The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson & Taylor Lautner Directed by Bill Condon
113 min., PG-13
In the fourth movie based on the wildly popular teen-romance sci-fi novel series by Stephanie Meyer, it's wedding time for flesh-and-blood Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire beau Edward (Robert Pattinson).
The third side of this supernatural love triangle, shape-shifting wolf-boy hunk Jacob (Taylor Lautner), may be the odd man out, but his unrequited affection for Bella won't let him just stand on the sidelines.
How you feel about Breaking Dawn as a movie will probably align pretty closely with your general feelings about the Twilight books and previous movies. If you buy into the premise—antagonistic clans of morose vampires and broody werewolves, and the virginal young maiden who becomes caught between them—you'll probably swoon right along, no questions asked.
If, on the other hand, Twilight isn't really your cup of tea, you're advised to skip this steamy mug of hot and heaving inter-species love, lest you find yourself hopelessly adrift in the murky details of the fourth movie's obsession: what happens on a vampire's wedding night.
Hint: Bella ends up with a baby bump. But what, exactly, might be growing inside her is cause for concern all around…
The acting is wooden, the special effects clunky, the dull stabs at humor lame. And for a movie about life-sucking vampires and flesh-ripping werewolves, there sure is an inordinate focus on the birds and the bees.
With all the melodramatic hubbub about vampire sex, vampire gestation and, ultimately, vampire OB-GYN, Breaking Dawn is, like its predecessors, surprisingly un-graphic—until it arrives at probably the grossest, most bloodily disturbing emergency vampire C-section that could ever be portrayed in a PG-13 movie.
And can you really have a right-to-life conversation about a fetus that may be half undead to begin with?
On several occasions, the movie takes itself so seriously it seems to be flirting with self-parody. Characters spout portentous, ridiculous-sounding lines. The vampires zip around in blurry, crazy-fast jolts that seem like silent-movie zaniness. None of Bella's human friends appear to notice that her finance's a stone-cold freak. And one scene, a snarly argument between growly, computer-generated wolves, is pure, prime-cut camp.
None of this, of course, will deter Twilight fans, the legions of females who'll likely lap up every monster-mush moment, savor every coo and cuddle, and gasp in tingly awe of Lautner's shirt-free abs, now a staple of the franchise.
I'm positive there'd be long lines of starry-eyed young women waiting to buy what could have easily been this shopping season's hottest movie tie-in, if only it were available. I'll bet somebody in the Twilight marketing department is kicking themselves right now that they didn't get a Vampire Home Pregnancy Test on the shelves in time for Christmas.