|fidesquaerens (fidesquaerens) wrote,|
@ 2011-11-21 07:39 pm UTC
Taylor Lautner gets the award for best performance here. And I say that as an avowed member of Team Edward. The situations he had to face were really quite interesting, and he pulled it off really well, so that his final decision to imprint with Bella's daughter (forget her name) was really quite touching. Kristen Stewart's acting skill has also really grown by leaps and bounds, so that her choices likewise were believable.
Speaking of Bella's character, Breaking Dawn reminded me of a train of thought that has occurred to me several times, certainly since New Moon, and I think I saw it back in the original Twilight as well: Bella is pretty much the textbook definition for the anti-virtuous person in Aristotle. In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle tells us that the virtuous (good) person is the person who behaves in the right way, at the right time, etc. This standard takes our personal character into consideration but we don't get to define what's right. So for example, Mr. Monk climbing up a ladder might be a supreme act of bravery whereas for most people it's no big deal. We have to act in the way that is appropriate given the situation and our character. One of Aristotle's big things is that we're supposed to avoid the two extremes – but of course what is extreme will vary based on the situation and the individual.
If you've sat through an intro-ethics class and learned the doctrine of the mean, then perhaps Twilight screams out as an example of the kind of analysis Aristotle was talking about. You have werewolves, on the one hand, who are warm and feel emotion too keenly; and on the other hand, you have werewolves who are too removed from situation. You have dichotomies in skin tone, body temp, etc. And then you have humans stuck in the middle. Which is precisely where they are supposed to be, it seems. Edmund regularly talks about being a vampire as a curse that he would not wish on anyone; and even Jacob recognizes that being a werewolf means he lacks a certain choice. Certainly he thinks being a human is best for Bella.
Now, an Aristotelian could make the case that both Edmund and Jacob are mistaken. For Bella, turning into a vampire might be the way to embrace the good; as she says at the end of (I think) Eclipse, she has been literally stumbling through life. I was all prepared to make that kind of analysis. But then in Breaking Dawn, Bella goes and shows how given to extremes she is once again. When she gets pregnant, Bella refuses to even consider aborting the baby. Now, think what you will about abortion (and I could do a whole post on Bella's pregnancy), the fact that she is willing to face death as an almost certainty in order to have a child is an… extreme act, to put it mildly. It's all the worse given that she did not intend to get pregnant, and in earlier movies was willing to give up procreation in order to become immortal.
On a related note, Edward's defensiveness definitely crossed a line for me, from slightly obsessive protecting to full-out abusive (or at least extremely controlling) behavior. What did it was his reaction to Bella's pregnancy. When he finds out about the child, his "concern" is for her – but the concern really read like an attempt to control her destiny. I didn't see any awareness that Bella was her own adult who could make her own decisions. Nor did Edmund seem concerned at all for his child. This was not two parents deciding whether to carry a child to term, which could conceivably be a case of competing parental rights (to say nothing of fetal rights, past a certain point of development). Rather, it was Edward saying that Bella had to survive – she no longer had a choice in the matter. The attempt at control/blow-up/apology cycle was one I think entirely too many survivors of DV would find familiar.
The one criticism I can really make of the movie as a movie was that it relied too much on the other parts. I don't think it would have made sense to people that weren't already fairly familiar with the characters and backstories. Even for me, it felt like the beginning was a bit rushed. Still, once I got into I,t it was pretty enjoyable – as enjoyable as I usually find Twilight, at any event!