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Review: Breaking Dawn (Part 1)

11.18.2011

PLOT: The big day is here! Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) are finally getting married- and after a honeymoon in Rio, Edward’s going to turn Bella into a vamp so the two can spend eternity together. But alas, right after taking Bella’s virginity, she falls pregnant with Edward’s undead spawn- who feeds on the helpless Bella from the inside. Will she survive her pregnancy long enough to be turned into a vamp? Will Jacob (Taylor Lautner) ever find a shirt? The answers, partially- lie in Part 1, of BREAKING DAWN!

REVIEW: TWILIGHT fans rejoice! After eighteen months, the latest installment of this tween and teen adored franchise is finally hitting theaters. But- there’s a catch see… Taking a cue from the last HARRY POTTER, the clever producers have decided to cut Stephanie Meyer’s epic length (too long according to most reviews) tome, and split it in two. Why have one $500 Million grossing movie when you can have two? So, TWILIGHT fans will have to make do with only half of the final installment before the series comes to a merciful end next November.

So, whether or not you’re on “Team Edward”, or “Team Jacob”, Twi-hards are going to very busy at the multiplex this weekend. Everyone else…yeah, this might be a good weekend to stay in and dig into the 5-season set of THE WIRE you’ve been looking to finally give a spin. Despite having big-shot director Bill Condon at the helm, BREAKING DAWN is every bit the insipid bore fest the other films have been.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. I. Don’t. Get. It. Why, oh why are these films popular? They are the cheesiest, most tepid series of films to come along in decades (next to them the STEP-UP franchise looks like THE DARK KNIGHT) - yet people FLOCK to see them like sheep. I dunno, I guess something about them struck a nerve for a big chunk of the movie-going public, and of course- being a non-pervy thirty-year-old male, I’ve never read the books.

What really pisses me off about these films is that the ingredients are there. I mean, c’mon- good looking teens, a vampire mythology contrasted with the virginal loss of innocence, if they weren’t so slavishly devoted to Meyer’s gooey books, these could have been a lot of fun. Heck, even the leads aren’t bad. Kristen Stewart is a terrific young actress (obvious in ADVENTURELAND, THE RUNAWAYS, WELCOME TO THE RILEYS, and more), and even Pattinson, and Lautner are not without talent (I respect Lautner’s physical transformation from gawky teen to six-packed action hero between the first two films). But the material…gee whiz…

However, the thing that really gets my gall is the fact that Bill Condon is directing. He’s a really talented director, and all of his films (GODS & MONSTERS, KINSEY, and DREAMGIRLS) have proven his skill behind the camera. If anyone could give these films a jolt, he’s the one. But no- the direction here is virtually indistinguishable from the paycheck jobs done by Chris Weitz, and David Slade in the last two (to be fair to Catherine Hardwicke, I never saw the first film).

The only difference is that, between Condon and DP Guillermo Navarro, the film looks a lot nicer than the last two. They make all the leads look very pretty indeed- and also, my jaw dropped when it turned out Lautner only had ONE shirtless scene. If you think that means the films have matured, you’re sadly mistaken.

First off, the wedding scene goes on FOREVER. I mean, this isn’t THE DEER HUNTER folks; a drawn-out wedding scene is not needed. That said, Billy Burke deserves some kudos for ringing a few (intentional for once) laughs out of those early scenes. The honeymoon also takes a solid forty minutes of screen time, and if you’re expecting some really sexy stuff between Stewart and Patinson, well- you ain’t gonna get it. This is tame even for a PG-13.

I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t admit that the film picks up A BIT in the last twenty minutes when Bella goes into labor, and the Cullen clan is attacked by a clan of angry werewolves (yes, the CGI is as bad as ever). Condon manages to infuse a bit of menace and energy into the ending, although the cliffhanger followed by credits that had the audacity to imitate those from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE pretty much killed all the goodwill I had going in the last twenty minutes.

Before I get flamed (or murdered) by clan of angry Twi-hards, I’ll say this…it’s no worse than the other films. If you liked those, then chances are you’ll like this. Essentially these movies are critic proof, and my telling you its bad isn’t going to make the slightest difference to anyone interested in the series. That said, if you expected Condon’s involvement to make the film (or films) worth seeing, sadly- it does not. It’s just like the others. Take from that, what you will…

Extra Tidbit: Pattinson is very good at sulking. Just sayin...
Source: JoBlo.com

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