Full review of Breaking Dawn Part 1 available at the Herald.

Actually, still deep in other work, so I don’t have much time to get into it here. As a whole, the Twilight series continues to be so divisive that anti-Twilight sentiment has pushed some of its former detractors into positions as apologists, arguing (with some rightness) that the series has drawn more hatred and mockery just because it’s for girls. Meanwhile, boys’ stuff like Transformers–and essentially all other blockbuster movies–pulls disproportionately little ire, because boys’ interests are infinitely more acceptable.

To which I would say “Agreed,” followed immediately by “But that doesn’t change the fact Twilight is crazy and also sucks.” Breaking Dawn is the best example of that yet. The first half is a conflict-free drift of Edward and Bella’s wedding, Edward and Bella boning on their honeymoon until she passes out and he apparently beats her up(?), which shames him so bad he refuses to bone her again–so long as she’s human, anyway.

Which confused this non-fan, as I didn’t know whether there were plans to ever make her a vampire (and thus capable of handling the vampire-stick), meaning their married life would be as chaste as their prior life, which.. well, quit fucking whining already, big guy. So you gave her a few bruises. She seems to have liked it, but if that’s the sort of thing that will make you decide to never have sex with your wife again, maybe you should have figured that out BEFORE you made a lifelong commitment to her. This just in: Breaking Dawn secretly criticizes waiting until marriage! Abstinence is a farce! It’s werecats living with weredogs!

Then, of course, Bella gets pregnant after their single tumble in the hay. Instantly, her life is no longer singlemindedly devoted to Edward, but to the half-vampire fetus that is literally eating her from the inside and which Dr. Vampire confirms will kill her. I don’t even want to get into the political subtext of this, but it makes her undying love for Edward suddenly feel very mortal indeed, to the point that it can’t help but suggest she was never really in love with him to begin with–just madly, self-negatingly infatuated with him.

Which dovetails nicely with a lot of the criticism of Twilight as a whole: Bella doesn’t really have a personality of her own, and she’s looking to extinguish whatever bits she does have through her obsessions with other people. I guess that’s why the series is so popular: with such a generic protagonist, readers and viewers can instead project as much of themselves as they want onto Bella.

So sure, Twilight isn’t really as bad as twenty Hitlers. (It’s like two Hitlers, tops.) But for plenty of men, women, boys, and girls, its two lovestruck leads offer nothing of interest. Before I could begin to start caring about the crazy melodrama of Bella’s life, she’d need to learn to care a lot more about herself.

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