Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, The (2011) - 2/5

Despite my rather mixed feelings about the watered down David Slade and his work on "Eclipse", it's this first part of the fourth entry that makes me realize just how good that the last film had it. "Breaking Dawn Part 1" is a rather rehashed and anti-abortion campaign of "New Moon". The love triangle never diminishes, the action is sparse, and the melodrama is slathered on in glorious tween-girl thickness. Everything a late 20 year old male like myself loves to see in his vampire/werewolf movies.

Bella (Stewart) and Edward (Pattinson) are finally going to get hitched. Although wolf boy Jacob (Lautner) doesn't take the news too well, the wedding seems to go without a hitch. Now the human/vampire couple is off to their honeymoon on an island outside of Brazil only to find things get complicated very quickly. Particularly when Bella begins to feel something moving around inside of her...

As we've discussed before, there is an audience for this film. That audience are those who read the books and like the books. I can't say that I'm either, but as a fan of vampires and fantasy films (and who has a wife that likes the franchise) I once again found myself at the mercy of "Twilight". Unfortunately, this film is only made for those who loved the books. Outside of that "Breaking Dawn" is a sappy love story that paces like snail and gives us almost nothing to truly grab onto. It also lacks explaining certain things well enough for those of us who haven't read the books. It brushes over "imprinting" by werewolves, the random island honeymoon, and some of the subplots are very poorly explained - like the weird "cousins" at the wedding.

Like the other films in this series, this one suffers massively from a few flaws. Uninspiring dialogue, hit or miss acting, a focus on the sappy love triangle (that by this time should no longer be relevant...but yet here it is) - it doesn't seem to matter how good of a director each film gets since the writing and performances are still sub-par. Stewart is predictably awkward. Pattison is as weepingly forlorn as ever. Lautner only takes his shirt off once, but is once again the 'tough guy' with his heart on strings. Nothing new. Nothing better.

What frustrates me the most about "Breaking Dawn Part 1" is the lacking 'epicness' that should go along with a two part finale for a blockbuster franchise. The last entry at least had a solid build to it with some serious consequences in it, but this one lacks that. Firstly because its the first half of a full film (so I didn't really expect it to be quite a finished thought) and secondly because nothing happens. Sans the entire anti-abortion theme that runs rampant in the main concept, the film drags on and on about the same old things. It lacks a good villain to kick it up a notch and although Condon does a decent job staging the entire thing - it certainly feels like the first half of a movie and not a movie itself.

Although "Eclipse" was a step in the right direction for the franchise, "Breaking Dawn Part 1" is a step back. Dull plot, sappy acting, poorly explained details, and poorly written dialogue plague the film from getting where it needs to be for its impactful moral struggles. Here's to hoping that "Part 2" brings back the Volturi with a vengeance and gives us the epic finale that this franchise needs.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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