Breaking Dawn: From the eyes of a 30 something year old dad

breaking_dawn_cover_by_tranquilitysurreilFinally got to read Breaking Dawn. Here’s my three sentence review.

Starts slow. Waxes triumphant. Ends with a fizzle (kind of).

Yep. That’s about it. There are times in the book when I thought: This is the best book I have ever read. There are others when I thought, “That’s it?”

It doesn’t take anything away from what the book series really is, though…one of the most haunting yet addicting stories ever written.  As I was finishing the book, I started asking myself, what is it about this book, written for a supposed teenage girl audience, that enraptures a 30 something year old dad?

And when it all comes down to it, for me, I think it’s the contradictions of love.  Every guy wants that Bella, that girl who completes us, and yet, we’re vampires (or wolves) underneath the skin, struggling with the fight inside of us to no to ruin what we have. We’re constantly in a fight against who we are and who we want to be. When the Indie Girl and I got married, we used to laugh at people who were engaged who thought that being married would be like one long date.  Yeah, life happens, it gets complicated, and can be frustrating. But, I think that Twilight shows a life obtainable…a relationship that can really be happy. One that I am constantly working towards, despite the “monster” I can be.

Then again…it could just be that the idea of being a super strong vampire who lives forever and pretty much has all the money he could ever want is just REALLY cool. So, who knows.

Two More Notes before I close this (Spoilers):

1. At some point when you’re reading this book, and you read about the vivid romantic exploits  of a newly married couple on their honeymoon, you start wondering…”Wait, how many 12 year old girls did I see in line to buy this book in August, again?”  Yeah, the themes are too mature for pre-teen girls, I think. Book one was very easily pre-teen chick lit. But book 4? definitely aged at least 10 years. Which brought up another question in my mind: As an author, at what point do you decide to write for your audience and write in spite of your audience?

2. ***SPOILER**** I have to say that I was disappointed in the ending. I expected a fight. I really thought we’d see the Volturri taken down, and, a la another very popular book series, we’d see at least a few characters sacrificed. But in the end, it just fizzles. No one dies. The Cullens and the Volturri make amends and part their separate ways. At one point, I started thinking that Edward was the tragic character…that in the end, Bella would die, and he would be left with  Renesme as the memory of a love that was perfect…a love that could never be.

Twilight Review OR 150 Screaming Teenage Girls

twilight_movie_image_group_shot

I took the Indie Girl on a date to see Twilight last night, and I think we broke rule number one

1. Never go to a serious movie with 150 hormone-crazed teenage girls.

Then again, maybe I broke rule number two, as well:

2. 30 something year old dads should not be going to chick flicks

Or maybe rule number three:

3. 30 something year old dads should not be reading Chick Lit.

So, I guess I had it coming. On to the movie review: I have rarely seen a movie that has done a book justice…it just doesn’t happen. It’s a testament to the power of the author’s pen. And Twilight might be just another example.  Before I launch into any criticisms, I have to say that Twilight may very well be the best movie I’ve seen this year…but considering the only movies I’ve seen at the theater were Wall-E, Indiana Jones and the “We should’ve Stopped at Three Movies”, and High School Musical 3.

That being said, I have a few issues with Twilight:

1. The movie editing and special FX weren’t up to par. But, it wasn’t too distracting, I just have a very strong image of how I pictured the scenes in the book. The Baseball Scene did not disappoint. I hope this movie grosses enough dough for a stronger production company to pick up the next movie.

2. They moved away from the plot a little. Only slightly. Call it a shift in focus from Bella to the vampire invasion and Edward’s conscience.

3. The ending scene with Bella in the Ballroom was not done well. Yeah, I know…it’s the climax, but it just wasn’t done according to the movie. The fight was ok, but they changed the events of the book a little, and put way too much emphasis on Edward…I don’t want to ruin it, so I’ll leave it at that. Twilight aficionados will know what I’m talking about.

