Title: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Sarah Clarke, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Booboo Stewart, Chaske Spencer, Julia Jones
About 4 of the 117 minutes that make up “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1″ will capture your attention. Those 4 minutes are nearly ruined, too, when some opens their mouth; which ends up being a frequent, and indirectly funny, occurrence.
The story is quite simple in this installment: Vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and human Bella (Kristen Stewart) are finally getting hitched. Everyone is happy about this. Even the werewolf, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) seems to be cool with it, despite his eternal hard-on for Bella. That is until he learns Bella wants Edward to try to impregnate her prior to changing her to a full-blown vamp (apparently that’s not good). So Jacob then continues his pouting and the on-going supernatural cock fight for the average & boring looking girl rages on.
While on the honeymoon at a secluded island off the shores of Brazil, Edward reluctantly honors Bella’s wishes to try to give her a child. He worries though (seems that’s all he does in these damn flicks) that the “fetus” may be something no one has ever seen or dealt with before, therefore, harming Bella. Well, the virile vamp pulls it off which leads to Bella having dire complications; sparking a possible breach of the treaty between the Cullen clan and the Werewolves.
Sorry Twi-hards, this installment sets the franchise way back and now deserves the clichéd ribbing many people do when talking about this product. This is easily the worst film in the now four picture franchise. Improvements were being made with each sequel. “New Moon” proved that this adapted story from Stephenie Meyer’s popular novels could in fact be cinematical. And “Eclipse’s” totality as a feature length film changed a lot of hater’s minds including yours truly. The direction that “Breaking Dawn” took, well, took all the life out of the series. Sure the loyal will eat this crap up, but chances are they are force feeding themselves (i.e. willing their mind & heart to like it).
The screenplay is handled like a romantic-comedy without any rhyme or reason. Serving shallow dialogue all around and having the characters mock themselves just isn’t working here. And the choice of a soundtrack is way out of place, for the tone of what this should have been (dramatic) is confused as the director and performers. Based on the material given here, Pattinson and Stewart are sadly unable to carry this movie as they are asked to do. Taylor Lautner enters and tries to anchor this down, but the most intriguing character is also hampered with more terrible dialogue and piss-poor timing. No one has evolved and that’s kind of the point of a progressing story. And there is no help from the supporting cast as they are given nothing to do except act – which in this case translates to stand and look concerned – as a warm (and cold) body count (I’m Team Jasper by the way).
So that 4 minutes mentioned above happens in the last 15 minutes, involving a brief werewolf and vampire clash outside the Cullen house. Right before that sequence, there’s a decent dramatic pitch with Bella going into labor. As stated before though, just when they’re on the path to passable filmmaking, someone opens their mouth and the direction goes to hell. The only thing that could have improved this piece is having Beavis and Butt-Head sitting on a couch providing sarcastic commentary (you’re welcome Mike Judge).
One thing that is noteworthy is this particular flick tackles and depicts some mature situations. There’s an awful amount of time dedicated toward the Edward & Bella honeymoon – a.k.a. vamp baby-making. Let’s just say they are suggestive scenes that mainly see Kristen Stewart prancing around in quasi-sexy lingerie and tastefully having sex with Mopey the vampire. So perhaps a chat with your teenage daughter may be warranted after this. That is, if this installment doesn’t completely turn them off.
If one can overlook the bad acting and lazy story, what this product really needed was a solid edit. I’m all for a movie taking its time but lingering on superficial scenes that fail to dial up any emotion and/or have a purpose is literally laughable. By doing so, this direction plays – and projects – something resembling the spoof nature of Vampire Sucks rather than what one saw in the previous two Twilight sequels.
Overall, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1″ is dead on arrival. In sequel terms, this represents a B-movie horror flick that continues to spawn more installments that debut on the SyFy channel. And that’s never a good thing, kids. Everyone has gone backwards here, losing the momentum that “Eclipse” fought hard to attain.
And if you’re still into this – which is to say you enjoy subpar filmmaking and stories – be sure to stay after the credits for a teaser.
Overall: D (for Dud)
By Joe Belcastro – Member of the Florida Film Critics Circle