Retro Review – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally gets his wish; to marry Bella (Kristen Stewart). Shortly afterwards, Bella finally gets her wish as the couple consummate their marriage. However, sex has it’s complications, as the newly weds soon find out.

Ah the Twilight Saga soldiers on, and this is a film that is definitely meant for fans of the franchise. Splitting the book into two parts – for whatever reason – means that this film has the time to focus on the wedding and romance of the book, without having to deal with the fallout of Bella’s pregnancy. Oh yes, she gets pregnant. Now, fans of different vampire fiction may find this a stretch of the imagination, but this is the direction that Stephenie Meyer – the author of the Twilight books – decided to go in, so we really just have to accept it.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson revive their beloved roles as Bella and Edward, and without the drama that is constantly tearing the two apart the pair smile for much of the first half of the film, which makes a change. Of course, once things go wrong, they find themselves on opposite sides of the debate once more, and they return to brooding and pouting and mooching around. Taylor Lautner as Jacob gets to do the whole over protective thing again, which either underlines his limited range or simply restricts him. It is hard to tell which.

The story, since it has been divided, focuses mainly on the newly weds, and fans of the series will be delighted to see the pair finally end up in bed together. Non-fans may find the over the top nature of the act to be laughable, but then that is a line that the Twilight franchise has uneasily tread since it began.

Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has taken full advantage of the film being split into two, but the dialogue is still clunky and overly expositional. Director Bill Condon – best known for Dreamgirls – allows the film to begin gently then tries to ramp up the tension, but he is fighting a losing battle since most of the film revolves around people sitting in beautiful locations and talking. The final threat is not as gory as it could have been, and this lets the film down.

Oh yes, Guillermo Navarro’s cinematography is lovely. The wedding sequence is gorgeous, and the honeymoon island looks gorgeous in the moonlight. In fact, this may be the first time that the Twilight franchise has made good use of night shots, since these are vampires that can go out in daylight – even if they draw a lot of attention to themselves if they do.

In all, there was no need for the final book in the Twilight Saga to be broken into two films. As it stands, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is made for Twilight fans as they get a chance to finally indulge Bella and Edward’s relationship. The dialogue is weak and the story thin. The cinematography is lovely, but this is not a reason for non-fans to watch the film.

Rating: 1.5/5

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