When asked to write about pitting The Twilight Saga: Eclipse against The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, I didn't have any internal debate at all. They are both the third film in a franchise. They both have big battle sequences. And both films left a huge impact on fandom and the industry. Thus, it may seem a difficult choice, but this is an easy debate for me. A very long and never-ending 192 minutes of dirt and grime and grubby characters vs. a normal 124 minutes of the ultimate love triangle between some of the most beautiful and handsome actors in Hollywood? Hum... tough decision! It's no contest here. Give me beautiful vampires and half-naked werewolves training to fight a newborn army any day of the week over muddy Orcs and Trolls fighting against a giant eye. I'll take the ice-like decapitations in the snow in Eclipse over the filth of the final battle in Return of the King. Give me the swoon-worthy marriage proposal and all the sexual tension in Eclipse over the impromptu kiss at the end of Return of the King.
Eclipse even ends very cleanly and neatly, with fans only wondering what's going to happen to Jacob. Whereas Return of the King just leaves fans wondering why they didn't just fly to Mt. Doom in the first place... since they flew from Mt. Doom back to the shire. I mean, really? If you could just fly there and back, was the whole story even necessary, given that ending? This is possibly one of the biggest plot holes in all of cinema history... well... until Bruce Wayne somehow managed to walk undetected into a city that was barricaded closed in The Dark Knight Rises. But that's another debate for another day. Today, plain and simple, I'd much rather watch Victoria lose her head while Bella struggles with her feelings for two supernatural beings over Frodo and Sam wading though the pit of despair only to quickly fly home when it's done. I will never understand that ending.
Why Breaking Dawn 1 Is Better Than Deathly Hallows 1 Potter verses Twilight. How many times has this been debated? I'm a fan of both, so it's hard to pick one franchise. However, this debate isn't about the franchise as a whole; it's about these two specific films. In this case, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 wins over Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I could debate this comically, and break down how Bella and Edward's wedding was leaps and bounds better than Bill and Fluer's. I could joke about how the only real "romance" we got in Deathly Hallows was when Horcurx!Harry made out with Horcrux!Hermione, while we got full-on, headboard-breaking sex in Breaking Dawn Part 1. But I really do think Breaking Dawn Part 1 deserves legitimate consideration this time. What makes Breaking Dawn Part 1 so special as a film is that it literally hits on every major point in a young woman's life when it comes to relationships: Marriage, making love for the first time, becoming pregnant, and delivering the child. The film even goes a step further in having Bella fight for the life of her unborn child at the risk of her own life, something rarely seen in Hollywood. It's a female-driven storyline about the most life-changing events that happen for a female, and it's aimed at a female fanbase. I think it was an important film for that very reason. I can't deny that Deathly Hallows Part 1 didn't move me when Ron left or when Dobby died. Sure it did. But watching Bella literally waste away and eventually die was so much more chilling on screen than it was the book. The birth scene alone should have granted the film an "R" rating, and yet Bill Condon managed to pull it off in a way that worked to keep the film at its PG-13 status. And then came the ending! Oh, what an ending! Splitting up a large book into two movies always makes fans wonder where the first film will end. I was highly displeased and a bit confused with the choice of where Deathly Hallows Part 1 ended, but Breaking Dawn Part 1 had the perfect ending. So, this round goes to the Breaking Dawn Part 1.
Why Breaking Dawn 2 Is Better Than The Half-Blood Prince
I feel there will forever be a battle between fandoms for Twilight and Harry Potter. As a fan of both, it's always difficult to take sides. I feel that Breaking Dawn Part 2 has a bit of an unfair advantage over The Half-Blood Prince in this instance because it is the final film in the entire saga and arguably the best one of the five. It was the best reviewed as well as the most shocking. Breaking Dawn Part 2 was the culmination of everything fans had been waiting for in the saga. And then the film takes a huge risk and adds in a massive battle sequence that wasn't in the original book, surprising and sometimes upsetting fans to the point of tears, only to stun us once more by proving it was all a dream. It is one of the best twist endings ever! How can any fan of both sagas pit a middle film against a final film? It can't be done. Dumbledore's death wasn't shocking for anyone who read the book. And where Half-Blood Prince deviates from the book in the way of the romantic story lines is unsatisfying and awkward. Also, the Burrow gets burned in the film, which does not happen in the book... and yet is fine as day in the next film. And why didn't Dumbledore get a funeral in the film? As far as book to screen deviations go, Breaking Dawn Part 2 wins, hands down!
Why New Moon Is Better Than Order of the Phoenix
Once again, a Twilight film has to take on a Harry Potter film. Strangely enough, I feel this is the closest battle between all the Twilight vs. Potter matchups in this round. New Moon and Order of the Phoenix are both my least favorite books in their sagas. I wasn't a big fan of either book when they came out, but I eventually saw the merit of the story line. However, I felt that each of these films was immensely better as a film than they were as books! In fact, they are both my second favorite film in their sagas. So it's with a heavy heart that I have to argue why New Moon, with its impressive shape-shifting werewolves, and impromptu trip to Italy, is better than Order of the Phoenix. And before I go on, I want to be clear that my opinion has nothing to do with Taylor Lautner's inability to keep his shirt on. (Wink, wink.) From book to screen, I feel the film version of New Moon improved on the book more than Order of the Phoenix did. They way the ''months" were represented was perfecting. I mean, come on! How do you film blank pages? And the entire sequence in Italy, from Corvette chase to Volturi threat, will always stand as a fan favorite. However, in Oder of the Phoenix, the Department of Mysteries wasn't all that mysterious when it came to the film. What goes on and on in the book as a series of missteps and unexplainable rooms becomes a quick trip through a door into the necessary room of prophecies. I was highly disappointed in the Department of Mysteries and the way those scenes played out. So again, it comes down to adaptation; I feel New Moon was much more successful than Order of the Phoenix.
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