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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

June 28, 2011 at 10:25 AM

A pause for “Breaking Dawn” (ouch)

Over the weekend, due to an excellent sale at my neighborhood used-book store, I bought and read the final book in the “Twilight” saga, “Breaking Dawn.” (Why did I read it now, when the movie’s not coming until November? I always struggle, when reviewing books-turned-movies, over whether to read the book first or see the movie first. It’s important, I think, to have read the book when it’s something very well known — readers of the book will want to know if the movie is faithful to it — but it’s also ideal to approach the movie with fresh eyes. In a perfect world I’d see the movie first, then read the book, but that’s almost never possible due to last-minute screening schedules. So I’ve found that, whenever possible, reading the book several months before the movie works well, to give it time to fade.)
And . . . well, I’ve said before that I’m not a big fan of Stephenie Meyer’s writing, but . . . this is one weird book. I do not envy director Bill Condon, who needs to find a way to convey quite possibly the most blood-drenched birth in history (that baby has teeth!), not to mention headboard-breaking sex, without getting an R rating. I do not envy screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, who needs to turn the book’s second half — basically a bunch of vampires sitting around talking alertly — into a movie. (How do you interest audiences in a lot of conversation, however scary it may be, once they’ve seen a vampire birth?) I do not envy Kristen Stewart, whose character of Bella is even more personality-free this time around; likewise Taylor Lautner, whose abs will not be able to help him convey the bizarre concept of “imprinting” on a baby. (Best not to think about it too much. LA LA LA . . . .) And I can only relay my own comment, upon finishing the book (it’s a very, very quick read, despite its absurd length, as it’s almost all conversation and repetition of people’s names) and tossing it to my living room floor: “THE HELL?”
Anyway. Lots of better books in the sea. (I’m reading a Frank Sinatra biography now, for some reason.) And maybe it’s OK now and then to read a book and NOT think, oh, the movie won’t be as good. Sorry, “Twilight” fans; little danger of that.

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