet! I'm so excited!”
So what were you favorite moments of the trailer? Where does it rank against the previous ones?
Just 63 days until we all get the big payoff: the entire movie.