Film review: The Twilight Saga 4: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), directed by Bill Condon
Eclipse ended with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) finally succumbing to Edward Cullen’s (Robert Pattinson) proposal. For the final instalment of the Twilight saga, they’ve split the fourth book into two films. Not because there is so much happening that they can’t cram everything into one film, but because … well, milk them tweens for all you’re worth while you still have their attention!
This review will contain snarky spoilers and squick.
Bella prepares for the wedding. Edward marries Bella (notice how they left out “’til death do us part”?). Jacob (Taylor Lautner) sulks and doesn’t attend, but says hello later. Edward brings Bella to Brazil for their honeymoon. Bella is nervous about losing her virginity. Edward has sex with Bella. Edward makes Bella pregnant. (Somehow.) Pregnancy makes Bella ill. Werewolves want the baby dead, because it’s an EVUL DEMON CHILD. Edward gives Bella a C-section. Vampires and werewolves fight over Bella and the baby. Bella dies. Jacob imprints on the baby. Edward turns Bella into a vampire. Audience left feeling sick. Film ends.
Also starring regulars Gil Birmingham as Billy, Billy Burke and Sarah Clarke as Bella’s parents; Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed as the Cullen family; with quick cameos by Michael Sheen, Christopher Heyerdahl, Jamie Campbell Bower and MyAnna Buring. Amongst others.
I honestly don’t know whether to be disappointed or not after seeing this film. I mean, I wasn’t expecting it to be good, but even so, Breaking Dawn part 1 leaves me with a “well, that was pointless” feeling. Seriously, what was so important – other than milking money out of fans – to split the book into two films? They could’ve easily got this film over and done with in half an hour. Or an hour, leaving another hour for the other half of the book.
If the previous films were drivel, this is downright ridiculous – and I haven’t even mentioned what Sparkles’ “poison” looks like in that syringe. (It’s a semi-gooey white-ish liquid. In a tube. You’re welcome?) So, we don’t just have to sit through half an hour of wedding preparations and embarrassing wedding speeches (Charlie’s was the funniest), we then have to suffer through a drawn-out journey to a secluded island off the coast of Brazil, where Bella prepares herself to have sex the first time, because now they’re properly married and everything.
Insert jokes and speculations about Sparkles’ hard, sparkly skin here.
Shagging a diamond-skinned vampire isn’t good for your health. Bella is bruised but she’s totally fine with the spousal abuse, as long as she gets to be repeatedly porked by her sparkly man. Sparkles feels bad about it (thank goodness), because he’s such a sodding emo half the time, when he’s not busy being a psychopathic jerk. They even manage to break a four-poster bed having sex, because that sounds reasonable.
Let’s think about biology here for a minute. Being undead should also be a very effective method of contraception, what with the testicles having stopped their production and all. And yet … Bella gets pregnant. “It’s impossible!” she declares. No shit, Bella!
So, the baby, being a half-vampire, is draining Bella of life, blood and nutrients in a way that could make any tween scared of ever getting pregnant, and Bella – who used to faint at the smell and mere glance of blood – is now perfectly fine gulping it down like a milkshake. Umm, yeah.
Then there’s the birth scene, which I had heard was gruesome, but you didn’t really see anything. I can honestly say I don’t see how using your mouth when giving someone a C-section is in any way practical, but then, this series has never made much sense. The baby itself, Renéesme (because a portmanteau of its grandmothers names is so adorable, groan), is really cute once cleaned up. Can’t help but wonder if Rosalie cleaned the baby with her tongue. But that thought is just about as disturbing as what comes next, that eww, let’s move on.
Yeah, so the werewolves aren’t happy about the dangerous demon child in their neck of the woods. Jacob leaves the pack to go protect Bella. And eventually, the two creature families have a big fight, maybe for dramatic purposes. Haven’t read the book yet, so can’t really answer that one. Jacob goes inside, perhaps to rid the world of the dangerous demon baby, but then he looks into the newborn’s sweet eyes and the heavens open up, there are choirs of angels singing in unison, rainbows and fairy dust, blah di blah di blah, and the guy imprints on her. Yeah. A young man of ~18 gets the hots for a newborn baby. That’s not at all disturbing, is it? And the fighting stops, because any person a werewolf has imprinted on must never be harmed, it’s like a rule. Like the most important of all werewolf rules ever. Convenient, that.
So for the final part of this horrendous tale, Bella becomes a vampire (the film ends with CGI of her body filling out again, and the last thing we see is her opening her eyes – her red vampire eyes). Jacob wants to pork a baby, who conveniently is set to grow up to a legal age in a lot less than 16-18 years, so he won’t have to wait very long. Question is, do those who weren’t aware of how sick the Twilight series is finally realise their mistake? If the previous three films weren’t enough, I mean. Surely this should make them see some kind of sense? Only time will tell.
On the plus side, Twilight is already starting to feel redundant, giving way to vastly better books with heroines you can actually admire, like The Hunger Games. Let’s see who still remembers Twilight in twenty years time. Here’s to oblivion!
Film-wise, meh. Too drawn out with too little happening (they marry, they honeymoon, they conceive, they become parents), especially when it’s a bunch of characters I have no sympathy with. Redeeming features? Still plenty of scenery porn – those woodland views never cease to amaze with their wild, natural beauty – and the wedding arrangements were lovely. Would’ve loved to get married in the woods (although I’m more in favour of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), but alas, you can’t in this country.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is out in November this year. I, for one, am only looking forward to it because it means it will finally be over. This whole “watching it so we can laugh at how bad it is” is getting too painful.
1 out of 5 aghast Brazilian housekeepers.