Breaking Dawn Part 1


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"I don't want you to freak out "

9th April, 2013

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 There's no denying that Hollywood is a greedy bunch serving up remakes/sequels/reboots no matter the quality just to make a quick buck. I've been fine with it generally (I am quite the sequel hound) and can find enjoyment from the shoddiest production but a worrying trend has begun. The splitting of a single work across two features bears no merit and Breaking Dawn Part 1 is the worst of the bunch.

I want to make clear that the type of film split practice I'm opposed to does not include certain movies. Franchise stories that were filmed back to back do not bother me, despite linking threads in an ongoing stories and atypical cliff-hanger endings (The Pirates of the Caribbean and Matrix sequels) they offer a full cinematic experience. That's not to say they are good movies just richer productions (we'll get to that later). There are also films split in half due to run times pushing the 5 hour mark (Kill bill) that would not benefit from cutting scenes (to shorten the length) and no doubt would make uncomfortable cinema viewing experiences.

That which I dislike only really affects novel to screen adaptations and unfortunately is beginning to increase. Unfortunately those books selected have very little content to warrant such elongated filmic representation. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the first instance of book splitting that sullied my enjoyment of an entire franchise. Then Past Twilight we get The Hobbit (reaching 3 movies – I suppose if anyone could pull that off it would be Peter Jackson) and announcements of The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay as a two parter. Each movie that is presented as a Part One offers very little to the viewer (From story and character development) and more often than not is detrimental to its second half.

Just a little background before we get into the specifics of Breaking Dawn Part 1. I actually enjoy the Twilight movies (such as Breaking Dawn Part 2 ) despite being aware of the franchises many flaws they are overall entertaining. When it came to the fourth story I really failed to see what more was left to offer within the universe with pretty much all plot threads tied up (Team Jacob's hopes were laid to rest and the evil vampire trio had been dispatched via each previous film).

I had read that Stephenie Meyer said the fourth book was an epilogue for the characters. This may have been an extended treat for the fans but was unnecessary and could have been summed up in a couple of chapters at the end of Eclipse. I'm not saying that the Breaking Dawn book shouldn't exist (I'm all for pleasing a rabid fan base) but it really didn't need to be adapted to the screen. The decision then to split the book into two movies had me flabbergasted, there was not nearly enough content to pad out one movie let alone two this was just a way to snatch more money from young teenagers.

I've spent most of this review talking about why I don't like the way it was put together but there is actually a reason for that. I am actually limited in what I actually can say about the movie due to its very limited scope which will become clear once I give a brief synopsis.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 begins with the long awaited wedding of Edward and Bella. After this the happy couple set off on their honeymoon. Bella becomes pregnant, (very rare considering Edward is a vampire) returns home and has to deal with the rapid growth of the foetus. Potentially dangerous Bella's only hope may be to be transformed into a vampire herself.

Ok so here's where I have to issue a major SPOILER WARNING for the rest of this review because I really cannot talk about this movie without discussing the entire movie. The reason for that is because the above synopsis is the entire plot, sequence by sequence. Nothing else happens in this film aside from the ending (which we'll get to as it's the best part of the film) but that's not surprising considering the book was short on story from the outset. By splitting the tale this movie feels like a drawn out 2 hour prologue.

So much so there is no driving force for any character aside from waiting around for the abnormal birth. The main antagonists for Breaking Dawn are absent for the entire feature (discounting a short post credit tease) as their motivation is solely based upon what happens after the birth. That means there is no conflict for our heroes (we do get a little forced tension with the wolves which is solved quickly and anticlimactically). While it may be true that the characters have always been the focus each prior movie had an overarching story. Breaking Dawn fails to reach a similar point in its story because it ends before the needed elements are introduced.

