Release Date: November 18th 2011
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Director: Bill Condon
If you're going to see this film, I doubt this review will stop you. Since vampire mania swept the globe with the release of 'Twilight' back in 2008, the Twilight Saga has grown from bad to worse. Breaking Dawn: Part 1 is an example of everything wrong with the Twilight franchise. Like myself, if you're not part of the teenage 'twihard' demographic, avoid this grim sequel at all costs.
Team Edward! Team Jacob! It's hard to watch a film, when you have a cinema full of screaming teenagers around you. As the film opened with our first glimpse of Edward Cullen (Pattinson) and Jacob Black (Lautner), the screams from at least 200 girls beckoned. Staying silent, I must have counted four other men in the cinema at the most, no doubt dragged to see the film by their 'twihard' girlfriends.
As the film progressed the screams died down, and the laughs grew. Where Harry Potter benefited from telling its story between two films, Breaking Dawn almost becomes a self-parody. The film's opening is arguably it's strongest point. Mortal Bella Swan (Stewart), who still can't catch a smile, is finally getting married to the love of her life, the sparkly vampire Edward Cullen. The wedding speech montage from friends of the bride and groom is the best moment in the film. Too bad it's cut short for a quick cliché stare down between rivals Jacob and Edward (with Lautner delivering just about enough sarcasm to make the scene remotely interesting).
That's where the romance story ends. From then on, the flick transcends into a rather grotesque soap opera. An anticlimactic lovemaking scene between Bella and Edward (during in which every girl in the audience, and a few guys strangely enough erupted into cheers) leads to Bella falling pregnant. At this point we find out her human womb struggles to cope with a foetus that's half vampire and the race to keep her alive begins. As the Cullen clan try to keep Bella alive, the film takes a stake to the heart with some laughable conversations between CGI wolves, who swear revenge for Bella's life becoming threatened by the Cullens. It's almost impossible to make the plot seem sensible. It's safe to say, if you're not up to speed with the Twilight mythology, this film does not work as a standalone.
What I found most disappointing was from an outsider's perspective, the script deliberately avoided anything that would have made for compelling drama, in order for the film to remain as light, clichéd entertainment. Edward's hesitation over fathering a child that may kill his wife, and Jacobs test of loyalty to his tribe went completely unexplored, instead the film focused on making Bella look as grotesque as possible while she struggles to survive her potentially fatal pregnancy. From her illness, to her gore fest caesarean, I struggled to see how this film managed to pass with a 12A rating. Perhaps some salvation might come from the film potentially putting 13-year-old girls off pregnancy. Judging by the deafening screams of cheers from the audience, Breaking Dawn somehow manages to do just enough to get fans excited for the sequel. I'd like to imagine we might finally see an action packed vampire/werewolf showdown, but if any of the last films are to go by, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
As someone who has been forced to watch all four of the Twilight films, I can say this is by far the worst of the bunch. Despite having some of the better acting of the series, pacing problems, awful special effects and a relatively boring script highlight that this is one franchise that just won't die. Still, I've got a year to brace myself for the next one.
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