The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One
Rating: See below
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner,
Director: Bill Condon
So it's finally here.
The final film of the Twilight Saga franchise - well, the first part of it anyway - heads onto Kiwi cinema screens amid mass expectation from the fans, and to be frank, a little indifference from anyone who's not a Twihard.
This time around after years of anticipation, it's all about the wedding of human Bella (Stewart) and sparkly vamp boy Edward Cullen (RPatz). Well, that and the monstrous after effects...
Despite protestations from occasionally shirtless wolf shapeshifting boy and former partial love, Jacob (sulky Lautner), Bella marries Edward and the pair head away for Rio de Janeiro to celebrate their honeymoon and consummate their long drawn out courtship.
But when Bella becomes pregnant, the ramifications for the fractured relationships between wolves and vamps bubble up to the surface again and with the uncertainty of what the unborn child will do to an already strained truce between the two races, these two have more than post wedding blues to deal with.
It's really quite difficult to review this latest installment of the Twilight Saga as a critic because quite frankly, like the final Harry Potter film earlier this year, it's simply reviewer proof and will do the box office business whatever the naysayers say.
Over nearly two hours, to be honest, very little actually happens; there's a wedding and a lot of skulking/ brooding and worrying/foreshadowing about the future, complete with scenes on their honeymoon which are lashed with copious emo style music and with swirling camera motions and long draping shots of the duo. The dialogue is once again, as you've come to expect in the Twi-saga wooden, stilted and sounds terrible when voiced. Comments like "I won't kill you; that's too easy - you deserve to live with this" and "You only killed monsters - you saved more lives than you took" simply come across as laughable and do nothing to give any real depth to the film itself. Along with the moment when the baby's name is revealed as Renesmee, to hear characters spouting "It's beautiful, it's unique" and trying their best to be earnest is just laughable.
But I'm guessing any Twihard fan will consider these moments romantic and dramatic; and will swoon over Edward telling his new wife "Last night was the best night of my existence", because you're meant to remember what it's like to be romantic and in love. Granted, Kristen Stewart gives a good performance as her awkward doubts and fears over devoting her life to one man for eternity give way to the horrors of the unborn child destroying her from within. And the effects which accompany her descent into ill health are well presented and shocking. As for Taylor Lautner's sulking Jacob and RPatz's brooding Edward, they're both not offering anything at all and are quite stilted in places. The wedding scene at the start is actually well done and beautiful but a swirling soundtrack and Condon's propensity to lash every scene with music makes you feel a little like you're being beaten into submission.
While the scenes of fighting vamps and wolves were quite strong and well done in previous films, this time around, they're gloomy and hard to watch as they all take place in the dark. Plus one scene where a pack of wolves carry out a mental confrontation which is pivotal to Jacob is quite frankly likely to give you the giggles. Equally the love scene which is supposed to be intense and violent as is befitting their nature is now just a series of moments, soft focus cutaways and primarily the punchline to a joke.
I think where some of this film's failing comes from is its accessibility (or lack thereof).
Whereas the final Harry Potter film was entirely watchable if you'd not seen what had gone already, Breaking Dawn - Part One feels in places, quite impenetrable. The whole thing is clearly aimed at those who've been with the franchise all the way; and those who don't know their vamps from their wolves, their Cullens from their Quileute may feel a little lost.
Ultimately, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One is going to be loved by the fans of the franchise for what it actually delivers; this is, after all, what they've been waiting for as it all finally ends. They'll love what transpires on the screens from their heroes and heroine as they're invested in it; and it's likely the end of the first part will have them frothing in a frenzy about what the second half will bring next year. Anyone else who watches this film may feel that this series has been going on for too long, is running a little short on creative ideas and that it's time it was staked and turned to dust.
Rating: Twihards: 8/10; Non-Twihards 4/10