Disclaimer: I’ve never picked up a single ‘Twilight’ book and I’ve given two of the three previous movies terrible reviews. (The exception was ‘Eclipse’, which actually had a straightforward plot and some action.) While I always go into them with open minds, hoping that the next film will be better than the last, the first part of ‘Breaking Dawn’ is downright atrocious. This review contains a lot of spoilers.
The decision by Warner Bros. to split the final ‘Harry Potter’ book into two films was a good choice due to the amount of information that needed to be told before the climactic battle could happen. I don’t know how much lies ahead of us with ‘Breaking Dawn, Part 2’, but the little amount of content in ‘Part 1’ easily could have – and truthfully should have – been condensed to 45 well-paced minutes. Even if ‘Part 2’ requires two full hours, that would make a single ‘Breaking Dawn’ movie only 2 hours and 45 minutes long, which would be completely acceptable for the final film of a major series. Splitting ‘Breaking Dawn’ into two parts is a shameless move by the studio to milk this dried-up teat for all it’s worth.
When I say that nothing happens in ‘Part 1’, I mean it. The movie is so empty that the trailers are actually filled with footage from ‘Part 2’. The little story conveyed in the trailers reveal the entire movie. Bella and Edward are married. They have a sex twice on their two-week honeymoon at a hidden beach in Brazil. She gets knocked up (how can an undead vampire have swimming sperm?), and upon returning home, the neighboring werewolf pack wants to kill Bella and her unborn demon child. ‘Part 1’ drags on for 117 minutes to cover just that.
Considering how much Summit Entertainment comforted fans by claiming that the crazy shit that goes down in ‘Breaking Dawn’ would be delicately handled, you might have expected some of the zany stuff to be altered or omitted in the adaptation process. It hasn’t. The silly crap is still here. Bella sips human blood through a straw in a Styrofoam sippy cup. A shirtless teenage boy “imprints” and falls in love with a newborn baby. A pack of telepathic CG dogs have a long and silly verbal conversation. And (my favorite of them all) Edward surgically removes his child from Bella’s womb via C-Section – only in this case the “C” stands for “chew.” That’s right, he chews his way through Bella’s stomach to get the baby out.
Admittedly, I must give ‘Breaking Dawn’ credit where deserved. There are two scenes in the movie that absolutely work. The first is the actual marriage scene. Without feeling like a CW drama, the way the couple’s vows are put on screen is quite strong, much stronger than anything else in the movie. The second comes in the middle of the closing credits. There’s no cliffhanger to ‘Part 1’, so a clip has been inserted about a minute into the credits that teases what ‘Part 2’ will be about. The Italian vampire gang wants Bella’s half-human/half-vampire baby. (No, the baby is not Blade. Had it been, I would have given ‘Part 1’ more stars.)
Again, Michael Sheen seems to be the only guy in the franchise to know how crappy it is. Sheen campily hams up his performance and gives the movie its very best scene. Each of these two mentioned scenes earns the film half a star. I would have awarded it another star had the eye-candy actors not been made-up so poorly that they’re not even close to being as attractive as they are in real life (i.e., Ashley Greene).
Since the ‘Twilight Saga’ is critic proof, no matter how bad we critics pan the films, mothers and daughters of all ages will still race out to see this turd. Even with its terrible CG, its R-rated thrust-filled sex scenes, its trashy romance novel story, its bad acting and purely fluffy waste-of-time plot, the movie is going to make gazillions of dollars at the box office. Out of respect for good film, please skip this teen soap opera.