The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011)
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011)

Genre: Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 57 min.

Release Date: November 18th, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Bill Condon Actors: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Sarah Clarke, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli




othing puts a damper on marital bliss like unexpected and instantaneous pregnancy. The fourth outing in the wildly popular “Twilight Saga” finds the dangers a little more personal for the Cullen family; a new sense of immediacy surrounds their life-and-death decisions as a threat from within (literally) works to tear apart their close-knit members. The choices are difficult ones – but worry not, for even when the mature content and intensity surge at times, there’s plenty of silly love triangle humor and cheesy werewolf effects to lighten the mood. When the abundance of close-ups and “emo-metal” music finally does recess, “Breaking Dawn Part 1” manages to evoke a few moments of sincere emotion that stand out in a film submerged in angst-ridden vibes and repetitive events that do little to further the story.

Having sorted out her conflicted feelings, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) decides to spend eternity with vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Their wedding looms on the horizon. Though heartbroken over her decision, werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) agrees to distance himself from their affairs. When Bella is suddenly impregnated during her honeymoon with Edward, and the rapidly growing fetus begins to threaten the young woman’s life, Jacob returns to both comfort his friend and aid the Cullen family against a pack of werewolves intent on destroying the child.

The movie opens with a recap that is so short and incoherent, anyone unfamiliar with the franchise will be lost. Fortunately, the story is so basic, it isn’t difficult to piece together the happenings without it – and no doubt viewers will be sufficiently versed on the previous films and books anyway. There’s also the treat of Bella’s voiceover narration, suffused with sullen philosophical observations that don’t match her usual choppy, simply worded blurbs. The regular dialogue remains expectedly generic and pitiful. Hopefully these lines aren’t reproduced verbatim from the novel. The other aspect that stays pathetically commensurate to the previous features is the special effects – a series this profitable ought to upgrade to more realistic wolves, more convincing vampire versus werewolf battles, and more sensible visuals to demonstrate heightened speed and strength. Instead, every moment with a hulking canine or a blurred bloodsucker is laughable.

There’s barely enough content here for an entire movie. Wedding preparations take forever, the wedding itself drags on endlessly, and watching the honeymoon sequence, which spans 14 days, feels like real time. The much talked about controversy stems from the sex scenes, but they rarely include anything more racy than hugging, kissing, and extreme close-ups. This is accompanied by soundtrack songs rising up over the action in ten minute intervals, a complete lack of tension during scenes with Edward and Jacob, and the slightly amusing idea that “Twilight’s” connection to “True Blood” is that neither show involves vampires using protection while engaging in indiscriminate sexual activities. By the time Bella starts to physically deteriorate from the draining pregnancy, “Breaking Dawn Part 1” becomes nearly unwatchable in its formulaic approach to suspense, drama, action choreography, and editing. After all that, it even has to end on a contrived note.

– The Massie Twins

  • 3/10