Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1

The pop culture phenomenon that is Twilight is wrapping up as the film adaptation of the final book in the series, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, has arrived in theaters. With the previous three films doing brisk business at the box office, it came as no surprise when it was announced that the final book in the series was being split into two films so that the studio could maximize the box office of the series.

The film opens with awkward, melancholy teen Bella (Kristen Stewart), preparing for her wedding to Edward (Robert Pattinson), as their human and vampire friends assemble for the ceremony. Of course Edward’s rival Jacob (Tayler Lautner), is highly against the union as he still carries a flame for Bella. Nonetheless, the ceremony goes off as planned and Edward whisks Bella away to a remote Brazilian island to consummate their union, which apparently is a tricky endeavor, being that she is still a mortal and he is a century old vampire.

What at first is an ideal honeymoon is soon complicated when Bella and Edward discover an unexpected challenge that threatens Bella’s well-being and poses a threat to the pact between the vampires and werewolves. I will not spoil the film, even though fans of the series and books will not be any strangers to the drama and politics of the situation, but suffice it to say there is a lot on the line for all of the characters involved.

The film was rife with issues, the main one being the atrocious acting. One would think that after three previous films with the same cast, these actors would have developed some timing and chemistry with one another, especially Stewart and Pattinson who are a couple offscreen. Nothing could be further from the truth as they stiffly deliver their lines with pained and remote expressions. I am honestly at a loss as to why Bella is so captivating to both Edward and Jacob
as she is basically a dour girl who looks incredibly uncomfortable in her own skin, and yet the two are utterly captivated by her. I found the supporting cast far more interesting than the heroine and her besotted heroes. Another issue I had was that Pattinson, who got to show his acting ability in “Water for Elephants” is given little to do aside from staring at Bella and doing profile shots.

The first half of the film is basically an MTV-style wedding and honeymoon music video but the second half of the film did manage to grab and hold my attention with the ongoing plot points. It is obvious that the story is being stretched to cover two films as there are numerous unnecessary scenes such as people walking up stairs, throwing things in a garbage can, looking in mirrors, which serve little purpose other than increasing the run time of the film. Of course all of this matters little to fans of the series. The studio knows who the core audience is and the movie panders to them every chance they can, as proven by Lautner doffing his shirt not 60 seconds into the film to the squeals of delight from the teens, tweens and grown women in the audience.

Still, because it pits the Cullens against the werewolves who were their allies in the previous film, Breaking Dawn is better than the previous films. While it raises the angst and tension, it does not provide much growth for the actors as they dutifully go through the motions as best they can with the material. While it attempts to be a darker and more mature film, it still comes across as eye candy and fantasy for young women when the story and cast deserved so
much more. That being said, the film stays true to it’s core audience and gives them exactly what they have come to expect and does not stray from what has been a successful formula.

2.5 stars out of 5.