The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011)

Finally, a Twilight film that doesn’t have men in the audience going green with envy as they stare at Taylor Lautner’s washboard abs and finally, a Twilight film that doesn’t actually stink.

Of course, those of you familiar with my reviews know that I’m not fond of the Twilight Saga in the slightest, but here I’m prepared to eat my words as newcomer Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) directs a surprisingly enjoyable outing. Unfortunately, it all comes a bit late as this is the penultimate film in Stephanie Meyer’s book series.

Sadly, the Twilight films have never had the critical success of their Harry Potter cousins, probably due to their wooden acting, dire scripting and disappointing special effects, but here, Breaking Dawn Part 1 manages to be at least as good as the first two films of its wizarding counterpart.

The similarities between the two series’ don’t stop there. The decision to split the final book in the Twilight series was probably done because of the success Harry Potter had by splitting the final book into two films.

Here, Bill Condon manages to inject some life into the franchise with good acting, good special effects and finally, a good storyline. Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) have finally decided to tie the knot. Naturally, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) is less than pleased with this announcement and decides to run away in a fit of rage. Will he be back for the wedding? GASP!

Alas, he makes it and just before Edward whisks Bella on their honeymoon, some pleasantries are exchanged between the bride and the wolf. So, the honeymoon comes and Bella realises she’s pregnant; oh dear. The film then follows her journey to becoming a mother and the growing beast inside her. Thankfully, the point where the film is split doesn’t jar like it did in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and seems to follow a natural ending.

The special effects have also upped their game for the latest instalment as the (still blatantly obvious) CGI werewolves look much more realistic. Also, the acting has improved leaps and bounds with Kristen Stewart being a real highlight. The realisation that motherhood could kill her is fantastically portrayed by Stewart, though the special effects making her look frail probably helped here.

Taylor Lautner is the best out of the male leads and does the role some justice, whilst Robert Pattinson is mediocre as Edward.

There’s still a problem with the films pacing however. It seems that events that would take 10 minutes worth of screen time in other films have to take 30 in the Twilight saga; it’s a major annoyance as it interrupts the flow of the film and the constant close ups of the characters’ faces grate after a while.

Also, Condon has clearly not directed many films that require action scenes. A major fight with the werewolves and the Cullen’s should have been a real highlight, but it’s a sloppily directed sequence with bodies mashing together. You’re unsure as to who is who, a problem which blights the Transformers film series.

Thankfully there are numerous highlights, the shots of Rio are breath-taking and Bella giving birth is truly horrific, you can’t take your eyes of the screen for a second. Also worth a mention is a part where the werewolves are running through the forest and end up in a logging plant. It’s a fabulous sequence that really makes you grip your seat.

The Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is a good film. It finally makes use of the promising source material it has been blessed with and it’s pleasing to see that a good sense of direction is all it takes to turn around the fortunes of a film series. It’s far from perfect, with sloppy action scenes and terrible pacing, but finally, I left the cinema with a sense of happiness – I’m actually looking forward to part two. (I can’t believe I just said that.)


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Overall: By far the best of the Twilight films – worth a look.

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