As a string of mysterious killings grips Seattle, Bella, whose high school graduation is fast approaching, is forced to choose between her love for vampire Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob.
A lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside home begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.
Bella and Edward are to marry. Jacob becomes upset when he learns that Bella is planning to consummate the marriage on her honeymoon. The wedding over, Bella and Edward spend their honeymoon on the Cullen's idyllic private island. But, to their dismay, they discover that Bella is pregnant. The fetus is growing at an accelerated rate and everyone fears for Bella's safety. Will she go ahead with her pregnancy, whatever the cost? The Quileutes close in as the unborn child poses a threat to the Wolf Pack and the towns people of Forks. Written by
A vampire movie/paranormal romance but without the bite...
I am neither a Twilight fan or a Twilight detractor. This said, I am indifferent to the franchise. As far as the movies, I still think, coming from someone whose knowledge of the books only comes from my sister being a fan and me reading a chapter of one and putting it down, that the best is Eclipse(not saying much) and New Moon the worst. But that is not a consolation really. Breaking Dawn: Part 1 is not quite among the worst of the year and nowhere near among the worst ever, however it suffers from some major problems that I will get to later in the review.
So what was it that got me seeing Breaking Dawn: Part 1 in the first place? The answer was its director, Bill Condon. I am familiar with his previous films and find him a promising director and writer, finding his films well written, observed and acted. Gods and Monsters is amazing and one of my favourites, Kinsey was interesting and Dreamgirls elevated by the soundtrack and cast was quite decent. Did Condon do a good job directing? For me, I am not sure. I'd say of the four Twilight movies so far Breaking Dawn: Part 1 has the most cinematic feel to it, on the other hand there is not much here that made Condon's previous films so good and I'd go as far to say it is the film of his that engaged me the least.
Are there any redeeming qualities to this instalment? I think so actually. Although there are moments of sloppy editing, I did like the look of the film. At some points it was quite Gothic, and at others it had either an evergreen or autumnal feel to it. The scenery often does look stunning, the effects are okay I guess and the cinematography especially with the close-ups of the back of the wedding dress and the final shot is some of the best of the franchise in my opinion.I also liked Carter Burwell's score. I like Burwell a lot, his music has a hypnotic and quite hauntingly beautiful quality to it. For my tastes though some of the pop tunes are on the insipid side, however the score itself was pleasant with a lot of what I like about Burwell evident.
Much has been said about the sex scene. In all honesty I was expecting it to be of hilariously cheesy quality, but somehow Condon brought a little more subtlety than I was expecting. The last thirty minutes was perhaps the most exciting Breaking Dawn: Part 1 got, as some of does have purpose and intensity, which was something that the first half of the film did not have.There are also two good performances, Billy Burke and Michael Sheen, the latter being another point of interest. Burke as always is amusing with some of the better lines of the film(though is that saying much do you think?), while Sheen, ever the great actor, adopts a menace and magnetism as Aro without overdoing it too much. Ashley Greene is also quite good, if not great.
I have to say I still don't think much of the acting of the central trio. Kristen Stewart is much better than she is in New Moon, with much less of the moping and dead pauses, but some of her line delivery is still awkward and her facial expressions for my tastes are lifeless. It doesn't help though that Bella is a rather dull character.Robert Pattinson has more to do than he did in New Moon and is less hammy than in the first film(the looking into the camera moments brought moments of unintentional laughter when I first went to see Twilight when it came out). As a matter of fact this is perhaps his best performance of the series and he is certainly the best of the central trio, but like Stewart some of the line delivery could've been more inspired.
Taylor Lautner on the other hand is getting worse and worse. He is hunky to be sure, but does that alone make you a good actor? Not to me. I will give credit and say he is better than he was in this year's Abduction, where both the film and performance were awful, but the more dramatic moments from him felt forced and overplayed, and throughout there was a very stilted nature about him. A lot of the problem is to do with the writing. The dialogue in the Twilight franchise never was particularly good, saying this though in terms of written quality this is Twilight at its most banal, its most clunky and its most cheesy. The characters are clichéd and underdeveloped too, and at the end of the day you don't care for anybody. Oh, and the talking wolves were poorly done and unintentionally funny.
The story is very bland and unengaging, not to mention thin structurally and in content. The whole of the first half reads little more than ponderous melodrama. Was the wedding lavish? Yes it was. But it was also plodding and over-extended. The second half fares better, still with the clunky dialogue, uneven acting and cheesy, underdeveloped plot points and characterisations, but as I said the last thirty minutes or so serves as the highlight of the film. But for me what killed the film was the pace. Mind you, I have seen movies with slow pacing, but they are often paced deliberately and with strong meanings, great acting and dialogue and identifiable characters. With little of that here, Breaking Dawn: Part 1 not only is dull and plodding but also uninteresting and without bite.
Overall, despite my admiration for Condon and Sheen, this didn't work. The ending is highly suggestive of a continuation, which I understand is happening. If so, I do hope it will be better than this. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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