In Review: Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

By Maryann O’Connor

I am aware that if you are reading this, you’re probably a Twilight fan wanting to revel, once more, in the events of the penultimate film in the series. However, I do hope that you’re someone who might be sceptical about or casually ridicule the series. I want to discuss this film as you may usually discuss a film recently released in cinemas. Not as a permanent source of bile and example of everything which may be wrong with the film industry today.

I have now seen Breaking Dawn Part 1 twice. I have watched Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) get married (and all the other stuff) twice. You may call me a Twihard or some other such derisory name. The fact is, I like films and I am not ashamed. I may be accused of being overly positive at times but I do not fawn or obsess over anything unless it contains Ryan Gosling (ok, that’s a joke). I’ve read all the books and enjoyed them, so feel I am adequately educated to make a pronouncement on the quality of this here piece of celluloid.

Breaking Dawn, to put it bluntly, is what the saga’s fans have been waiting for. Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg have written the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and longing looks to death (pardon the pun) and now we get to the money shot.  It could stand alone as a film about a boy and a girl who like each other, doing the ‘right’ thing and getting married before spawning.

I actually enjoyed the film a little bit more the second time I saw it. Admittedly, the first time I saw it was at midnight on release date, I was a little bit drunk and a little bit tired so I might not have been paying full attention to events onscreen. The second time I saw everything and was pleased. The wedding was lovely and not over the top, the honeymoon was pretty good, although some of us wished the certificate allowed for a bit more lingering in the saucy scenes. The level of detail, overall, was very good throughout.

Of course I laughed at some things. It wouldn’t be Twilight without some exceptionally corny bits but these seemed less than in previous films. The film also had a nice pace, so no clock watching or fidgeting necessary. I believe this is down to director Bill Condon and some more focus on the kind of near-the-knuckle bloody moments you would expect from a film about a family of undead creatures of the night and their human addition. I thoroughly enjoyed those bloody bits. I did feel a little annoyance initially at the splitting of the last instalment into two pieces but on reflection it would have been total gobbledegook had it all been squeezed into one film. Yes, I said gobbledegook.

The performances were all fairly good and this is Kristen Stewart’s best effort of the series so far; much less clunky. Taylor Lautner as the best friend and part-time werewolf Jacob was quite imposing without being too strutty and teen-idolly. The wolf-pack were generally good in support.

The makeup and effects people did really well in developing the whole friendly vampire look: in the first couple of films the makeup and shiny iris effect was quite off-putting and ridiculous. There was no way these creatures were irresistibly attractive, not with that talc-imbued skin. You could almost smell the lavender by just looking at them. The paleness is now much more natural and the bright eyes are more comely than their previous best look of startled-alien-deer- in- headlights.

The soundtrack is also notable, carefully slotting in with the happy/tragic (delete as necessary) moments as they unfold.

I understand that if you haven’t read the books or you don’t fancy one of the cast members then you may not be enchanted by this film. All I ask is that you admit it is not for you and refrain from reaching for the automatic ridicule.

Maryann has awarded Breaking Dawn (Part 1) three Torches of Truth

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