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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part One

By Kathryn Schroeder
Released: November 18, 2011
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Synopsis
A chain of events, set off by Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella's (Kristen Stewart) marriage, honeymoon and birth of a child, yields a shocking development for Jacob (Taylor Lautner).

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Film Review
Production
In the first installment of what will be the final adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's hugely popular "Twilight" series of books, Breaking Dawn, Part One finds Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) getting married, and in a freak of nature twist having a human-vampire child.

The film begins on the eve of Bella and Edwards nuptials, as both are struggling with the fact that they will soon be man and wife. Edward feels the need to reveal his one final secret to Bella, a not so shocking story about his lust for blood when he was initially turned and how he preyed on the vermin men of the world--rapists, murderers, and the like. For Bella, this is a time to savor her last days as a human as her future life as Mrs. Edward Cullen will involve being turned into a vampire--something viewers learned in the previous films (books). As Bella walks down the isle surrounded by the beautiful romantic spectacle Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene) has created for their ceremony one cannot help but think Bella is walking towards her death, as she is indeed doing so. The virgin bride of sacrifice, all prettied up in the finest white satin and lace. The wedding is sweet, and somewhat magical to watch, as the chemistry between Stewart's Bella and Pattinson's Edward continues to radiate off the screen in immeasurable proportions. The addition of snappy, humorous, sarcastic dialogue from characters such as Emmett (Kellan Lutz) and Jessica (Anna Kendrick) keep the mood light and fun, and Bella's father Charlie (Billy Burke) delivers his bumbling cluelessness perfectly during his speech. You feel terrible for the man as he just thinks Bella is too young to get married, he has no idea what else is coming her way.

The darkness soon falls over Bella and Edward's happy day when Jacob arrives and, prepare yourself, learns Bella will not be turned into a vampire until after the honeymoon. What!? Edward could kill her with his uncontrollable lust and passion--but he does not. On a tropical island outside of of Brazil Edward and Bella consummate their love in a fury of broken beds and torn feather pillows. All good things come to an end, and for Edward and Bella it is the realization she has become pregnant over the course of a couple weeks in paradise. No one knew it was possible, and no one knows exactly what is growing inside of Bella. An abomination seems to be the general consensus. The audience will find out exactly what Bella has going on inside of her, and in true pro-life support Bella refuses to get rid of the "thing", as Edward refers to it, even as it consumes her, breaking her bones, emaciating her beyond recovery, and quite frankly sucking the life out of her day-by-day.

Breaking Dawn, Part One is all about the baby, and how it will alter the truce between the Vampires and the Wolves because it is an unknown addition to the balance of their nature. Jacob (Taylor Lautner) becomes an integral part in keeping Bella safe, that is his job it seems over the course of all the films/books, but his journey takes an interesting turn at the end of the film. Bella's child lives, everyone knows that, and Jacob has vowed to kill the child before his wolfpack does the job. Or does he? The film definitely throws a nice twist in to keep the viewer wondering what will happen now with the love triangle of Bella, Edward and Jacob, especially with the baby in the mix.

The entire movie may all be about the baby, but for the first time in Twilight movie history it does make you want to know what will happen next. The story is interesting, if not preposterous at times--when the wolves speak to one another it is more a time to laugh than to be afraid or anxious over what they plan to do to Bella. Not a great deal happens in this first installment after the pregnancy reveal and prior to the birth of the child that is all that exciting, but the brooding, sullen character reactions remain in tact. The time spent waiting for the final moment is worth it for the fans of Twilight, and it is hardly possible anyone who has followed Bella, Jacob, and Edward this far will not be pleased with this first part of the final chapter in their story.
Directing
When Director Bill Condon signed on to direct the final Twilight movie, breaking it into two parts, it came as quite a shock. The Twilight films have never been seen as serious pictures, and the direction in the previous three films has been detestable. Condon has directed such acclaimed films as Kinsey and Dreamgirls, he even wrote the screenplay's for Chicago and Gods and Monsters. Condon was not an obvious choice for a Twilight film; it turns out he was the best choice. Breaking Dawn, Part One is directed well, even with the sophomoric dialogue and kitschy-ness that plagues all of the Twilight screenplays/books.

There is an air of maturity now to the themes and characters never seen before; for the first time a strong sense of control is behind the camera. The performances by Stewart, Pattinson, and Lautner are no longer incredibly flat and worthy of eye-rolling when emotional scenes occur. Everyone's timing has improved, and the humor brought by characters actually suits the film rather than hindering it from being a serious movie. Scenes between Edward and Bella are not as stiff as they have been before, and the handling of the love-making scenes is exceptional. As are the scenes of concern, and anger over the child. The final climx when Bella gives birth is done tastefully, while utilizing horror film camera and editing techniques of earlier decades with precisions. Condon envisioned what he thought the final chapter should be like for Twilight and his skill and technique has created a well-directed film. If only he had directed the prior films, it could have saved many a viewer (and critic) hours of pain at the movies.



Genres
Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date
November 18, 2011
MPAA Rating
PG 13
Running Time
117 minutes
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