Breaking Dawn Part 1 Review
A Review by APPA THE GYPSY
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Nikki Reed, Julia Jones, Booboo Stewart… Ok. I just started picking the actors who played my favourite characters. It’s a big cast, okay?
Plot: Bella and Edward finally get married, but their honeymoon is interrupted by Bella’s revelation that she is pregnant. The accelerated, inexplicable vampire/human pregnancy is draining the life out of Bella, but she won’t allow herself to be saved. Bella’s unborn child is viewed as a threat by a pack of shapeshifting werewolves, and her new husband and her best friend must put aside their differences and fight together to protect her.
In my defence: This was not my idea. G-Funk said I’m probably going to be the only contributor who ends up seeing Breaking Dawn, therefore I should be the one to write a review on it. I don’t like the fact that this is my second Twilight related post so far, so I’m gonna write something about Harry Potter next time. I promise. Anyway, so Breaking Dawn…
Review: A lot of people have said that the Twilight movies are totes copying the Harry Potter franchise by splitting the last film into two. And that probably is where they got the idea. But honestly, Breaking Dawn should have been split into two novels. There are two narrative arcs, one about the wedding/pregnancy, and then one about Bella as a vampire and the rest of the vampire world not liking her baby. There is a definite moment in the fourth book, where that book should have ended, and the next chapter should have become a fifth book. And that moment is the exact moment that Breaking Dawn Part 1 ended. So they did a good job on that.
And Team Jacob fans will be delighted to know that it takes a whole ten seconds for Jacob’s shirt to come off for the first time. I’m not kidding. It’s the first shot of the movie. Him taking of his shirt. One thing that viewers will be shocked to note, however, is the amount of facial expressions that are happening in the first half an hour of the film. Seriously, Bella smiles. Multiple times.
The wedding reception is probably the best bit of the movie, which sucks, because they could have cut it out, and used that time to squeeze the entire plot of part 2 onto the end of this film, without any trouble. We didn’t really need a lot of the wedding stuff, including another Stephenie Meyer cameo (yes. I am so much of a fangirl that I recognised her straight away), but they put it in there anyway, making the beginning of the film particularly slow, although slightly amusing.
They could have made it short, but no. They did a really,
really slow walk down the aisle, all the wedding vows, and then they did speeches from an obscene amount of people. Everyone loves Emmett, so he deserves a speech, and I would have said the same for Alice if she’d actually said something cool in her speech. But no one really cares about Jessica and her unresolved issues, Bella’s mum is practically a comic relief character (who, true to form, was drunk and sung a lullaby instead of giving a speech), and why was Esme talking? She pretty much never has lines. Why start now? Bella’s dad is awesome, so he’s allowed to give a speech, and it was a good, funny one, so that was cool. But then Edward had to ruin it by going all sappy on us.
And then it’s time for the honeymoon. Which they spent playing chess. You think I’m joking? I’m actually not. How does Bella get pregnant then? She wakes up crying because she wishes that her dream of winning a game of chess against Edward would come true. But it never will. And that makes her sad. So they have sex instead. Good plan.
This film had some serious problems developing character motivations. We spent so much time on Bella and Edward’s issues that the other characters missed out. Even Jacob didn’t really get as much character development as he probably should have. But that’s stupid, because no one actually likes Bella, and the only reason anyone cares about Edward and Jacob, is because twelve year old girls think that the actors are super-hot.
The movie forgot to remind us why Rosalie would be all for Bella having this baby, despite the fact that it might kill Bella. And Rosalie is funny. She’s so mean to Jacob in the book, it’s hilarious. But none of that made the cut. And the movie forgot to show that Leah’s a bitchy wolf-girl, and then explain why. She was just sad, and they explained why a little, but it makes her character a lot less cool. Those are two of my favourite characters, and they got ripped off.
And Alice. People like Alice. She’s a likeable character. Her character should have been suffering from severe migraines and feeling incredibly helpless, but no. She just had trouble saying the word “baby” for the entire movie.
But Seth. Dear sweet Seth. He got the screen time he deserved, for which I’m glad. I am not ashamed to admit that I am on Team Seth. He’s the only character in this whole fictional world who is actually intelligent, and isn’t ridiculously biased. What are his character motivations? He wants to do the right thing. Bless.
There comes a point in any vampire related medium where a human character ends up drinking blood, for one reason or another. For some reason, we, as a culture, have come to accept that vampires drinking people’s blood is not gross, but that doesn’t mean that a human character drinking blood is also not gross. Bella had good reasoning (the baby inside her needed blood to survive), but they should have done that better. It was yuck. And they really drew out that scene, so it left the audience feeling slightly queasy. Not surprising, really. But I would like to point out that in the first book, Bella faints at the sight of blood. Just saying…
Now, you really can’t blame the filmmakers for how the action scenes in this film turned out. The action scenes in the book all amounted to nothing, so they weren’t going to be better in the film. But, a bunch of werewolves growling and only almost biting each other for a full two minutes is going to get boring. So don’t make it two minutes long. And, in a fictional world where just about every character has lightning fast reflexes, don’t have slow motion scenes, in which the characters with lightning fast reflexes stand there looking shocked for a few moments. That makes no sense.
The final few scenes of the film were really good, however, despite being slightly confusing for those people in the audience who hadn’t read the books, and therefore had only a vague idea of what was happening. But the suspense had people who knew what was going to happen sitting on the edge of their seats, which is always impressive. The Spiderman-like CG shots of the cells in Bella’s body changing her in a vampire were kind of lame, but watching Bella’s disintegration into a sort of anorexic state, and then seeing her being regenerated during her vampire transition was fascinating. And what a way to end the film, with Bella’s blood-red eyes snapping open even as her heart stops beating. Oooooh! Makes you want to see the next movie!
All in all, Breaking Dawn Part 1 was ok. The makers of the Twilight films have done a good job giving the fans what they want, and Breaking Dawn did not disappoint, which is more than can be said for plenty of other print-to-screen adaptations. These people are not kidding themselves as to who they’re making these film for, which is always rather refreshing.