Losin’ it – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 review

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 – Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Directed by Bill Condon. Rated M. By Simon Miraudo.

Let the carnal delights begin! The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is supposedly the reward for all of our suffering. Twihards have endured three movies worth of smouldering glances, angsty shirtlessness and reluctant abstinence with only the knowledge of the final instalments’ cathartic release to keep them going. Meanwhile, the haters who have had to endure the previous pictures due to boyfriendly/girlfriendly/film-critically duties were able to take solace in the fact the adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s last Twilight book would be full of freaktastic treats.

This was to be the movie in which the relentlessly-uninteresting franchise finally embraced its dark, twisted side. We would get our first real glimpse of the orgasmic highs and blood-stained lows of Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) affair. For once, we would learn the true curse of the vampyr is not limited to mild sparkling and stilted line readings. Sadly, those promises have gone unfulfilled. Breaking Dawn Part 1 is just as tepid as its predecessors. The picture sidesteps all opportunities to depict the novel’s nuttiness (including intense virginity-loss, admissions of murder, a toothy caesarean section and a grown man falling in love with a baby) in an intriguing manner and sands down all the edges to leave us with yet another generic melodrama, in which not a single moment rings true. At least it loses a lot of the troubling subtext from earlier flicks, and replaces it with good ol’ inoffensive nothingness (though your definition of ‘inoffensive’ may depend on how you feel about scenes in which an 18-year-old girl begs for sex from her hundred-year-plus husband).

The audience is cordially invited to the wedding of immortal vampire Edward Cullen and his human teenage girlfriend Bella Swan. It’s the social event of the supernatural calendar, and we get to admire every minute detail; from the dress, to the vows, to the cake, to the speeches and so on and so on. It’s like watching a lengthy photo slideshow made by relatives about their “special day”, except they’re not your relatives, and also you hate them (the Cullen clan make me feel quite uncomfortable). The newlyweds are then whisked away to an island off the coast of Brazil where they can finally consummate their marriage. And consummate they do! Bloodsucker Edward is a little too rough for the still mortal and very frail Bella though; he doesn’t want to risk hurting her again, so the metaphorical chastity belt is quickly re-attached. It may be too late. Somehow, the undead dude managed to get his child bride up the duff, and now a fast-growing human-vamp hybrid is threatening to kill its weak mommy. Her only chance for survival is an ironic one; she may need to become a vamp herself, much to the chagrin of her former love/current lycanthrope Jacob (Taylor Lautner).

Despite the Oscar-nominated chops of director Bill Condon, he can’t keep proceedings from feeling stagey (Breaking Dawn even feels stagier than his Dreamgirls… which largely took place on a stage). Without having read the books – I’m only aware of this tale’s breathless insanity via Wikipedia – I don’t know whether to blame the awful dialogue on Meyer or dutiful screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. Either way, yikes. The action sequences (of which there are mercifully few) are clumsily composed and feel like a lazy attempt to cram conflict into a film that is almost plot-free. That being said, it’s not the worst instalment of the saga (faint praise), and we get the best work from Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner yet (also faint praise). They’re only good scene-to-scene, but at least that’s something. Billy Burke also deserves credit for being reliably great as Mr. Swan. Still, the potential of Part 2 seems minimal. If Condon and co. couldn’t combine elements of The Fly and Rosemary’s Baby into a sexy, scary or super-weird concoction, we may as well consider the other, ‘boring’ half of Breaking Dawn dead in the water.

2/5

Check out Simon’s other reviews here.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is now showing in Australian cinemas.

7 Responses to “Losin’ it – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 review”

  1. Simon, as a fan that drove nearly 2 hours to go to the midnight premier of Breaking Dawn, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    That being said, I do agree that none of the movies have lived up to the potential of the books, though the later ones have been much closer to the feel of them that the first (I will never voluntarily watch a Catherine Hardwicke movie again!).

    • i went to see this movie at its first screening and i thought it would be full of action and suspence like the first 3 films and like the books but i was disappointed cause it felt like the director was playing it safe. please 4 the sake of the twilight saga, take some risks and dont leave breaking dawn part 2 dead in the water. don’t let me down or bring back david slade to direct breaking dawn part 2. he’s awesome!!!!?

  2. Come on, Slade’s film was awful! He absolutely did not care about characters and their motives.

  3. By any normal standard, this is a terrible movie, with stilted dialogue and leaden pacing — every 15 minutes or so, the action stops for a musical montage involving slow-motion handsomeness. But the Twilight saga stopped being normal a long time ago. It raises more laughs at the back of the stalls than hairs on the back of the neck.

    Finally, Is this really what Twilight fans want? Two characters drooling over and on each other for half the movie and not much else? Everyone stops taking the Twilight saga so seriously, creating a surprisingly entertaining romp. Yes, everyone still mopes, but they now do so with a twinkle in the eye and a growling sense of underlying menace.

    BTW it may be included in my Top 10 worst movie ever!

    • Yes it is what Twilight fans want because it is in the books. Personally I cannot wait for Twilight Break Dawn 2. Because Twilight will be finally freaking OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. i was harsh with my last comment as i was tired. bill condon did a great job and i can’t wait for part 2. it will be sad to say goodbye

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  1. Outrage Sunday 30 the wet dream of the hidden controllers | The Worst of Perth - November 27, 2011

    […] film people for failing to tie in locally with the TWOP tipple of choice? No wonder Simon Miraudo described it as “generic melodrama, in which not a single moment rings […]

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