discusses the the differences between The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 1 - the book and the movie

In this week of Laura's( co-owner of The Twilight Lexicon) The twilight saga : Breaking Dawn columns on , She talks about the differences between The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - the book and what was portrayed on screen in Part 1.

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn' Countdown: Chh-Chhh-Chh-Changes to the Script

Apologies to David Bowie for this week’s title, but there were -- as with any book-to-screen adaptation -- several differences between the book and what was portrayed on screen in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.  Now, certainly no one expects every scene exactly as written in a novel to make it to the screen; inevitably things need to be condensed or left out all together. On the other hand, sometimes there is material that was never in the books to begin with that makes it onto the screen. The question is, given cuts, how effective is this new material when fans feel very protective of the original source?

The first major insertion of new material that leaps to mind in Breaking Dawn: Part 1 is the presence of Irina of the Denali Coven at Bella and Edward’s wedding. As every Twilight fan knows, Irina sets some major wheels into motion in the second half of the novel Breaking Dawn. Since the Denali Coven and their interaction with Laurent wasn’t focused on in New Moon, it left something of a gaping plot h*** that had to be addressed. It was interesting to see screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and director Bill Condon handle this dilemma. They deftly had Irina react to Seth’s presence at the wedding, have a flashback to Laurent, establish Irina’s romantic ties to him, and then have Irina storm off. That’s a lot of material to cover in roughly ninety seconds of film time, but they managed it. By doing so, they set the plot for Breaking Dawn: Part 2 securely on course.

Every film needs comic relief.

Certainly given the heavy themes of Breaking Dawn: Part 1, comedy is needed to occasionally lighten the mood. One of the best moments of comic relief took place during the wedding reception with the inclusion of the wedding toasts. Double entendres from Emmett, allusions to weaponry by Charlie, and acerbic comments from Jessica provided a nice contrast to the touching speeches of Esme and Edward. It all provided a glimpse into what no doubt took place at the wedding, but wasn’t included in the novel’s pages. On the other hand, what was sorely missed was the banter between Rosalie and Jacob. According to Nikki Reed, who plays Rosalie, the material was shot. Hopefully it lands on the DVD.

Another notable difference was the concept that the wolfpack was surrounding the Cullen home to effectively starve them out. This lead to a further change where Jacob provided a diversion for the Cullen family; they escaped to hunt while Jacob had a simultaneous meeting with the wolfpack.  The scene not only set up some interesting dialogue for Taylor Lautner, but it also provided an exciting chase sequence between the Cullens and the wolves. One of the criticisms of the novel Breaking Dawn when it first came out was that it lacked action. The extra tension added by writing in this material certainly provided an element of action not found in the novel, and at the same time showcased fan-favorite characters like Jacob and Emmett.

The two most notable changes causing frenzied online discussion occur at the end of the film. The battle between the Cullen and wolves once Renesmee is born is entirely new. In the novel, though things are tense, they never get to the level of an actual physical confrontation, let alone one with life or death stakes. When Bella awakens from her transformation, Edward simply tells her that Jacob had a discussion with Sam and things are now fine. Again, by adding in this scene, Rosenberg tacks on an extra level of drama, tension, and action to the story.

The last change might be called more of a point-of-view shift though, granted, it is new material. In the brief scene that you'll only see if you remain for the credits, Aro receives a phone message that Bella has been turned into a vampire. He makes it clear that the conflict with the Cullens is not over because Carlisle now has something he wants---Bella. Aro was interested in adding Bella, Edward, and Alice to his collection of talented vampires back in New Moon. Now that Bella is no longer human, he wants to have her. He banks on the fact that since she was an extraordinary human, she’d have an extraordinary vampire talent. This information is a glimpse into seeing what will drive the action of Breaking Dawn: Part 2. It sets up the idea that Irina arriving with information about Renesmee just provides the excuse Aro needs to confront the Cullens.

So checking out all of these changes that added material in, the question remains: Do fans support this material? Are they happy with it? Melissa Rosenberg has stated that her benchmark for satisfaction is Stephenie Meyer. With Meyer as a producer this time out she would have presumably been in a position to axe any unwanted material. It seems logical that she supported the changes.

What is your final vote on more material coming in? Is it a thumbs up, a thumbs down, or a mixed bag?

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Comment by J Stocking on December 3, 2011 at 3:49pm

I was okay with most of the changes in the film. I would have liked to see the dog dish scene between Jacob and Roalie. I also wasn't that happy with Edward being so complacent about Jacob imprinting on his new daughter. Edward's character had started to show emotion in this film and then after that- it was kind of a let down. I'm hoping the only reason it was that way right now is because it was close to the end of the movie and there will be more confrontation about it in the second half. Stephenie's strength as a writer is in her character development, which is why people love her books. She has developed them so well that one could walk into a room where they may be and go up and not feel awkward talking to them. It's like they become one of your close friends. However, her "action" scenes were not her strengths at least when she wrote the series. Melissa did a good job with the changes not making it her work, but an extension of Stephanie's. I didn't feel it was clear that Aro wanted Bella in the last part at all. We know he wanted Alice and Edward from New Moon. We also know that he felt Bella would make an "intriguing" immortal if she became one. I hope the last movie isn't based on him wanting only her. IMO that would defeat the purpose of who he is. Aro is a greedy, control freak vampire who is power crazy. He wants anything that will help strengthen him and his cause- which is all three of the Cullens.  I am looking forward to the BD Part 2. I was unhappy with Eclipse (it was my favorite book), but they have more than made up for it with Breaking Dawn Part 1.  I hope a count down clicker is started soon because I can't wait! ;)

Comment by Isabel Rodriguez on December 3, 2011 at 9:11pm

You're not right about Carlisle "phoning in" the news that Bella is now a vampire. What the message was meant to only entail is that E&B were married, and hence has now joined the Cullen coven; not that she was just made a vampire. In canon, Alice sent the Volturi an ANNOUNCEMENT of E&B's marriage after the wedding when she had a vision of the Volturi visiting Forks to "check in" on Bella's status. Alice's announcement was meant as a delay and a temporary appeasement. This would be what Carlisle's call to the Volturi entailed in the movie, not the announcing of her transformation. Therefore, what Aro hints at "wanting" is his interest in Edward and Alice. While he was certainly intrigued with Bella in NM, it is his want for Edward and Alice to join him at Volterra that fuels the confrontation that is to come in BD Part II. Bella becomes a part of that want once Aro's sees her for himself on that snowy field and reviews Edward's mind and memories of her. 


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