The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
Three years have passed since the Twilight film franchise started and already it is a global phenomenon. We all know who it’s aimed at and who are its detractors who just accuse Stephenie Meyer’s series of being nothing but mopey teenage angst. Whilst New Moon somewhat suffered from this, the rest of the series had been good, particularly Eclipse which truly worked due to David Slade’s compelling direction and understanding of the genre. Following the trait of the last two Harry Potter films, Meyer’s fourth and final book has been split into two films and now comes the release of Part 1 of the Twilight climax.
As Bella (Kristen Stewart) prepares her last days as a human, she successfully marries her vampiric love Edward (Robert Pattinson), despite the usual disapproval from her childhood friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner). During the newlyweds’ most wonderful honeymoon, Bella soon realises that she’s pregnant which comes not only as a shock to her husband, but to the Cullens as well as Jacob’s wolf pack. If the child is born, Bella may have no future and the truce between the two clans will be broken. As the story may suggest, this ought to be the most dramatic installment in the series, and certainly with Gods and Monsters director Bill Condon at the helm, this should be the most exciting. However like Deathly Hallows, this film is essentially a slow build-up to the finale for Part 2.
On the plus side, the first half works with its humorous moments as all the central characters are established in a nice and funny way, particularly Billy Burke as Bella’s father who as always has all the best lines. During the course of the wedding and later the honeymoon, the story solely focuses on the romance between Bella and Edward as that is the emotional core and you do believe their love for one another, even though the never-ending tracks of emo music is quite annoying. As with all happy marriages, light turns to dark as the announcement of a pregnant Bella becomes a life or death situation.
When the tone changes, the narrative does get weaker as it leads to ludicrous moments, the most notable is a confrontation of talking werewolves which is less Narnia and more Garfield. The more characters thrown in, the baggier the film becomes as there is an attempt at involving insignificant individuals which perhaps works in its literacy source but fails on film. What Breaking Dawn lacks from its more impressive predecessor is any level of action which leads to something anti-climatic, although Bill Condon knows how to direct a ferocious birth sequence which is very Rosemary’s Baby.
Despite lacking in action, the acting is the best we’ve seen so far in the series as it’s no longer about the abs or emo haircut, although they do appear. Kristen Stewart, in particular, ain’t no mopey heroine but a woman who although is falling apart due to her violent pregnancy, she clearly wants to be a mother to the soon-to-be-born child of which everyone is against, even Edward. Although there is still a clash between Edward and Jacob, both Pattinson and Lautner in those roles are enough to keep the film exciting despite the constant shirt-removing.
While Bill Condon’s direction isn’t as action-packed as the Eclipse director, as well as the storytelling isn’t as great as it should have been, Part 1 is a good enough set-up to hopefully a grand all-out battle for Part 2.
DIRECTOR: BILL CONDON
SCREENWRITER: MELISSA ROSENBERG
STARRING: KRISTEN STEWART, ROBERT PATTINSON, TAYLOR LAUTNER
RUNTIME: 117 MINS