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Ghosting Across The Landscape

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As the release of The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, Part 1 continues to dominate box office receipts, it has earned over 250 million in the first seventeen days since its premier on November 18th, 2011. Its difficult to assess which of the four installments, based on Stephanie Meyer’s love story between Bella, a teenage mortal and Edward, an immortal vampire, is best. I suppose it depends on which part of the story resonates most with the person reading the book; beginning, middle or the end.

My preference still remains the second book, New Moon. In this part of the story Edward decides on his own that it is best for Bella that he remove himself from her life. Rather then treating her as an adult and letting her participate in the decision, he disappears for the rest of the book then re-emerges at the very end. Although this suggests they had a co-dependent relationship, it merely implies that vampires can be as insensitive as mortals.

Bella’s depression, crushed from his rejection is visceral to anyone who has had a similar experience; withdrawing from life unable to utter his name and flirting with danger in the hope of somehow capturing his attention. A vulnerable place to form a close friendship with Jacob, two years her junior, another kind of immortal being, a Native American who can change into a wolf, and has the ability to pull her back from isolation by mending the broken pieces of her heart, then falling in love with her. Its the suffering that is so identifiable that makes the reader care for Bella and the way she grapples with her pain.

All the important arcs in the novel develop from this place, where her despair emanates and hope seems lost until Edward, thinking that Bella has committed suicide, decides to end his own existence, later proclaiming, “I couldn’t live in a world without you.” Bella puts the rejection aside an flies to Italy, in a plane,  to save him from suicide and confronts the gods that rule the underworld, the Volturi offering her life in exchange for his. Only when it is agreed that Bella will become a vampire, does she escape death.

Breaking Dawn captures the last stage of Bella’s transformation into an immortal. The film, directed by Bill Condon and screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg chronicles her marriage, honeymoon and unexpected pregnancy. Although vampires have sex, and enjoy it, they have not been known to breed. It sympathizes, as does the book, with the issues surrounding a mothers right to make the choice to continue a pregnancy even at risk of her own life; everyone else seems to know whats best for Bella and treats her like a child so much so that she needs a bodyguard, Rosalie, to protect her decision.

Although it only lasts for three weeks, its a difficult pregnancy characterized by severe malnutrition, broken bones and an irregular heart beat. Only then, Edward is forced to change her into a vampire. After a bloody Cesarean section he injects a syringe of his venom directly into her heart and proceeds to encircle her lifeless body, biting her arms legs and neck.

Bella lies motionless as the venom heals her body, changing her into a new born immortal; a life she felt she belonged to throughout the three previous books. Memories pass in reverse using flashbacks from the previous movies as her      heart slows, then stops. Surrounded by the Cullen clan, her eyes open and they are now red. This is where the movie, Breaking Dawn, Part 1 ends.

How will Bella adjust to immortality? The fans will have to wait until December 2012 to find out. Already filmed, it wont be released until then. But, If anything can be said about the last installment using the book as the basis, it will most certainly include all the events that will happen from now before the words, …”and she lives happily ever after,” are uttered.

The film has a running time of 117 minutes and is rated PG-13 and although it remains faithful to the novel, it was not my favorite part of the story.