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Film Review: Breaking Dawn

11/28/2011 01:33AM ● By Wendy Sipple

Much like the Harry Potter series, by the time you reach the fourth part in a series you are either on board or you are not. Much of your enjoyment of the newest sequel in the Twilight series will depend upon your emotional attachment to these characters. Fans of the series seem to hang on each moment.

Having watched and disliked the main characters in this series, the newest installment did not work for me in the least.

Aside from my dislike of the main characters of this series, the newest movie fails on many levels. The most glaring problem is that nothing happens for the first 40 minutes of the movie. It plays out like a terrible wedding episode of a mediocre sitcom but worse. Why worse? Because at least the sitcom attempts to be amusing, comical or eventful. Nothing truly memorable or eventful happens at this wedding, and it’s a wedding with both vampires and werewolves (supposed mortal enemies) as guests! It stands to reason something crazy should happen right? Well, it doesn't. From there it continues on to the most boring honeymoon ever caught on film. Sure there are a few sex scenes that are more awkward than erotic. Then a montage of swimming and playing chess ensues to finish out the two week excursion before it’s cut short by the bride discovering she’s pregnant. Did the writers of this mess have any imagination? A vampire who has super powers of strength, speed and shiny skin couldn’t do something more exciting than playing chess on the beach?

Once Bella becomes pregnant with what is believed to be a demon, the movie finally starts because something is actually at stake. The demon baby grows at rapid speeds. Even more pressing, the demon baby breaks Bella’s bones from the inside as it grows and steals her body of all nutrition. The special effects of Bella’s deterioration are quite convincing and perhaps the best part of the film. However the movie doesn’t know a good thing when it sees it, so the film quickly diverts the story away from Bella to a soap opera style drama of Jacob (one of the werewolves) who fights with pretty much everyone. Jacob is angry and pouty because Bella married Edward and is having the demon child. This soap opera includes one of the most laughably bad scenes of the series that features computer generated wolves arguing with each other in human voices.

I held out hope that the series might throw a surprise or two near the end but sadly the movie came to a predictable ending which I will refrain from spoiling for those who have not seen the movie. With the producers of this series bringing Academy Award winning director Bill Condon for the final films there was hope that the series would reach new heights. Sadly that was not the case with the first part of Breaking Dawn. The pace of this movie was slow, really slow. The decision to split the final chapter into two movies was clearly a financial one and not out of necessity to include all the events of the book. This movie in my estimation could have been trimmed in half and still would have felt long.

Although the effects of Bella’s failing health were tremendous, many of the films other effects were thoroughly unconvincing. The computer generated wolves are just silly to watch and I thought they actually looked better in the previous two movies. This movie didn’t even bother to go through the process of making the vampire’s skin glitter in the sunlight like the previous movies. The gruesome birth scenes were shot with shaky out of focus shots that prevented the film from showing much thereby avoiding the dreaded R rating. In the process they robbed the scene from a lot of the drama and shock value it might have had and turned what could have been one of the craziest scenes in horror history into a complete mess. The sound effects in the scenes were effectively used though.

The music in Breaking Dawn was shockingly bad. Quite honestly it may have been the worst soundtrack I have ever heard. This included the instrumental score along with the choice of gothic rock. The music played at the most inappropriate moments conceivable. Not only did the songs not fit the mood of the events or the image, but the music was distracting because it was so bad.

The entire series suffers from the same problem, it has zero imagination. At least if the main characters were fun, adventurous and actually proactive the Twilight series could at least be entertaining fluff. Instead they take themselves so seriously that it is almost a self parody. The characters and relationships are so superficial and thin that it’s hard to believe an adult conjured up this mess. It seems like the prepubescent whimsy of a twelve-year-old who doesn’t know what love is, but dreams of a Prince Charming. This latest chapter takes dark and disturbing turns in the fact that it has a demon baby destroying a mother while the men in her life plead for her to abort it. Then to take bad taste to another level, they have the 18-year-old wolf boy fall in love with the new born demon baby. Not love in a fatherly way, but love as in, "she’s the love of my life" way. The only reason this plot twist doesn’t come across as disturbing as it should is because the entire series is so stupid it’s hard to give the writer enough credit that she actually knew what she was writing.

It’s quite possible hard core Twilight fans have not made it to the final paragraph of my review. If you are still here I can say with certainty that you will love this movie. Why, I can’t quite put my finger on that. The continued success of this franchise is unmistakable if not bewildering. People who were not fans of the first three parts will find Breaking Dawn excruciating to sit through despite the promise of more blood and horrific events. Here’s to hoping that the final chapter in this terrible saga has a few surprises up its sleeve. I’d like nothing more than to write a positive review for at least one part of this saga, but I don’t hold out much hope.

Films like Breaking Dawn – Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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