Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Careful What You Wish For

Director: Bill Condon
Writers: Melissa Rosenberg, Stephanie Meyers
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Sarah Clark, Elizabeth Reaser

SYNOPSIS: Bella and Edward have now bonded in wedded bliss, but their honeymoon is short-lived as Bella becomes pregnant with what may be a fast-maturing vampiric hybrid that may cost Bella her life and give Jacob a reason to finally kill Edward.

REVIEW: The beginning of the end is upon us as the big screen adaption of Stephanie Meyer's fourth book in The Twilight Saga series comes to the silver screen. Worry not Edward and Jacob, the screen is not really silver. Beginning in 2008 with a Catherine Hardwicke directed Twilight, followed up with New Moon directed by Chris Weitz, and continued with the third entry Eclipse helmed by David Slade, Melissa Rosenberg has written the screenplay for all of the Twilight movies. For both parts of the Breaking Dawn films, Gods and Monsters and Chicago director Bill Condon takes a stab at bringing Bella, Edward and Jacob to life.

In the start of Breaking Dawn - Part 1, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) finds herself mere hours away from her wedding day with her chosen beau Edward (Robert Pattinson). Everyone is happy for Bella and Edward's union, with only Jacob (Taylor Lautner) concerned for the choices Bella has made. When he finds out that Bella will not be turned immediately after the wedding, Jacob fumes and is led away by his clan. Bella and Edward escape to their own private tropical island for their honeymoon, enjoying each other's company and bodies. Days later, Bella finds herself impossibly pregnant with a fast-gestating human/vampire hybrid. Secretly returning home to the Cullen residence, Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli), his mate Esme (Elizabeth Reaser), and the rest of the clan of Emmett (Kellan Lutz), Rosalie (Nikki Reed), Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), and Alice (Ashley Greene) struggle to help Bella survive, with or without the fetus inside her. When the wolf pack discover through their pack link with Jacob that Bella is pregnant, they make the decision to void the treaty with the vampires to destroy the unborn child, including Bella if necessary. With one pack decision made against Bella, Jacob must make his own choice whether to follow the pack alpha or make his own decision concerning Bella's fate.

I will not give more away. If you have read the books, you will have to guess as to where in the story Condon, Meyers and Rosenberg choose to stop the narrative in preparation of the Breaking Dawn closer. How closely does Rosenberg's script keep to the novel? Besides Bella, Edward and Jacob, who else steps out of the shadows gets a sliver of screen time?

As a casual fan of the franchise, I cannot attest to the mass appeal of the love/hate triangle that surrounds Bella. Whether Team Edward or Team Jacob, fans will enjoy the continuation of the story. Now that the courtship dance has ended and Bella has made her choice to be with Edward, we can move past juvenile romantic antics and focus on three events - a forest wedding, a honeymoon with a pregnancy, and a confrontation about what to do about the unborn baby. Harder, more adult choices need to be made this time around.

Now familiar with the characters in the world of Twilight, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 steps right into the story. The wedding is beautiful, the honeymoon is exotic, erotic, and tragic, and the results of the honeymoon proves the catalyst to force Bella, Edward, and Jacob both together and apart. The landscapes, foreign and domestic, are breathtaking. The settings, interior and exterior, set the perfect tones. My only issues are a couple random inserted shots that are needless, overly artsy, and distracting. Also, the wolves are wonderfully rendered, but sometimes they do not fit into the world and seamlessly as they should. If the film was more fantasy throughout, like for instance the 2011 Red Riding Hood, the wolves would fit in better.

Eclipse had more intrigue for it for my money, but Breaking Dawn - Part 1 does its part to bring its own brand of suspense and good storytelling. Now that Bella has made her choice to be with Edward and gets all that she wanted, the old adage of "Be careful for what you wish for" is more appropriate then ever. Let's see what Breaking Dawn - Part 2 has in store.

WORTH: Matinee and DVD (for the fans)

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