The Ingredients: ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2′ Confirms ‘Twilight’ is More ‘Princess Bride’ Than ‘Titanic’

We can admit there really aren’t a whole lot of films we can find in BD2 or the Twilight Saga as a whole. It’s nothing like the truly Christ-figure-centered Harry Potter series (and now Hunger Games series) or the original Star Wars trilogy. But the Star Wars prequels, which in part may have disappointed fans with such feminization, do have the love story upfront in a way that at times makes it seem more romance picture than space adventure. Like Titanic, though, it concludes with tragedy, the love further non-eternalized later with the lack of a Padme Force ghost. And the continuation of the story through the earlier (later-set) films is essentially about good/evil rather than romantic love.

So, we look to other romance pictures that stuck to concentrating on a love story as opposed to a hero’s journey, and it’s difficult to find any that aren’t compromised with split perspectives. Films that come to mind are Romancing the Stone and its sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, which pay tribute to romance novels in having a female protagonist swept up in an outlandish adventure otherwise dominated by the masculine hero. Those movies, though, tend to follow the hero’s path in a way that is more appealing to a male audience in terms of its action and rugged, rather than sappy, tone.

Similarly, The Princess Bride puts the male at the center of the story, which is why it doesn’t wind up being that bad of a “love story” for the young boy hearing it, even with the occasional kissing. Still, true love is the ultimate drive and goal for the narrative, and all the “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes,” etc. are sort of distractions for the genre fan to unknowingly follow what’s primarily a romance. Not that this was the first film to do this — think also of Buster Keaton’s romance-central action film The General and any movie directly based on The Odyssey — but it’s not so common nowadays.

Of course, the Twilight movies aren’t epically adventurous. Instead their distractions for the genre fan are based in the kinds of genre films more popular today, which likewise aren’t so grand in scope. Outcasts with internal struggles with their distinctly individual super powers are the norm over swashbuckling strongmen. The Saga is very much a romance for today than for all time — which is the way The Princess Bride seems to be, if only because its brand of genre distraction has been around longer in cinema.

But it also may be influencing the ingredients of many followers to come. The Amazing Spider-Man, for instance, puts romance a lot more centrally than most superhero movies even if primarily the story is about a personal conflict rather than romantic pursuit. Perhaps eventually — more likely with a female superhero than male — we’ll see the romance come out all the way in front. How soon, though? We’ll have to wait and see if it takes another 20 years for a fantasy-infused work so focused on romance as The Princess Bride and the Twilight series are to follow their example so successfully.


Also check out our reviews of the Twilight films:
Review: In Regards to Your Movie, ‘Twilight’

Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Review: Twilight: Eclipse
Review: ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1? or, You Don’t Even Know the Half of It
Review: ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2? is a Sparkling Example of Too Little Too Late

Rather than a reject, Christopher Campbell is a film school dropout. But he has since gotten a master’s degree in cinema studies and has been blogging about movies since 2005. Earlier, he reviewed films for a zine (a what?) that you could buy at Tower Records (a what?). He is married with two children.

Read More from Christopher Campbell
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