We spend most of the movie confined to the Cullen's House as everyone sits around and discusses how rare this event is and how dangerous to Bella the birth may be. It's at this point that the movie begins to appear as propaganda for the Pro Life campaign as they outright dismiss the possibility of abortion no matter the circumstances. The Twilight saga has already promoted some questionable messages but this is not the way to introduce the topic to impressionable young teens.

Now Twilight despite featuring Vamps and werewolves was never really horror which is why I was amazingly surprised that the series actually dips its toe into darker waters here. The only positive aspect from the film comes late into the run time when it's made apparent that Bella is in bad shape with her unborn child is draining her from the inside. With some great special effects and makeup Bella is depicted as deathly sick into the lead up of not only the most brutal moment in the franchise but the most uncomfortable disturbing imagery in any 12/pg-13 movie. The weakening Bella has here back and ribs broken by the growing foetus. In an attempt to save her life we are treated to a POV make shift caesarean section that is grizzly and the only redeeming feature of the movie. This leads to a stomping cliff-hanger those results in Bella's death and resurrection as a vampire.

I usually mention in my reviews the acting quality but when it comes to the Twilight Saga by now the calibre is apparent and you either like it or you don't (much like the only way is Essex – by the way that is something I do not like). Even so I can mention a few things about the cast this time around. First is the distinct lack of characters aside from our main trio and the Cullen's. While most of the extended cast get cameos at the opening wedding that is there lot for both movies. It's disappointing as you'd expect a bit more closure for a movie that is essentially an epilogue. I wanted to know more about Bella's school friends who featured quite a bit over the series (Though that may be more to the fact that Anna Kendrick was one of the number more than anything else).

There's also the introduction of some new vampires who don't appear until the next movie. It's rather odd viewing as they are set up to be important figures especially as more focus is put on them as opposed to leaving cast members then they fail to pop back up. By the time the second movie made it to cinemas I had forgotten who they were (perhaps a bit of exposition would have been nice but that more about the next film).

Here's the big one for me at least and that is Jacobs's presence. I am in utter awe at how useless his character is this time around and while that's not Taylor Lautner's fault (It's how it's written). When you have a 2 hour movie where the focus is on characters sitting around doing nothing it takes a really poorly conceived character to make him seem pointless even in thses situations. As I said before the love triangle was over at the end of Eclipse (And before even that in truth as it never actually started) so how do they attempt to make him relevant? With the creepiest plot device I have seen on screen. Jacob falls in love with a new born baby.

No.no.no.no.no I do not care how anyone attempts to justify this moment this is flat out wrong. Imprinting is a natural element for wolves and soul mates destined to be together. This is a grown man imprinting on a baby. No. He won't date her until she is older. That's called grooming (something in common with Edward) No. She's is not a human baby and grows older faster. That's actually worse she will still have a child's mind at sexual maturity. No. He was attracted to Bella because deep down he could sense his soul mate. So he sniffed out the eggs in her womb? No Is anyone else finding all this a little bit creepy? Why are people out there trying to justify this? This is a bad decision and any sane person should see this. I remember telling a friend about this and they thought I was making it up and you can defiantly see why.

Personally I liked the Jacob character before this element was introduced even with his pointless appearance in the story (he still does very little in the next part as well) but in one stroke they destroyed his credibility and had me glad that he never won Bella over (What would of happened if they ever had a kid?). Fortunately the movie does attempt to gloss over the moment as briefly as possible aside from the moments that are needed due to its importance to the ongoing plot.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 is a useless film with very few merits. For those that thought the Twilight movies were too slow paced this movie is a test of endurance. This is nothing but a money grab and the essential knowledge needed to watch part two can actually be gleamed from just sitting down to the trailer for Breaking Dawn Part 1 before watching the second film.


Other reviews in the series

Twilight
Breaking Dawn Part 1
Breaking Dawn Part 2


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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director:Bill Condon
Screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg
Stephenie Meyer
Released: 2011
Rating:12
Starring:Kristen Stewart
Robert Pattinson
Taylor Lautner