Somehow stripping the few redeemable qualities from the final book in Stephenie?Meyers bestselling Twilight series, Breaking Dawn Part 1 cobbles together a tedious, seemingly never-ending prelude to what we can only hope will be a more entertaining Part 2, which releases next November.
The monstrosity that is Part 1 tells the first half of Twilights finale: Mortal Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) marry, jet off to a South American honeymoon and promptly decide to screw everything up by getting Bella pregnant with some type of vampire-esque offspring. A?typical day in carnal paradise, no doubt. Oh, and theres the soul-wrenching (if inevitable) decision by Bella to become undead in the near future.
But what should be some of the two-parters most serious and tense moments instead leave you laughing at the sheer ludicrousness of it all. Granted, its hard not to laugh when resident hunk Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) loses the shirt within 30 seconds of the movies opening. Or when Bella pleads for sex from her vampire husband. Or when Lautner tries to cry. Or when Pattinson tries to smolder. You get the point.
Still, you cant blame director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) for all the soapy and unintentionally funny drama. In fact, most of that can be attributed to screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, who replaced the tension and angst of the book with a bloodless banality. The Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle leaves you both frustrated and apathetic.
And now that weve reached the fourth movie in the series, it comes as no surprise that both Pattinson and Lautner still have no personality. Pattinson actually seems dead, or at the very least bored out of his mind. And Lautner proves he possesses only one expression: an incomprehensible squinting.
Stewart did well, however, with her Im-carrying-a-demon-spawn pregnant mother. Its grotesque in a fascinating way. The C-section later performed by Edward, though with his teeth, no less is simply grotesque.
At its core, Twilight is a teenage love triangle with dashes of angst, sparkles and fisticuffs. But theres the lack of emotion so prevalent in the books (and, to a lesser degree, in the previous movies). Theres angst and unnatural facial expressions, for sure, but theres no subtext to go with them. Which is unsurprising for a movie about pretty people doing a whole lot of nothing.
It wouldnt be fair, though, to rant about the failure of Part 1 without praising the filmography and editing. It really is a beautiful movie, contrasting between stark whites and shocking reds and seamlessly transitioning between absurd scenes.
Normally, splitting a book of Breaking Dawns length and notoriety would be the more prudent choice, at least from the fans perspective. Fans want all of the nuance, all of the lustful stares and backstory. But theres truly no reason Part 1 warranted 117 minutes of screen time. In fact, a large chunk of it could have been left on the cutting room floor, and both parts could have been combined into one longer movie. (Yes, given the financial incentives for Summit Entertainment to be able to sell and market two Twilight movies instead of one, its silly to think that could have happened.)
In the end, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 will appease its rabid fanbase. And no review, no matter how critical, is going to change that. So heres to hoping that Part 2 will pump a little blood into this lifeless finale.
One star out of five.
Dominic Baez is the copy editor/film critic for the East Oregonian. Follow his movie blog, Silver Screening, for the latest trailers, clips and extras at silverscreening.wordpress.com. You can reach him at email@example.com.