It’s widely believed that the meaning of a child’s name is one of the most important influences in the development of his or her personality. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” aptly proves that this notion is not limited to children alone. Like its overlong title, this movie is seemingly endless, dull-witted and often excruciatingly boring.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
At Quality 16 and Rave
Yet it’s not the first in this series to garner such scrutiny, which begs the question — why do these films continue to break box office records? What is it about them that draws people out in hordes and makes ardent fans out of some of the most intelligent among us?
The answer lies, perhaps, in the glorified notion of immortality and everlasting love that the books promote and we, as humans, constantly crave. Our obsession with “happily ever after” has endured in centuries of popular folklore — especially lore involving Prince Charming, or in this case, a glittering, gorgeous vampire. So it makes sense for hopelessly romantic teenagers, along with adults reminiscing about their passionate teenage infatuations, to expect the same magic out of these movies.
However, the latest installment of “The Twilight Saga” is far from magical. It’s a vapid, superficial display of beautiful faces and sets that doesn’t even bother to explore the connotations of “eternity” and “guilt” that resonated throughout the books.
And if the emotions attached to these concepts aren’t being explored, what was the point of dividing this book into a two-part movie? When Summit Entertainment announced its decision to divide “Breaking Dawn,” it seemed like the company wanted to repeat the formula that worked so beautifully for the “Harry Potter” franchise — explore the relationships between the characters in the first part, then follow up with the grueling action of an epic finale.
Alas, this wasn’t what Summit had in mind. In its disappointing attempt to capitalize on every second of this film, it sacrificed the genius of director Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”) for a shallow, substandard recipe that looks good and tastes foul. Yes, the highly anticipated “wedding of the century” is tasteful and ethereal — Bella’s (Kristen Stewart, “The Runaways”) wedding gown had every girl in the audience drooling. But after that, the movie plummets into shadowy depths with vampiric speeds.
The apparently “animalistic” attraction Edward (Robert Pattinson, “Water for Elephants”) and Bella shared in the books is far from apparent in the movie. The honeymoon, in particular, is a prolonged affair that involved little sex and a lot of chess. Yes, it’s as strange as it sounds. If only Condon’s direction and Melissa Rosenberg’s (“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”) script had captured Bella’s sexual cravings and Edward’s painful reservations with as much captivating grace as the Brazilian scenery, we’d be looking at one of the best films in the “Twilight” series so far.
Instead, the actors, who’ve matured astonishingly since the first movie in 2008, had few chances to showcase their newly acquired skills. Stewart, Pattinson and Taylor Lautner (“Abduction”) are ultimately left with the pregnancy scenes to exhibit the psychological conflicts that should have persisted throughout the film. Poor Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) — never again should an Academy Award nominee have to play such a useless part in such a disappointing movie.
Maybe Condon realized this movie reached a miserable low when he decided to make the birth scene at the end so shockingly gory. Though it is the first scene that lived up to its literary counterpart, it wasn’t enough to save “Breaking Dawn” from breaking down.
If Summit doesn’t fix whatever caused this movie to go so hopelessly awry in time for part two, “The Twilight Saga” might become more of a joke than its own satirical counterpart, “Vampires Suck.”