“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” Review
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” part one of the two part finale, won’t be bringing any new fans to the theater and it may even make some old fans get up and leave. While I have never been able to call myself an actual fan of the franchise, I do remember enjoying the first film to a certain extent. It had a level of playfulness that was intentionally comical. However, the films have only gotten worse and “Breaking Dawn” is without a doubt the worst installment yet.
“Breaking Dawn” is the last novel in Stephenie Meyer’s hugely successful “Twilight” series. The book was split down the middle to get two films out of it and thus bleeding as much money out of the franchise as possible. If you’re one of the few people on earth that managed to isolate yourself from what happens in “Breaking Dawn,” you may want to skip this paragraph entirely. The plot of Part 1 is incredibly simple. Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) finally get married. It’s important to note that the wedding reception is one of the only times you will laugh without derision and it’s all thanks to Anna Kendrick, who reprises her role as Bella’s friend Jessica. Kendrick is genuinely funny while giving a very short speech to the newlyweds and it is a moment that will stand out in front of the entire film. After the wedding, Edward whisks Bella away on a honeymoon in South America, where they finally consummate their love in a very awkward and sexless sex scene. The sex results in Bella getting pregnant with a half-vampire baby that is rapidly growing and killing her from the inside. One disturbing childbirth scene later and Edward, desperately trying to keep Bella from dying, quickly turns her into a vampire and thus setting up the final film.
Let’s not forget Jacob (Taylor Lautner), Bella’s furry, love-struck friend. I feel bad for Lautner at this point. He’s had four of these films to grow as an actor but he hasn’t gotten any better. His wooden acting seems to have been completely accepted as long as he’ll unnecessarily take his shirt off (which he does at around minute two).
Director Bill Condon was a very strange choice for “Breaking Dawn.” Condon has made such films as “Kinsey” and “Gods and Monsters,” but doesn’t seem to have really taken any interest in “Breaking Dawn.” There’s no life in a film which should be all about the culmination of life, the moments before Bella ultimately wakes as a vampire. Without any energy to work with, the characters are left with terrible dialogue and drawn-out scenes that mirror what wading through molasses must feel like. With a runtime of 117 minutes, it’s almost impressive that “Breaking Dawn” feels more like four hours. Many scenes make you think you’re being forced to watch an already tedious movie in real-time. It could have been cut to a good 40 minutes and been a lot more enjoyable. You would still be stuck with banal dialogue and laughable CGI but at least you wouldn’t wonder where your life was going as the seconds slowly ticked by.
The supporting cast is mostly ignored, making them unnecessary statues in a film that surrounds Bella and Edward. Even Jacob, often a fixture in the franchise, is only around so he can wolf-out whenever he has a tantrum, running dramatically into the woods. With everything I didn’t like about the film, I have to mention that whoever is responsible for Kristen Stewart’s emaciated look while the baby is sucking all the life from her body did an excellent job. Bella looks absolutely skeletal and the sight definitely makes you cringe.
Filled with unintentionally hilarious scenes (CGI wolf arguments, Edward using Yahoo to look up demon babies, and an imprinting scene that also borders on creepy), “Breaking Dawn” is certainly not going to entice any new fans into the franchise. However, those who have devoured every single book and who waited for hours in a line to see it at midnight before their friends, will probably eat up the melodrama like it’s a grand gift to cinema. Regardless, I have a feeling that more often than not, “Breaking Dawn” will have people reevaluating the ways in which they make life decisions because if they made good ones, they certainly would have seen something else.