The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One * *

Genre: Drama

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner

Running Length: 117 minutes

Synopsis: In Breaking Dawn Part One, the vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and human Bella (Kristen Stewart) are finally getting married, but an unexpected turn of events during their honeymoon threatens to unsettle their life together. Meanwhile, werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) is torn between loyalty to his wolfpack and his devotion to Bella. 

Review: The Twilight series is practically critic-proof – there’s a whole bunch of rabid Stephenie Meyer fans who want nothing more than to see the books come to life on the big screen, and then there’s the “Twi-mom” phenomenon where normally rational women go absolutely gaga over Robert Pattinson. Who cares about storyline, thespian skills and quality when box office triumph is assured? Well, certainly not Summit Entertainment, who has deemed it fit to split the final installment of the Twilight series into two movies in an obvious money grab, even if the material does not justify such a move. The film is not a total wash – the last reel is actually pretty well done – but so much of the movie feels so perfunctory that it’s hard to look past the movie’s many shortcomings.
 
If compared to the previous Twilight films, Breaking Dawn really is marginally better – because there’s actually something else going on other than endless teenage angst that plagued the previous installments. However, the much vaunted bedroom-destroying sex scene is so tame it’s almost laughable, the showdown between Jacob and the wolf pack is actually laughable, and only the climactic delivery of Bella’s half-vampire baby actually manages to (pun intended) deliver.

There’s really no acting talent to be found here, even if the actors themselves have shown thespian quality in other films (except Taylor Lautner who’s really not much of an actor in any movie so far). And although the film’s budget is not small, the CGI is somewhat questionable, especially the wolves which just doesn’t seem at all realistic. Given the blah screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, even a lauded director like Bill Condon can’t do much to elevate the movie to anything beyond mediocre.

It’s probably not very fair to judge Breaking Dawn Part 1, since well, it is not a complete movie. However, extrapolating what has already played out on screen, it’s hard to imagine Part 2 being much improved over Part 1. That probably won’t matter, since this far down the road in the Twilight franchise, only die hard fans should even consider watching this movie, and would probably find the experience a worthwhile one.

Rating: ** (out of four stars)

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