Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011)
Dir. Bill Condon

2 out of 5

So...this wasn't supposed to happen. When the attendant informed me that the film I had paid to see,
Immortals, would not be screened due to a projector malfunction, a little improvisation was necessary to salvage my planned double feature. As it turns out, Breaking Dawn is a pretty decent compromise when you are not sure exactly what you want from a movie. Or rather, what you want from a bad movie - it manages to be confusing, exasperating, boring, and batshit crazy over the course of two montage-filled hours.

Breaking Dawn is not for laypeople. Numerous feuds from the previous films in the Twilight series have spilled into this one, distracting from the pure nuptial porn that is the wedding of wan damsel-in-perpetual-distress Kristen Stewart and moony vampire Robert Pattinson. The union has ruffled plenty of feathers, mostly due to Stewart's decision to turn vampire after the honeymoon. (Can you imagine that first Thanksgiving? 'Hi Dad, no turkey for me, I'm an immortal killing machine now!') After they're hitched, Stewart and Pattinson share an awkward lovemaking sesh that they discuss afterward in a manner that makes it seem somehow both revelatory and regrettable; bigger problems emerge when they discover that Stewart is carrying a half-human, half-vampire fetus that will slowly kill her as she brings it to term. Oh, and various factions are convinced that this child is some sort of Antichrist that endangers all human life across the Pacific Northwest.

For such an ambitious mashup of Harlequin romance and hardcore body horror (the birthing sequence is the most disturbing thing I've seen since Human Centipede 2), Breaking Dawn's pace is still pretty torpid, slowly churning its way through numerous personal epiphanies and earnest conversations. These are rather transparent stalling tactics to ensure that there's enough material for Part 2, though it's also entirely possible that Stephanie Meyer's novel contains too much insanity for just one film. Ludicrous and dopey, Twilight's number one priority has always been satiating its ardent fans' appetites for chaste, politically regressive romances with shirtless were-beasts and fleshy, golden-eyed vampires. By going completely off the deep end, however, it pulls off a truly shocking feat - making a loony, excessively complex pro-life fantasy mildly entertaining for the non-initiated.

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