4. The little film noire versions of Bella and Edward were too corny. Weird. Just didn’t work.

5. The directors sexed-up the movie a little bit more than I think Stephenie Meyer would have allowed… maybe giving her a cameo ordering a veggie burger was the concession there.

That being said, I really loved the casting…it was perfect. Although, I was sure that Jacob was 13 in the first book…not a husky 18 year old. Besides that, the move was enrapturing and haunting and kept up the mystique of the book.

Twilight Music

twilight_200806041504Anyone who has read the Twilight Book series by Stephenie Meyer knows that a major part of each book is the soundtracks Stephenie listens to while writing (Muse usually gets top billing). I have to admit, it’s been one of the draws of the books because the power of the music is written into each agonizing experience and woven into the haunting tapestries of the book series. If you’re like me, you may have been anticipating the soundtrack as much, if not more, than you anticipated the movie. Well, since I’m planning on taking the Indie Girl to see the movie for her birthday this week, I thought I’d get into the Twilight mood and listen to the soundtrack….and after a first glimpse, I have to admit, it’s not as powerful or even “twilight-worthy” as I was expecting.

First of all, letting Perry Farrell headline any soundtrack is probably a bad idea. But at least that song has the same feel of the songs listed in the books. But the rest of the CD isn’t all that spectacular, and I’m disappointed. It sounds more power punk than haunting. And where it diverges, it’s odd. Robert “Edward Cullen” Pattinson is trying to break into music now? And I never imagined Iron and Wine a goth-type outfit.

The only Muse appearance is Supermassive Blackhole, which isn’t as powerful as most of their toons. Come on guys, can’t you write a new song for the girl who has single-handedly converted a whole new market of raving pre-teen girls to the Muse nation? (Ok, maybe I answered my own question there)

I will admit, the high point is The Black Ghosts’ “Full Moon”. Fantastic piece.

But other pieces by Linkin Park, Mutemath, and Collective Soul (really, they’re still around?!) are more of the same, and don’t do anything for me.  I also don’t think Paramore is the greatest fit here, but the music isn’t that bad.

I wonder what Stephenie thinks about this selection?

BTW…reviews on Breaking Dawn (yes, finally) and the Twilight Movie are coming soon.

Canon Rebel Piano Music

I’ve always been fascinated by how TV commercials and advertising, of all things, have now become a legitimate outlet for launching music.  Dare I say, I’ve actually started to enjoy some TV commercials because of the music that they feature…one such commercial is the Cannon Rebel commercial with the enrapturing piano piece.

Every time I see the commercial I put a post-it note on my brain to search for the song title and composer. The result: after 30 seconds of searching I came up with: “Sacred Noise” by Michael Montes

There’s even a tutorial on YouTube:

Keane: Going downhill fast

When Keane hit it big a few years ago, I thought they redefined what Indie could be. In fact, if I had a blog then, I would have said: “Keane is redefining what Indie can be”…I think I even said it to a few friends. The piano riffs and moving melodies were a refreshing departure from the same old guitar-heavy junk we hear from every other band.

Fast forward to their next album that I can hardly remember the name of because I found very little of significance on it.  Sure, there were a few good songs, but I thought this was merely a sophomore slump– Keane’s own version of Weezer’s “Pinkerton” (I still get headaches remembering some of the songs on that one). I thought for sure that the third release would be a return to the majesty that was Hopes and Fears.

Instead, we get Perfect Symmetry. Apparently, aforementioned un-memorable sophomore release made Keane think that they had to completely re-define themselves…and bring back the 80s. I hated synthesized piano in the 80s, and I hate it even more now. Has New Wave been gone long enough already that we can bring it back? Please tell me it hasn’t. In songs like “Spiralling,” “Lovers are Losing,” and “Perfect Symmetry,” Keane resurrects the Shiny Happy People bounciness of the 80s, fully-equipped with Wham vocals and Duran Duran synthesizers.  I swear “Better than This” was originally released by Culture Club.

I’m only sad that I had to waste my free Rhapsody listens on this album.