The question is not whether critics or non-fans will like the second to last installment of the “Twilight” series, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.” The question is whether Twi-hards will have their expectations met and be satisfied with the results of the two part conclusion they have so ardently been anticipating. “Twilight’s” runaway success has always defied all logic and sense. The phenomenon is beyond some people’s comprehension but for the fans, it all makes perfect sense.”Breaking Dawn” is definitely geared towards its adoring masses who hope it will be as mushy, melodramatic and over-the-top as it can get.
Bill Condon’s Directorial Sparkle
The multiple Academy Award winning director, Bill Condon, brought a gritty and edgy realism to “Breaking Dawn” and generated some of the best performances in the series thus far. The moments of violence and gore are intense. Forget the crystallized body parts and lack of blood shed in “Eclipse.” Condon brought the raw reality of a savage birth and death to a level which would do justice to any horror vampire flick. The scenes were so intense that the somewhat flighty or ridiculous moments which heavily pepper the film are soon forgotten.
Although the carnage and Bella’s emaciated form are raw and unexpurgated, the sexual content very much panders to the film’s younger fans. The love scenes amount to a quite brief compilation of close ups on faces and limbs. The disproportionate level of violence to sex is most likely a reflection of what we as a society tend to vilify and find offensive.
Overall, Condon brings “Twilight” to a climax it has never been to before, both literally and metaphorically. The material is charged in the sense that Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally seal their union in marriage and in the bed which gives way under Edward’s passions. There is a tragic and brutal predicament regarding Bella’s life and her unborn baby’s and a further threat from those who fear this offspring. Also, there is the vexatious and at times temperamental impasse over Bella’s undying love for Edward and her selfish need to keep Jacob (Taylor Lautner) near, even though she cannot love him in the way he loves her.
In the midst of this over-inflated romance and its requisite corny dialogue, there are some quite organic, poignant exchanges between the characters that appear of a higher caliber from the overall theme of emotional excess and sickeningly sweet declarations of undying love we all secretly love to watch. One such scene is when Jacob pays a surprise visit to Bella at her wedding reception and Edward takes her to him for a private moment near the edge of the woods. Lautner and Stewart so impressively play out their longing and discord that it rivals the emotionally charged moment when Edward desperately fights to save Bella’s life after her bone-crushing, flesh-tearing, bloody labor.
An added bonus is that the production finally got the wolves right! Their mannerisms, physicality, interaction and appearance are that of actual wolves’ and no longer akin to something out of Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree display.
Less Than Stellar Moments
The movie does deliver on many of the criteria the fans will be judging it on, but it still doesn’t excuse some of its less than stellar moments. The score was distracting and odd. The upbeat jingles used as background music missed their purpose of easing the viewer deeper into the story. Thankfully, it did get better as the film progressed.
The hair and makeup also left much to be desired. Although Bella as a bride and her subsequent progressive deterioration were part of the film’s rousing successes, the coral lipstick they insist on using on the vampires is as ridiculous as ever. Also, they inexplicably transformed Carlisle’s (Peter Facinelli) bleach-blond, pushed-back hairstyle to a ginger hue with a dorky side part.
If you are willing to embrace “The Twilight Saga’s” self-indulgent, emotional histrionics and feral determination to unapologetically deliver a sappy, supernatural love story millions have fallen in love with, then “Breaking Dawn” will not disappoint. The critics have always tried to lay “Twilight” to rest, but the fans have resurrected it time and again.
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