The Twilight series is almost over; just keep saying that to yourself. At this point if you’re not into the Twilight craze you won’t be jumping into it now, but if you happen to be dragged into The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One this weekend you should at least know what you’re getting into. At this point the exposition and set-up is complete and we’re winging our way towards the future of the star-crossed lovers known as Edward and Bella! Unfortunately, the series has given up on trying to get decent acting out of the stars and continues to suffer from transferring everything from the book to screen, increasing the runtime and leading to more eye poking from the audience.
Vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and his human love Bella (Kristen Stewart) are finally married! Unfortunately, Bella still has to cope with leaving her family and life behind to become a vampire. Things are further complicated when Bella discovers she’s pregnant, not only putting her life in danger but breaking the truce between the vampires and werewolves including friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner).
Director Bill Condon, the Oscar winning director, does his best with the series and at least makes it looks gorgeous. The colors, the way the dream sequences are shot, this movie look slick and polished. It’s a far cry from the dark and drab of David Slade’s Eclipse, which was necessary for that movie. Everything about Breaking Dawn is light and beautiful, until the third act insanity at least.
As mentioned above there is nothing new with this installment, we’re just sitting back and waiting for everything to come to a close. This movie plays like a home movie. The wedding of Edward and Bella is nice. The honeymoon looks great and oh great we get to see video of Bella giving birth (albeit more vampiric and hostile). Suffice it to say there’s a lot of buildup to something but no conflict. Yes there are the issues with the baby and the truce but that all ramps up very quickly at the end making the beginning forty minutes of pretty. Maybe if there was a villain that we met throughout the film or just some overarching hostile force like the others it would feel more complete. Instead we just learn the consequences of having unprotected sex. The pacing and narrative is a hodgepodge of elements, attributed to screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg refusing to deviate from the books and irk the fans. Had the films decided to tighten up a little on the narrative it would have felt smoother and less confused.
The confused tone is heightened by the fact that the film acknowledges it’s split in half. Characters played by actors Maggie Grace and Mia Maestro are introduced at the wedding, never to be seen again. I don’t even remember their characters’ names. I’ve been told they play a role in the second half of the film but having them appear only to vanish into the ether plays like thankless cameos. If you’re just watching the films it’s almost like these actors were friends who were thrown into the movie. Again, had we deviated from the books adding these characters into the second film and explaining their origins some other way would have felt more organic?
Speaking of cast we still have a group of lifeless actors leading this ship who continue to lack any talent or effort. If you’re looking for more back-story from the supporting cast, which we saw in Eclipse, you’re out of luck. Everyone is set in their one-dimensional ways and you’re meant to deal with it. Stewart spends the majority of the film rolling in bed with Pattinson and looking dead through the second half. Pattinson continues to look pained while Lautner tries to pull off a James Dean swagger.
I may be harping on things that are already established in the franchise, but I really believed Bill Condon could make something out of this movie. Sadly, the need to bow to the fans is superseding that and we’re stuck with a franchise that will probably end as dull as it started. If you’re a Twilight fan, and if you’re not, nothing I say will change your respective minds. I sum it up best with “It’s two hours I’ll never get back.