Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1. Let me just start by saying that I’m educated on Twilight. I’ve read all four books and seen all three movies so far. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I’m a “Twi-hard,” but I can appreciate aspects of the franchise.
Disclaimer: I will discuss what has occurred in the past three Twilight films and some “spoilers” that I’m pretty sure the trailer already ruined. I apologize if I inadvertantly spoil anything for you.
Let me start with how I felt about the books. One through Three got steadily better but Breaking Dawn was out of left field. It turned into some sort of X-Men adventure about halfway through. And the first half was all crazy vampire sex and then the bizarre (and/or disturbing) birth scene. It was a weird book and felt unlike anything else in the series.
So when the movies caught up to book number four, I knew it would be difficult to translate it to the big screen. In two parts, I figured the first half would cover the wedding of Bella and Edward and then her crazy pregnancy with a demon spawn. I was pretty spot-on. The second part will cover the ridiculous battle royale that results from her pregnancy.
Here’s what is good: There are some absolutely gorgeous scenes in this movie. Visually stunning. The wedding of Edward and Bella is pretty intense and the location is perfect. The whole audience liked “oooooooo”ed when they started the ceremony. Even though the movie had to cover two kind of… disturbing… scenes, the movie managed to tactfully cover both Edward and Bella’s lovemaking session and a birth scene where Edward has to tear open Bella’s stomach with his teeth to get the baby out. Gross, right? Well, the movie shows you how intense that is, but it’s not over the top gross or gory. I was a little worried.
With so many characters in the franchise by this point, a few stood out in this film, namely Seth and Leah (fellow werewolves). They both had minimal roles but memorable ones nonetheless.
Here’s what didn’t work: The acting seemed to take a step backwards. I thought Eclipse was the best movie so far because the actors seemed to finally understand what they were doing. Breaking Dawn was painful for me. Pattinson is pretty spot-on but both Stewart and Lautner took gigantic steps in the wrong direction. Kristen Stewart’s emotion meter only goes from “nothing” to “slight smirk.” At one point, she says, “You’re making me angry” or something and she sounds like a robot. Lautner is also extremely angsty (moreso than usual) and most of his lines are laughable.
The downside of having so many characters is that some are going to get the shaft. I always thought Jasper was one of the most compelling characters and had the most interesting backstory, but he’s been completely ignored in this series. His story deserves a whole other movie, that’d probably be better than these other ones.
The worst scene in the movie, hands-down, is a scene that tried to depict what it’s like be a werewolf. All the wolves are there and they’re communicating via telepathy. Somehow, this seemed plausible in the novels. On-screen, it felt like a scene from Transformers. The lead wolf sounded like Optimus Prime. And the effects weren’t up-to-par. Bad CGI wolves barking orders at each other. It was a weird addition and shouldn’t have made the final cut. I laughed almost the whole time.
And it’s hard to remember that this isn’t meant to be a comedy.
There’s only one real fight scene in this movie and it involves werewolves versus vampires, which is usually fun to watch. However, this scene takes place at night in the woods, so it is near impossible to tell what is going on. I hear bones cracking and I see fur flying, but the cuts are way too fast and the scene is way too dark. Hopefully this isn’t an indicator in how Part 2 will play out.
One of my biggest complaints… is the musical choice. The other movies have featured music in ways that have emphasized what’s going on, not hindered the progress. But in Breaking Dawn, it felt like the movie kept slowing down and waiting for a song to finish. It was annoying and dragged out a movie that could have been full of content. There were like 5 songs too many featured. Pacing was ruined.
A disappointment. I’m a follower of the franchise, so I’m trying to be unbiased. But this film had potential to be an emotional and engaging film, but due to some flaws in pacing, bad choice in what to leave on the cutting room floor, bad acting from almost all actors, and then a hard-to-translate source material… this movie fell flat. Twi-hards may find enough to enjoy, but I thought the momentum gained from Eclipse was sadly deflated.