The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011)

Info Sidebar“What do both Edward Cullen and Jacob Black see in Bella Swan that they would risk their lives to save her, and possibly kill off each other to marry her?”

This question has been nagging at me ever since I saw Edward traipse over to Bella in slow motion in the first Twilight movie. I would not date Bella if she offered me a lifetime supply of M&M’s. She is a sour, self-loathing, on-the-verge-of-vomiting, frail shell of a girl, who spends her days pining for the strapping vampire Edward. Edward himself always looks like he’s about to hurl a good one whenever he smiles, or speaks. I could never understand their infatuation then, and I cannot understand it now.

What I can do — what I have to do, honestly — is accept it. Breaking Dawn Part 1 is the fourth movie in this beloved franchise, and by now there is no point questioning the realism behind Bella’s and Edward’s decisions. They love each other. God knows why. That’s all that matters. Time to move on.

The previous movie, Eclipse, ended with Bella’s and Edward’s engagement. This movie opens with their wedding, and it’s probably the most beautiful sequence in the entire film, even if Bella (Kristen Stewart) looks physically ill while walking down the aisle and Edward (Robert Pattinson) seems amused by it as he waits handsomely at the altar. It’s one of those fairytale weddings in the woods, complete with garden chairs and hanging flowers that litter the ground with their fallen petals, but it works because the characters are fairytales themselves.

And then the story drifts off into dark territory. The demons of the Twilight universe take hold. Bella and Edward whisk away to an island off Rio De Janeiro for their honeymoon. It’s a gorgeous location: Chic house just off the beach, housekeepers to worry about all the maintenance, waterfalls just an arm’s reach away. Here, Bella surrenders her virginity (I don’t know if Bella has ever had sex, not that it matters), and the sex is so good that she wakes up with bruises and finds the room in shambles. Even the feathers from the pillows have not had a chance to settle down. 14 days later, she discovers the impossible — there’s something moving inside her! How can this be? Vampire and human? I would love for someone to explain the logistics of this union. For a man who’s dead, Edward has a surprisingly high sperm count. But that’s okay, because even Edward is befuddled by this phenomenon.

The baby is half vampire, half human, we are told — with the CGI face of a doll. In the womb, it drains Bella of her life force and demands human blood to satisfy its vampire half. Bella, meanwhile, deteriorates to a skeletal fright. Edward displays the usual anxiety of the father-to-be, and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) — we can’t forget Jacob — breaks away from his wolf pack in order to protect Bella from, well, his wolf pack.

You see, the baby is deemed demonic by the shapeshifting wolves. Their alpha male, Sam (Chaske Spencer), wants it dead. Jacob, of course, cannot allow this. For a very special brief moment, he teams up with his vampiric enemies. What transpires from here on out I shall leave up to you to discover.

This is not a good movie. The dialogue by Melissa Rosenberg cracks under pressure. Edward, Bella, Jacob, and pretty much everyone else speak as if the danger that awaits them has patience. Their words are slow and laden with troubles. The motives behind some of the characters’ actions are questionable at best. The wolves that we see are big and scary, yes, but they are still weightless CGI models. They have no presence. And yet this is the best Twilight movie since the first one. It is slow, but captivating in its own dreary way. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. Breaking Dawn Part 2 is established. In fact, the first three chapters to this film series almost seem redundant now. I would’ve been happy with just this movie and the next.


Best Moment | The wedding, or the end credits. I also enjoyed the mid-credits scene; seeing Michael Sheen is always a joy.

Worst Moment | The eerie CGI baby face, or the Walking With Dinosaurs scene where the wolf pack converses with each other via disembodied voices.

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