Ed. Note: This is a spoiler review of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" by NHL player Bobby Ryan, as told to Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy.
The moment during "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" when Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan most seriously considered walking out of the theater was "a werewolf scene where they started talking inside of each other's heads or whatever."
Ryan leaned over to his girlfriend and said, "You actually have to be kidding me" as the scene unfolded. He then turned to Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and asked how he was supposed to review this film with a straight face.
He said Brown replied, "I'm glad I'm not you."
Ryan attended the Los Angeles premiere of the film on Monday, sitting with some players from the Kings who walked out en masse 20 minutes into the film. Hey, they're Hollywood, they know from quality film.
(And yes, Ryan was within swinging distance of players from his team's SoCal foil, apparently without incident. If you ever wondered how vicious on-ice rivals are able to bury their blood feuds for a night, it's through the power of tween vampire cinema.)
Ryan stayed until the end -- the completely absurd end -- out of a sense of duty: To his girlfriend seated next to him, to the film review he knew he had to give to ThePostGame.com the next day; and because, frankly, this NHL star is a self-admitted Twi-Hard.
Not many professional players are forthright with their pop culture obsessions, but Ryan, 24, is a vampire nut. He consumed Stephanie Meyers' "Twilight" series much like he consumed virtually anything that featured undead blood-suckers while growing up. "I've been obsessed with everything vampire related since I was 11 or 12 years old. The old Draculas, everything like that," says Ryan, who counts the action-heavy "Eclipse" as his favorite of the "Twilight" books.
For the uninitiated: The "Twilight" series follows the romance of 104-year-old vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who falls in love with Bella Swan (Kristin Stewart), a mopey teenager, who eventually has to choose between Edward and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), her frequently bare-chested confidant/lycanthrope. The books and films are seen as commentaries on freedom of choice, free will and sexual abstinence. Also, Edward Cullen's skin sparkles in the sunlight.
"Breaking Dawn" was the fourth and final book of the cycle and has been split into two films: "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1," and you can probably guess the other title. And what a grand finale it was! Edward and Bella get married; have violent, property-destroying sex; she becomes pregnant with some kind of vamp/human demon seed; and, in perhaps the most memorable moment in young adult vampire lit history, a werewolf falls in love with a baby. More on that later.
Bobby Ryan had mixed feelings about "Breaking Dawn" as a book. "It stayed true to the characters," he says. "The storyline was OK. But the people that were after [Bella] kind of come around and start to help her. Traditionally, vampires are ... I don't want to call them loners, but they don't usually run with others. And all of a sudden, there's 50 vampires that are on her side.
"The story jumps, and it all happens so fast. It's like, 'Over four books, you couldn't have developed this any quicker?'"
Ryan says the film suffers from a lack of action and a lot of melodrama, paced to fill the span of two movies. "It was a 'Let's feel sorry for somebody' movie," he says. "There wasn't a lot of action like there was in the past. There was an anticlimactic buildup. It was just boring. There's one fight and it's cheesy. It ends up being broken up because of love. It's unbelievable."
The much-anticipated wedding of Edward and Bella was a good scene with "some good comedy added into it," Ryan says.
Then the happy couple leaves for an island near Rio de Janeiro; and then the sex, which had only been implied in the book, happens on-screen in a bruising, room-busting romp.
"Going from implied sex to that scene was a little rough, and from what my girlfriend told me they had to even dull it down from what they originally shot because of the tweens being the focal point," Ryan says. "But they definitely made that scene intense. Some parents might not let their kids see it.
"For me, it wasn't over the top. But for a parent to take their 11-year-old daughter to it ... they had talked about it being more implied, especially with the reshoots that they did. And they definitely went over that top."
What Ryan hoped would be over the top was Bella's pregnancy with her daughter Renesmee, a human/vamp hybrid whose birth nearly kills her mother. In the book, the pregnancy is played for creeping menace, like Ripley carrying an monster inside of her in "Alien 3."
"They walked that line very carefully," says Ryan of the movie. "In the book what they did was they had almost a chapter explaining to you what the repercussions were for carrying this baby to birth. They didn’t show any of that. They just showed Edward, the vampire, looking over some stuff on the Internet, seeing some disturbing pictures and then walking off. And that’s what I really wanted to see -- the legend behind it."
