This is a (hopefully) spoiler free review of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1.
Release date: 17/11/2011
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Sarah Clarke, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Nikki Reed, Booboo Stewart, Julia Jones, Martin Sheen.
Breaking Dawn Part 1 is the fourth movie in the series and the pentultimate movie in the Twilight Saga. For those who have yet to be exposed to this franchise, I’ll give you a low down on the story so far – Bella Swan, our heroine, moves from Phoenix Arizona where she lived with her mum, to Forks,Washington to live with her dad, the local sheriff. At her new high school, she meets some new friends and spies the enigmatic Cullens. On a couple of occasions, Bella is rescued by Edward Cullen and eventually they fall in lurve (spelled that way on purpose). A love triangle happens, hearts get broken, some are mended again and the last scene in Eclipse (third movie) was Edward proposing to Bella. (I think. It’s been a while.)
Oh, I forgot to mention the werewolves and vampires bit.
So anyway, Breaking Dawn v.1 opens with wedding preparations and things go surprisingly ok, except for a nightmare or two. Even at the wedding no one gets drunk and makes a complete ass of themselves, so you know this is in no way based on true life events. (Just in case the werewolves and vampires didn’t give it away.)
Then there’s the honeymoon, Bella ends up in the family way and events spiral downhill from there.
Even though I have read the books, I was still on the edge of my seat with this movie and I have to say that so far it might just be my favourite. It didn’t feel like it took two hours, which surprised the heck out of me. There’s some action (the actual kind and the euphamism for nookie) but really, this movie shouldn’t have been more than a set up for the final conflict, which it managed with a fleeting reference to what will be in store for the final movie.
R-Patz (Robert Pattinson, for those not in with the lingo, plays Edward Cullen) is still rather wooden in this role, and I think it has more to do with him trying to play reserved and broody, rather than his acting ability since when he really lets fly emotionally, I believed it. Kristen Stewart was surprisingly less wooden and mumbly in parts, but reverted back when she was playing shy. I sincerely hope these two pulp all that wood they’ve been imitating in the next movie, but I digress.
Other than some truly psychedelic sequences that seem to come straight from a 60’s rock video, the effects were pretty good, especially the transformation of Bella from healthy, nubile young woman to what she ended toward the end of the movie was astonishing. I very nearly believed it was truly her, not CGI. Regardless of the method with which they acheived the look, it was still disturbing.
Considering this is the first half of the story, I was wondering where they would leave off and wasn’t at all surprised. The manner with which they ended the movie was a bit surprising (if a little cliché) but it stopped at the point in the story I expected it to and probably the only place they could stop effectively.
On the whole, it’s a pretty good set up for the final installment, which comes out next year.
A couple of last things: Jacob’s and Rosalie’s faces when Bella tells them about baby names, particularly the girl’s name, is priceless and stick around for the extra scene after the red, black and white credits at the end. Oh and look for The Stephanie (my name for the author of the books, Stephanie Meyer) in a ‘surprise’ appearance at the wedding.