At the Movies: Breaking Dawn, Part 1

If you’ve been following along, you know I’m not a fan of the “Twilight” movie series.

The story’s too soapy; the dialogue embarrassing; the actors lacking; the long pauses to sell soundtrack albums exhausting; the rules violations of basic vampire and werewolf lore offensive; and the action-oriented finale always follows the same plot: someone wants to kill Bella.

The special effects are decent and the scenery/set designs are well done but that’s really not enough to sell a movie franchise.

So what is there to say about “Breaking Dawn, Part 1,” the fourth and penultimate chapter in the movie saga based on Stephenie Meyer’s book series? Well, if nothing else, it’s very consistent.

For those of you new to the “Twilight” tale, two things: 1. Congratulations on avoiding it for so long, and 2. Why start now?

If you are starting now, here’s all you need to know: Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) is a vampire. He’s in love with 18-year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). Bella’s best friend since childhood is Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a wolfman. Jacob loves Bella but Bella loves Edward. Vampires and Wolfpeople don’t like each other but coexist due to an ages-old truce. Bella and Edward are getting married, after which he will turn her into a vampire. Jacob has a problem with this.

“Breaking Dawn, Part 1” opens with Jacob upset and running into the woods. It’s a scene we’ll be seeing played out repeatedly.  What follows is a long 20-minute wedding segment — complete with pre-wedding nightmare — that tries hard to sell this as the Wedding of the Century. The reception ends with Jacob showing up, getting upset and running into the woods.

Edward and Bella fly off to a private island near Rio for their honeymoon. Bella wants to have sex first before she’s killed and turned into a blood-sucking monster but human/vampire sex turns out to be a bad idea. Bella becomes pregnant and her puny human body is not strong enough to handle a human/vampire mutant baby.

The unhappy couple return home but there’s nothing anyone can do. By now you may have figured out that the whole movie has been romance and jealousy and anger and love and sex and horror and angst and talk and long pauses for music moments — but where’s the action? Isn’t it time for somebody to want to kill Bella and who will it be this time?

This time it’s Jacob’s pack, who decide Bella and baby must die, and if a few Cullens are culled along the way so much the better. As you can imagine, this puts Jacob in an awkward situation.

As mentioned at the top of the program, “Breaking Dawn, Part 1” features all the strengths and weaknesses of the previous installments. Sadly there are far more weaknesses than strengths.

Did it work for me? The best thing about “Breaking Dawn, Part 1” is that there are only 2 parts and so soon it will all be over. To be fair, if you’ve enjoyed the series up to this point, you’ll probably enjoy this one as well.


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