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.
What makes a scene in a book iconic? It’s hard to pinpoint the exact requirements, but those iconic moments are the ones that fans quote back verbatim, or the ones that create vivid mental images. When those books move to screen adaptations, do those iconic moments come through? Are there, in fact, new iconic moments based on the switch of medium?
Back in December, I decided to talk about the top ten iconic moments in the Twilight Saga films. I soon realized that there were so many iconic moments in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 that I was going to have a tough time limiting the list. So, I decided to split the list in two. This week, let’s explore the iconic moments of Breaking Dawn Part 1, and what may be in store for part 2.
Right away the wedding leaps to mind when talking about iconic Breaking Dawn images. After all, the wedding is what the entire series was leading up to. So, is there a way to say that there is a single, definable moment at that wedding? Actually, there’s not one, but two.
As much press as the wedding reveal dress received, one iconic moment seems not to be the dress unveiling so much as Kristen Stewart and Billy Burke’s intimate dialogue where the nervous Bella says, “Don’t let me fall,” and Charlie responds, “Never”. It was one of the first tear jerker moments for many fans.
The second wedding moment came post-ceremony with Edward’s speech. After a number of double entendre toasts from Emmett, and Charlie making thinly veiled references to his prowess with firearms, viewers get a sincere moment as Edward explains what the marriage means to him. This very public declaration of love stands out amongst the lavish wedding montage. It‘s a rare moment of total honesty from Edward that gives it iconic status.
Now if fans were looking forward to the wedding, they were doubly looking forward to the honeymoon. Online debate raged over wanting an R-rated cut. Could PG-13 be sexy enough? Would the memorable scenes of the book come through? Here is where the movie delivered both an iconic book scene and delivered a new one.
In the books there is a fade to black when it comes to the specifics of the honeymoon. In the movie version, we were able to see more (well, as much as PG-13 will let you see) and in doing do we hit what may be the iconic moment of Part 1. That would be the headboard crack heard 'round the world. As soon as the teaser was shown, it was the image on thousands of icons and animated gifs. Team Headboard tee shirts sprung up. About the only thing that didn’t happen was the headboard having its own Twitter account.
The other honeymoon iconic moment was Bella waking up to the feathers. It’s a standout book moment and one that was very important to fans. Clearly, it was something that director Bill Condon immediately identified as important. The very first photo released from the film was a shot of Bella’s hand resting languidly on a bed sheet strewn with feathers. This imagery was even enhanced once the shot was seen in context with Bella’s morning-after bliss.
It gets a little tougher to talk iconic moments during Bella’s pregnancy because it’s a lot of anger and turmoil. Those tense moments all start to blend together; however, there is one standout moment. It’s memorable because it doesn’t have the angry and intense tone that marks most of the pregnancy. The entire moods shifts when Edward realizes that he can hear the baby and decides that the baby isn’t a monster. His complete turnaround is what does it. He now knows that baby isn’t a creature; rather, someone who can love and needs to be loved. It certainly qualifies as tearjerker material. There’s a certain shot of wonder and complete awe that encapsulates that specific point.
One of the last iconic moments could have gone badly so many different ways. In the hands of a less skilled director, Jacob imprinting on Renesmee could have been seen as anything from comical to creepy. Instead Bill Condon and Taylor Lautner manage to create a moment that Jacob describes as a gravitational pull. The image of Jacob falling to his knees with a complete change in attitude is that iconic moment.
The final iconic moment is Bella’s first second as a vampire. It’s hard to forget Bella’s red, vampire eyes as they snap open. Next to the headboard and feathers, they are the next most often used image from the movie. You could hear audience members shout “yes!” when that image popped up on the screen punched up by the music of Carter Burwell.
With all these saga-defining points in the Breaking Dawn script, it’s obvious that Bill Condon had a very tall order to deliver. It also leads to the question of what’s in store for Part 2? Are there as many iconic moments in the second part, or will there be only one or two gems, as was the case with the first three movies in the Twilight Saga? In 308 days, we’ll find out when Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters.