09 June, 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1: Trailer Anaylsis

To quote River Song... Spoliers! Yes, I will discuss Breaking Dawn bits, so if you don't want to know what happens, stop reading.

If you want to refresh yourself with the trailer, it's in the post below this one.

So the trailer... Getting hitched and knocked up never looked so exciting! And I don't mean that in an "I condone this behavior" type of way, but wow... the people who edited together this trailer really earned their paycheck.  Breaking Dawn is not a complicated book. In comparison to the other books in the saga, it's a bit longer, but not much more complex. The main component that covers every page with text is discussion about love, self doubt, self realization, emotion, and inner conflict. There's a wedding, a honeymoon, a transformation/birth, a threat, a battle (kinda), and a resolution, but the editors of the trailer made it look truly EPIC.

I still stand by that Breaking Dawn did not NEED to be broken into two films. I don't think Harry Potter 7 required a split into two films, but I really, really think it benefitted from two as it had so much ground to cover-- literally and figuratively. There was a massive journey, a search for multiple horcruxes, people and landmarks, there were various battles, new characters, and complex issues that require background introductions and time to digest (like horcruxes and hallows).  Breaking Dawn doesn't really have that complexity. Wedding, honeymoon, pregnant, horrific birth, new life, threat, resolution. There are complex emotions, but not complex plot points.

...That's not a criticism, just a comment. It didn't NEED to be split... but I don't think anyone will really mind, minus those naysayers who are sick of hearing about the phenomenon! They'll get over it... until then, putting Breaking Dawn out in two parts extends the franchise, appeases the fans with a longer shelf life for their obsession, and gives multiple more events for fans to interact with and get pumped up about (DVD releases, theatrical premieres, two more MTV Movie Awards instead of one, two more rounds of TV and print interviews, two years instead of one for merchandise production etc.). Business-wise its a smart move, and most fans will be stoked that they will see more of their favorite novels instead of coming to terms with the vast amounts of info that would have to be cut from the novel to fit into one film.

The split: I've heard it will be part one with Bella as a human, part two as a vampire. I'm guessing the last shot will be Bella opening her eyes-- blood red eyes; perhaps quickly preceded by a cooing baby and a love-struck werewolf downstairs, and I'm guessing that the beginning of Part 2 will begin with Jacob's Point of View... I'm still pondering how they'll do that, but I've some ideas.

Okay, onto the trailer; speculation can happen in the comments or in another post later if anyone feels so inclined :)

Opening screen: In the past, each film has had a color scheme to it (see the bottom of this post) I quite like the blood-red/pinkish hues they're going with here and the literal 'breaking dawn' of the light through the Summit logo.

Threat reminder: We are then giving an extended montage of images of the various characters and camps being presented with a document (we all know what it is, but it's not revealed yet). We start with the Volturi-- a great upshot as the doors open onto the thrones, depicting the Volturi as tall, dominant, and almost god-like; the framing in the door also provides ceremony and pomp, and the music begins to build here. It's rather epic already, and we're only :24 in. We're engaged, reminded about the Volturi threat (interesting that they're first--- Bad guys! Alert! This film has bad guys! It's not all about love!)

Parent reminder: Next it goes to the parents: I love how Charlie looks defeated. Grumbling, not so thrilled, but resigned, and Renee kind of smug (like in the book how she wasn't surprised, and told Bella she was expecting it), and pleased.

--- Cut to the release date ----- (oooo it's all red and black and gives a date to get excited about, and has the ambiguous "on November 18" building suspense (you ask, what? What? What's on November 18?!)

Other Love Reminder: Remember that other guy? Yup, he's still here too.  Shirtless, of course, and pissed that his love is marrying a Cold One. It's in the rain, perhaps echoing his emotions, his dad following him into the downpour, calling out to him, and Jacob just too angry to respond or care; immediately stripping and going wolf. We're reintroduced to this conflict, we are shown that he's upset and running away... and he's shirtless. Again.

The Reveal: Ooooo an invitation! Squeal! Emotional wedding!

--- cut to: "You are Cordially Invited"-- this is great; it breaks up the trailer, gives the viewer pauses and beats to engage with the material, and it directly involves the viewer/fan in the trailer. On November 18, YOU are invited ----

Now it all gets a bit fast...

Shot of the aisle, guests strewn around-- I've two things here

1) It's quite identical to the images splattered around the internet of inspirations for a Twilight wedding; it incorporates the beautiful outdoor elements alluded to in the text, really bringing the lush nature established in Hardwicke's Twilight through to this fourth installment; this is a good matching of textual description and audience expectation.

2) Did you catch Stephenie Meyer, Wyck Godfrey (producer) and Melissa Rosenberg (screenwriter) in the congregation? In front of Boo Boo Stewart, second to last row, on the left. Cute.

Shot of Bella gripping Charlie's arm: even the nervous energy Stewart emits screams Bella; shots to her ring, to her 1918-esque hair comb, huge, epic choir music beginning to build, operatic voices enter and build... all of these elements rise to the big reveal of:

The reluctant but stoked bride.

Cut to:
"From the World Wide Bestseller" -- this gives another beat, and restates the drama, the epic-ness of this story, and it establishes the continuing phenomenon.

Rio: The next shot of Rio de Janeiro introduces the entry to the honeymoon location (true to the book), and incorporates the first dialogue of the trailer (of course it's Pattinson/Edward). "We'll start with forever"... I'm guessing these are his vows.

The Headboard: Of course that had to be in the trailer... the hottest PG-13 moment in teenage girl history. And we've seen the shot with the feathers, so we know that makes it into the film as well (this is definitely a match of fan expectation here; you better believe fans will be looking forward to their first moments together). So we've got smashing headboards, shots of them in bed, and then cutting to red words on a black backdrop: 


Then a beautiful, idyllic shot in the waterfall....

----IS ONLY THE BEGINNING--- it sounds sweet, doesn't it? But actually, it's a transition tool to bring THE THREAT back into the shot as we immediately cut to one pissed-off Volturi, a PJ-clad, worried Edward, a dejected and wandering Jacob, people being thrown all over the place, and then... the music dies down... and we get this:

Our girl is knocked up. Good dramatic cap to the building tension, building music, they quickly take us through the wedding, the honeymoon, the conflicts and  the threat... and then lay on the crazy element of a vampire pregnancy. She's stunned, but seems in awe with the fact (in line with the book) and then there's Edward:

How's that for a "man on fire" look? He looks slightly constipated, but I think you can begin to see that Dad is not very thrilled about this fact...

Cut to:

Titles (just in case you weren't sure which trailer you were watching) and I enjoyed the well-timed chimes-- chime 1 for the title, chime 2, about two seconds later, for the "Part 1." Even just stating the "Part 1" aspect raises the stakes as it leads the viewer to expect something epic, a la Harry Potter 7: 1.

All in all, it's a well put together trailer that makes teenage marriage and a surprise baby seem like the plot of a Die Hard movie.

I certainly have my reservations, but I'm still stoked and rather happy with the look and pace of things thus far. But reservations-- I think this book was a fun read, but it read like fan fiction a lot of the time-- which I thoroughly enjoyed; it's fun to spend time with your characters and go on pages and pages of exploration into their head-- but it's not as plot driven as the other books. I think splitting it into two could be problematic, and I'm guessing that they will spend a lot of the first movie re-establishing the threat of the Volturi, and cutting away to introduce the extended coven that will play a larger role in part 2 (The Denali clan, the Amazons, the Irish posse etc.).

We shall see, eh? Until then, I'm thesis-ing my FACE off (not really, but it feels like it), trying to finish by September. I'll be presenting on adaptation at Leaky Con this summer and leading a workshop there (anyone coming?), and things are really starting to roll with Elfin Productions, more on that soon too.  So, as I finish up my thesis, the next chapter of life is beginning.

 I'm glad that my next life-chapter doesn't involve a vampire baby.

(p.s. All screenshots taken from the IMDB spotlight trailer

06 June, 2011

Just in case you haven't seen it yet...

The first Breaking Dawn trailer has hit the internet and all are in a kerfuffle over busting headboards and Little Nudgers :)

Link to the trailer here, or you can just watch it below 

I'm going to take a break from PhD Thesis Land later today or tomorrow to provide a little trailer analysis since I haven't done that in an age and there's all sorts of fun stuff to discuss with this. It'll be a nice distraction from genre theory and practical applications of adaptation and remediation on popular event film culture....zzzzz... yup... welcome to my life.

Watch out for the cameo of Wyck Godfrey (producer), Melissa Rosenberg (screenwriter), and Stephenie Meyer (if you need me to tell you who she is, I'm not really sure why you're at my blog :) at the wedding scene. Back row, on the left.