Nov 23 2011 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1
THE Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is the penultimate entry in the popular movie franchise based on Stephenie Meyer’s books.
Lovers Bella (Kirsten Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally get married but news that Bella is pregnant isn’t met with traditional joy as her unborn child threatens Bella’s life and the future of the Volturi vampire coven and Quileute wolf pack.
Well, I was big enough to hold my hands up and admit that after a horrible experience watching the first two films in the Twilight Saga, I actually enjoyed the third entry; last year’s Eclipse.
Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is a notch below Eclipse but avoids the stench left by the earlier movies (sorry Twi-Hards!).
They’ve gone down the Harry Potter route of splitting the last book into two movies, with Part 2 coming our way next November.
It’s a real up and down film with some flashes of genuine brilliance... and cringeworthy moments.
Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters) makes his series debut in the director’s chair (he’ll helm Part 2 as well) and brings some visual style to this entry.
An Edward flashback sees him sitting in a cinema watching Bride of Frankenstein (a clear nod to Twilight’s central relationship) and a red and white-bathed wedding dream sequence is deliciously devilish.
Bella and Edward’s wedding provides the necessary “aww, that’s lovely” cutesy moments (Bella arm-in-arm with her dad) and very funny speeches from Charlie (Billy Burke), Emmett (Kellan Lutz) and Jessica (Anna Kendrick).
But things start to unravel when Bella and Edward head off for a Brazilian honeymoon that drags on too long and sees the much-hyped matter of Bella’s ‘first time’ amounting to a couple of kisses leading into a fade-to-black.
Condon was clearly restricted by having to stick within a 12A rating as a graphic moment from the book, Bella’s childbirth scene, also takes place off-camera.
First film writer Melissa Rosenberg is back on the screenplay and Meyer’s story themes of teenage pregnancy, abortion and fear of giving birth will resonate with the series’ consistent target audience; teenage girls.
The problem with the script, though, is that it requires the cast to spend most of the movie’s second half sitting about the Cullen house and serves up way too much of Taylor Lautner’s (Jacob) bad posturing.
There’s a real lack of urgency, especially when compared to Eclipse, and what little action featured is bathed in darkness.
‘Talking’ wolves and an “imprinting” of a baby (don’t ask!) are unintentionally funny and pretty naff, and Carter Burwell’s near-constant score is pretty annoying, evoking memories of the first movie, which is something that should never happen!
But the final Bella-centric scenes are really well done and a great set-up for Part 2.
Breaking Dawn - Part 1 won’t convert anyone not already immersed in the Twilight universe (and I am, having been dragged kicking and screaming along for the ride) but despite its flaws, it works as an appetite-wetter for a, hopefully, action-packed conclusion next November.
Rating - 6 out of 10.