It was during Bella's pregnancy that "Breaking Dawn" nearly ended up Breaking Bobby.
"It's the focal point after the wedding," Ryan says. "She's adamant about keeping [the baby]. Most of the story's about that. For me, I was kind of getting over it. I was really hoping they were going to develop the story between the werewolves and the vampires, because most of the time they spent around sitting with Bella and then there was a fight and then the movie was over. And we're like, 'What just happened?'"
So it became a Lifetime Original Movie about a young woman carrying a succubus to term?
"Yeah, and the acting was just like Lifetime," he says. "It was definitely overwrought a little bit. There were a couple of times where someone said, 'Let’s just get that thing out and destroy it!' And we’re like, 'Holy [crap], is this for real? I have to review this thing tomorrow.' I thought the place was going to be empty by the time it was done."
The birth itself was gory, Ryan said, but not over-the-top gory. But whatever thrills it offered were undercut when Bella's life was saved by Edward turning her into a vampire, and the movie decided to employ some special effects.
"But when they put the venom in her, to make her a vampire, they do like a Spider-Man sequence, where they show it spreading through her body. And I’m just sitting there thinking, 'Are you kidding me with this? This is an absolute joke,'" Ryan says.
You may have picked up a subtle hint or three that Bobby Ryan wasn't enamored with this film. What about the performances? For example, how was Pattinson?
"He was OK," Ryan says. "We was probably my favorite in the movie. He didn’t get any worse, that's for sure."
And Kristen Stewart?
"I wasn't [a big fan]," Ryan says. "I think she looked a lot better. For me, everybody hates her because she’s awkward but I kind of like that about her. Her awkward, monotone acting is right for the character. She's been OK in all of them. But in this when, she wasn’t my favorite, that's for sure."
And Taylor Lautner?
"Every time this kid comes on screen, I felt like I had to stop watching. He was worse than all of his other performances. He's never been good, right? He’s been the guy who takes his shirt off and 12 year old girls scream. You can’t expect a lot from him to begin with. But he was so cheesy, man."
Did he take his shirt off a lot in "Breaking Dawn Part 1"?
"I couldn't believe it," says Ryan. "In the opening scene, I’m sitting next to [Los Angeles Kings defenseman] Drew Doughty and this kid comes running out of his house throws it off and starts running into the woods. When did it become uncool to be a dude anymore? I know there's a market for it ... but what happened to the strong silent guy who kicks people's asses when they needed to?"
Perhaps the most un-cool part of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" involved Lautner -- the aforementioned "werewolf falls in love with a baby" scene.
It's called "imprinting," and this is how the Twilight Wiki describes it:
Imprinting is the involuntary mechanism by which shape-shifters find their soul-mates. A shape-shifter imprints on the person he's bound to the moment he sees her. It is described as being pulled toward that person, while a glowing heat fills him; the connection with everything else is severed, and only the imprintee is left to matter, leaving the shape-shifter with a deep need to provide the imprintee anything she needs or wants.
So Jacob the werewolf finds his soulmate in his friends’ baby, in one of the climactic scenes of the film.
How did it play, Bobby Ryan?
"Holy [crap] that was the worst acting I’ve ever seen," he says.
"When he imprinted. He dropped to us knee -- the awkward, slow-motion one. The only thing you can say is that it was quick. When it happened, everyone in the theater was like 'C'mon!'"
Ryan gives the movie a C-minus, his lowest grade of the film series. "We almost left," he says. "I was sitting there with the Kings guys, they left, and if it wasn't for the fact my girlfriend was with me I would have been out the door."
In fairness, Kings players like Mike Richards, Trevor Lewis, Jonathan Bernier and Doughty hadn't seen the other three films, and might have been "just there to look at hot broads," according to Ryan.
"Who am I to say that's not cool?"
-- Greg Wyshynski is the editor of the Puck Daddy Blog on Yahoo! Sports. His favorite vampire book is "Salem's Lot" by Stephen King.
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