Breaking down Breaking Dawn 1

I’ve learned from the first Twilight movie that one should not expect too much from these film adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling YA novels (which I voraciously read  and enjoyed prior to watching the first movie). While I didn’t think that any of the movies were completely bad, I was truly underwhelmed over how it compared to the literary piece. And of course, I was one of the more skeptical ones upon hearing that the filmmakers were breaking the fourth book into two parts. Really? I didn’t think that the final book was eventful enough to fill two installments but now, the question will be whether or not they would have enough material to fill the last movie with interesting scenes to merit a climax. But that’s a different story for a different time. Fair warning: If you haven’t read the book, there may be some spoilers ahead.

Back to the topic at hand, the first part of Breaking Dawn tackles the events  following the death of Victoria, the vampire who’s been stalking Bella since the demise of her mate James in the first movie. Twi-hards finally get the dream wedding of Edward (Robert Pattinson) to Bella (Kristen Stewart) and the much hyped about honeymoon in Isle Esme, a remote island paradise owned by the Cullens. However, just as the young couple begin to figure out how to have a normal family life (despite their abnormal set up), Bella finds out that she is pregnant and conflict arises when the Cullens are divided about what to do with the baby, which apparently is taking its toll on Bella’s health as the pregnancy progresses. As if their worries aren’t enough, the wolves find out about Bella’s condition and decide to move against the Cullens for fear that the “abomination” will cause harm to the people of Forks.

I must admit that I was impressed by how much the franchise has grown in terms of direction. The team managed to pull off an amazing wedding — truly beautiful from the set, to Bella’s gown which was unremarkable at the front but the details at the back was truly classic, and the entire party altogether. They made the event a mix of seriousness and fun and the general atmosphere was reflective of a real wedding. Team Edward fans will have a treat in store for them with loads of romantic scenes between Bella and Edward but Team Jacob (Taylor Lautner) should not fret as there are plenty of screen time for their favorite werewolf  in this installment.

As expected, Breaking Dawn was rather uneventful, but the team managed to squeeze in a bit of action in the showdown between Sam’s pack and Jacob’s posse, which was far better than earlier fight scenes in the first three movies combined. Kudos to the make up team for transforming Bella into a reluctant bride, then a haggard waif, then a stunning vampire, and selling it. The make up team also laid off on too much foundation for the Cullens this time around, making them look more attractive (which they were supposed to be) rather than stiff and pasty. There were some deviations from the book but they were rather minor and served to improve the movie so all is forgiven.

In terms of acting, I commend Robert Pattinson for improving on his delivery although I still detect faint traces of constipation (I always joke that Bella’s and his tortured looks seem like constipation rather than emotional stress) in his scenes. As for Bella, how do I put it? Well, she was still the most consistent of the bunch, her acting never changing from the first movie until this one. Whether this is a good or bad thing would depend entirely on the audience’s perception. I appreciated the scene where Jacob imprinted on Nessie because they justified the moment with a fast forward to Nessie’s future, making it not too weird for Jacob to have strong feelings for an infant.

As with the first three parts, there were standouts (other than Jacob) in this piece and for me, it was Charlie, Bella’s dad. I especially liked his gruff acceptance of his daughter’s marriage and his subtle threats about hunting down Edward if he makes her cry, which is quite typical reactions for fathers who learn that their daughters are marrying into a super gorgeous and loaded family. Another notable supporting character was Seth Clearwater, played by newcomer Booboo Stewart. The kid has charisma and an air about him that just makes people smile and he was a great antidote to Jake’s overall seriousness in this movie.

All in all, while there were many lulls in the movie, there were also fun parts so it wasn’t so bad. In a sense, it was clearer than the others because the filmmakers made the love story the focal part of the movie, with the fighting and all subsequent conflicts merely secondary. Bella could be happier, in my opinion. After all, she has two hot guys who are willing to go to the ends of the earth to have her and protect her, so it was just weird that the tortured look did not leave her face (even during her wedding to Edward who has grown even hotter from his previous hotness scale).

In the end, I may have to watch the last one if only to finish what I started but somehow. I’m really not excited about it but who knows?  The film just might surprise me. 🙂

For reviews of Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, check out fellow blogger