"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" is exactly what you would expect it to be. An obsessive teenage love story filled with fantasy. For those who aren't already familiar with the Twilight series, the premise is this: The reserved Bella Swan falls in love with the beautiful and mysterious Edward Cullen. Edward turns out to be a vampire. The series focuses on the obstacles the atypical couple faces.
"Breaking Dawn" is the first part of the finale in the Twilight saga. In the movie, Edward and Bella are getting married. Kristen Stewart plays the lackluster Bella and Robert Pattinson ("Remember Me," "Water for Elephants") is the tormented Edward. The two fly off to an exotic honeymoon somewhere off the coast of Rio. On their honeymoon, Bella gets pregnant, but she soon finds out she is carrying a dangerous hybrid fetus.
All of this occurs within about the first 30 minutes of the movie. The opening quarter of the movie is mostly Edward and Bella proving their obsessive passion for each other. Even though the story was moving along, I felt bored. Edward and Bella are completely wrapped up in each other and inevitably, themselves. Unlike most stories, their friends and family seem to accept this; they are soul mates after all.
Jacob Black is the exception. Played by Taylor Lautner ("Valentine's Day"), Jacob is a strong protester against Edward and Bella's relationship. At one point in the series, it appeared that Jacob might have been in the running for Bella's affection. But, by "Breaking Dawn," that's over. I think the movies, and the books for that matter, would have been much more interesting if Jacob really had a chance. It's perplexing when during the wedding scene Bella looks more excited when she sees Jacob than she did the whole night with Edward.
The acting in "Breaking Dawn" is good if a little over the top. In the book, Edward and Bella are a more reticent couple. I don't believe Stewart and Pattinson had to take this as a cue to never smile. Stewart generally plays more withdrawn characters, ("Speak," "The Runaways"), but I believe she could have given Bella a bit more personality. I would say the same thing for Pattinson. When the two actually laugh, or even smile, they are more believable as a couple. Lautner was weaker. When he comes on screen, I find myself seeing Taylor Lautner, not Jacob Black. The Cullens were fine for the short amount of screen time they had, and Billy Burke was perfect as Bella's father. The only part of the movie I found truly emotional is when Bella tries to say goodbye to her Dad over the telephone.
The scenery of Forks sets the mood for the movie; it's raining in the first scene. The constant rain sets the gloomy mood that sticks around for most of the film. The island that Bella and Edward stay at, which was shot in Brazil and in the Caribbean, was a nice change. The waterfall and beach house were beautiful. But no matter what the location is, it always feels like a mythical place.
The scenes in which Bella is pregnant are unsettling; she is emaciated because the baby is sapping her health. It's honestly hard to watch. Stewart looks close to a skeleton. There is a pretty gruesome scene in the movie that some moviegoers may not be prepared for. But despite how disturbing it is, it looked very real.
I don't understand what happened with the wolves. It was disappointing to see an element of the movie that could have been interesting be reduced to something cartoonish. The wolf scenes seemed childish and out of place.
Despite these drawbacks, "Breaking Dawn" is entertaining. When you take the movie for what it is, a fantasy, it makes sense. Do vampires pass their eternity cycling through various high schools? Do young Native Americans turn into giant wolves when they get angry? Not usually. So why do we expect Edward and Bella's relationship to be a realistic portrayal of a young couple? "Breaking Dawn" is an escape, and if taken too seriously, an unhealthy one. But if you judge "Breaking Dawn" as a teenage romantic fantasy, you start to understand.
Emily Coleman is a junior at Frontier High School.
> MOVIE REVIEW
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1"
Review: 2 1/2 stars (Out of 4)